Nepal Trip, March 1999

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In The Kathmandu Valley Area.
 
stupa.jpg 201x240  [13861 bytes] This religious monument is in Kathmandu and is called a stupa. The eyes are on all four sides and they represent the all-seeing eyes of Buddha. Those are prayer flags flying from the top.
temple1.jpg 180x240  [12177 bytes] A temple in the Kathmandu valley. The primary religion is Hindu, but there are many Buddhists in Nepal (Sherpas, for instance, are Buddhist) and the two religions overlap quite a bit. They share gods and goddesses of which there are thousands.
temple4.jpg 264x240  [15697 bytes] Elephants guard a temple in the town of Patan in the Kathmandu valley.
holymen.jpg 320x235  [19873 bytes] These men are called sadhus. A sadhu is an individual on a spiritual search. They asked for a donation for taking this photo. We obliged with five rupees…about 10 cents!
city.jpg 320x224  [21195 bytes] A fruit and vegetable market in Kathmandu. We were able to eat anything we could peel, e.g., bananas and oranges. We were extra careful with what we ate and drank and were rewarded by getting sick only once (Bruce) or twice (Betsy)!
pottery.jpg 320x169  [18775 bytes] Bhaktapur is the name of the potter's village. The potter turns his big stone wheel with a large stick that he puts in a hole on the edge of the wheel. He gets it going fast, puts the stick down, centers the clay on the wheel and throws the entire pot as the wheel turns and finishes it before it slows down. Impressive!
 
Trekking in the Annapurna Region. We started our trek out of the city of Pokhara. We trekked for six days and seven nights and stayed at five different campsites making a loop up a river valley, over a 7000' pass and down another river valley.
 
trek1.jpg 194x240  [15435 bytes] Walking through a village on our way to our first campsite. Note there are no roads and this is the main thoroughfare. Almost without fail, the people would greet us with a friendly smile and "Namaste" which means both hello and goodbye…sort of like ciao! The Nepalese think nothing of walking three hours to visit relatives in the next village. There appear to be no fat Nepalese and there is no heart disease.
1stcamp.jpg 320x190  [18629 bytes] Our first camp site along the Seti River. The first blue tent is our dining room, the second blue tent is our (very small!) sleeping tent and the large brown tent is the kitchen tent. The shower (a term used very loosely here) is not up yet, nor is the "outhouse" tent. They were each very private, but minimal.
granfath.jpg 175x240  [11192 bytes] This family, a grandfather and three grandchildren, came down from their house to visit us as we arrived at our first campsite. The smallest child has been dressed up as a member of the greeting party. Children who are not yet potty trained simply go naked from the waist down…a very practical solution. We returned their visit the next morning.
mothers.jpg 237x240  [12557 bytes] Our return visit to the family house. This is the mother and grandmother of the children in the previous photo. When I asked the grandmother if we could take her picture, she said she wasn't really dressed for the occasion…just like any woman anywhere in the world. The mother is grinding grain. They live in a 200 year old round house made of mud and dung with a thatched roof. The grandparents, parents and children all live together. They have a couple of water buffalo, a few cows and they grow wheat, barley, rice. They are not wealthy, but they are self sufficient and not poor.
bridge.jpg 320x197  [12715 bytes] The rope bridges are not as scary as they look. Honest! This one has a high rope railing along the side and the wooden floor slats are close together at your feet. I did, however, ask our three guides to stand still while I crossed the bridge, otherwise the bridge sways a lot. Bruce, of course, practically jogged across!
climb.jpg 192x240  [13817 bytes] UP, UP, UP! Leaving the flat land behind, we start to climb. That's Pasang behind me. He is a Sherpa from the Everest region. He was our main guide and was in charge of the entire trek and everyone on it. He's 25! The Sherpa people came from Tibet many years ago and are guides now (remember Tenzing Norgay?), but were originally traders.
kids.jpg 303x240  [18648 bytes] Bruce and the children! The kids are on recess from their school. They gathered all around us, chattered away with as much English as they could come up with and liked to touch everything we had on…my soft skirt, the smushy camera straps, whatever. The children learn English in school and are excited to show off their talents with: "Hi, how are you? What is your name? Where are you from? " They were delightful and mugged for the camera!
trek3.jpg 320x226  [14321 bytes] Trekking with Pasang close on my heels. He's never lost a trekker and he wasn't going to let me be the first! He even carried my day pack for me!
woman.jpg 170x240  [11049 bytes] A woman we met along the trail. She asked us for painkillers (aspirin, ibuprofen), but unfortunately, I didn't have any with me at that time. They know the value of modern medicine. This is not wilderness hiking. Here you walk through villages, along side the plowed fields and you are constantly passing people, children and animals on the trail.
rhodies.jpg 320x223  [19675 bytes] The rhododendron forest with the mountain, Lamjung, in the distance. The rhododendrons grow into huge trees making a canopy in the forest. They were in peak bloom when we walked through the rain forest. Lots of wild flowers and butterflies, too.
trailgal.jpg 320x191  [17629 bytes] This woman was out collecting leaves for the water buffalo and she saw us coming along the trail. She greeted each of us with a rhododendron blossom. Doesn't she have the greatest smile? She is the manager of the campsite we are headed for today. That's Pasang on the left and one of our assistant guides, Mohan, on the right.
4thcamp.jpg 320x216  [14257 bytes] At our campsite for days 4 and 5, we had a spectacular view of the mountain, Lamjung. We sat for most of the late afternoon drinking our afternoon tea and watching the clouds change around the mountain. A marvelous way to end the day.
girls.jpg 201x240  [14049 bytes] These young ladies came to our campsite from the nearby village to sell us beer, coke, candy, etc. They also flirted and gossiped with our crew. (You don't have to understand the language to know that they are flirting!) The pretty young woman on the left is the dancer on the right in the next photo.
dancers.jpg 297x240  [17771 bytes] The local village women danced Nepalese folk dances for Bruce's birthday! Of course, he didn't let anyone know it was his birthday, but we knew! We stayed up very late that night…10:30! Usually we went to bed around 9:00 and were awakened at 6:00 with a bowl of hot water to wash our faces.
woman2.jpg 124x240  [6717 bytes] The headscarves are traditional, as are the beads. The women mostly wear Nepalese clothing with slight variations, like a western T-shirt. Note their jewelry. The men are more likely to be wearing Western dress.
group.jpg 306x240  [16640 bytes] It was just the two of us and our crew on the trek. Here we are, pictured with Lamjung as a backdrop. We trekked with three guides, four cooks and seven porters. This is day five, so four of the porters have finished and returned to Pokhara. "Our dog" joined us at the beginning of the trek and walked all the way to this campsite with us. Back row: Pasang, head sherpa, DeeRaj, our head cook, Kersong, assistant sherpa, two kitchen helpers, Naryan and Sala, then Mohan, assistant sherpa, two sixteen year old porters who later got stung by bees while trying to knock the nest down! Just like sixteen year olds anywhere. Front row: "our dog", a porter with his hands in the typical Nepalese greeting "Namaste", Bruce, Betsy and another kitchen helper, Kershor.
trek2.jpg 192x240  [9067 bytes] A view of the river valley on Day 7 with the early morning sun casting long shadows. The snow covered Annapurna II is in the background. The white building is the kitchen of our last night's campsite, and that's where the kitchen crew slept. The haystack is feed for the animals. Pasang is hiking up to us on the left-hand side.
mntview.jpg 320x200  [10969 bytes] Walking out to the trail head and looking back to "OUR" mountains. The one on the far left with the pointed top is Machhapuchhre, also called Fishtail.
roper.jpg 320x210  [19893 bytes] A villager sitting on the front porch of his house making rope from dried grass. We've sent duplicates of all the village and villager photos to Pasang so he can distribute them on his next circuit around the Annapurna trek. I hope the rope maker liked his.
weaver.jpg 202x240  [14978 bytes] A villager weaving a mat from bamboo strips. We wondered about his neck brace, but were too shy to ask questions! (Pasang suggested he may have fallen down while drunk!)
lake.jpg 320x229  [8849 bytes] Lake Pokhara with Annapurna II in the background. We spent a couple of days of R&R here after our trek. We stayed in a first class resort called, appropriately, Shangri-La Village. Ah, clean linen, hot showers, a mini-bar…truly Shangri-La!
 
Royal Chitwan National Forest.
 
eleride.jpg 320x198  [15597 bytes] Betsy and the phanit (or driver) before our elephant ride in search of wild animals. (Hillary and Chelsea visited here, too. They did not see tigers either!)
elephant.jpg 320x198  [9462 bytes] Self-portrait on elephant! We're sitting on the elephant's back and that's our shadow on the ground. Our phanit has not yet mounted the elephant. When he does, he sits on her neck. He's the one who is in charge of her training.
sbear.jpg 296x240  [22949 bytes] A sloth bear in Chitwan National Park. We chased the bear from our perches atop a running elephant. It's a wild ride. We were holding on for dear life. This is how they used to hunt bear and tiger years ago. The poor bear!
rinos.jpg 320x185  [21552 bytes] A mother rhino and her baby as seen from atop our elephant in Chitwan National Park. They seemed unperturbed by our presence.
 
Dhulikhel Hill Resort Area.
 
children.jpg 320x216  [15597 bytes] Dhulikhel is a hill resort on the edge of the Kathmandu valley. On one of our last days in Nepal we took a day hike from Dhulikhel to the Namo Buddha temple. Stopping for a rest, we attracted an audience. It was a nice farewell to Nepal.