Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Homeward bound

Hello from our last night in Katty. Tomorrow it's Bangkok airport for a sleepover then back to hopefully sunny Sydney. If that was 4 month in Nepal, Sri Lanka and India well I have had it. It has been many things, but dull wasn't really one of them. I've just got time to check a few things, like the newspapers... and here are some items you may enjoy...

Keep your seatbelt fastened until the plane comes to a complete stop.
Plane tickets and passport? Check.
Road safety Katty style

Visa expired today and you fly tomorrow? Check!
If she weighs as much as a duck she's a witch..
And so it's namaste from me, and it's dib dib dib from him.

Thanks to everyone in this crazy part of the planet and I hope to see you all soon.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Now where did I put last week?

Strewth, how can it be the last 3 days in Nepal already? And what was I doing all week?
Sunday was our friends last day, and then we had some other mates come back so it was a moderately sized evening at Sams for what has now become Singalong Sunday. oh dear me...
The week has been very busy with Robin looking at various options to occupy himself here next year, while I look for meaningful and remuneratively excellent employment in Sydney...Fingers crossed and thanks everyone who is keeping an eye out for me. We have also been apartment hunting which is q reeal exercise in frustration, becaue landlords assume you work for an NGO and couldn't give a rat's how much rent they charge. Oh buddy you are so wrong. We are hopeful that Robin can find something decent to share with a few friends which isn't too far from where we currently are, but is less noisy and chaotic.
I found a cafe with free wifi and great chocolate cake (which even has chocolate cream and icing!) and also does a mean chicken and avo salad roll. After 4 months that tasted pretty good.
Today I visited friends in Shivapuri and helped bottle some home brew - which I was pretty good at - and then we sat in the garden having lunch and wine in the sun. The wonderful sun which has been out all week, except at night obviously! My goodness the nights shave been cold and many places now have their fires roaring - if I wasn't on the iPad I could show you some pics... Maybe tomorrow. Got an excellent virus on the iPad and iPhone which did some interesting things and I hope I have now fixed it....never use an unsecured network.
Singalong Sunday night loome ever larger so I think I had better prepare myself.
will try to post some of my excellent pics as soon as I can get the laptop away from sir.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

here comes the sun mmmm

 At last us 'valley denizens' can get our clothes dry, heat our shower water and warm up. It is truly marvellous that the sun came out after 5 days of dreary. I seem to have started an unofficial facebook club of laundry lovers here in the 'du. And we are all very excited of course.

Our mates Neal and Rhonda leave this evening for Honkers then Sydney - we spent some time this morning in the cargo place cross the road organising to send 41k of 'stuff' back home, so I dropped some of Robin's blasted books and maps in so I have more room in the bag for my important stuff.
It brightened my day!
Well I have finally  managed to extricate my laptop from sir, so here are some pics from the rafting trip:

Friday, November 18, 2011

Back from the wild west

What a great trip we had to the jungle, when the flight finally left. We had a jungle walk in the afternoon where we saw nothing, then the next morning at 4 am (whose stupid idea was that?) we drove for 3 hours to get to the raft put-in point. I was not amused.
Drifting down the Babai river was wonderful, so peaceful, and there were just some small rapids where we sometimes got stuck and had to get out and drag. Lunched along the way and then set up camp beside the river. The following day we drifted a bit more till we got to the Mahendra Highway where we had to finish. Along the way we saw crocs, a wild bull elephant, otters, a huge sambar deer and loads of beautiful birds. We did not however see a tiger, even back in the jungle... But we did have prints on the beach where we camped. We finished the rafting near an army camp, so as we were waiting for our lift of course 2 of the boys came over to chat to us and get their photo taken. When I can get to my laptop I'll download some photos, but Robin has been updating software and things aren't going to plan...Gosh that sounds like a "what I did on my holidays" composition from 4th class!
Our flight back here was delayed by 2 hours so we had a free cabaret at Nepalgunj when a drunk Nepali businessman spent at least half an hour abusing airline staff. What a dick. Also met an Aussie pilot and ended up in Sams with him till the wee hours - he hadn't arranged a place to stay so he got to sleep on our floor on the downmat with a sleeping bag. See how nice we are by rescuing people!
Once again the Lukla flights have not been leaving - I think it is pretty hilarious but I may be alone on that one...
Tonight we are off to Dwarikas for the posh barbecue. I hope they have heaters there as the
weather has been very cold for this time of year - about 6 at night and no sun during the day. it is seriously interfering with my laundry efforts.
enjoy your weekend.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Look out jungle here we come!

Heading off tomorrow to Bardia for some r&r in the jungle - and hopefully to see some animals. The weather has been lovely here in the 'du and the sun has been out all week which makes a nice change from last week when it was cold and damp. I think everyone has managed to get rescued from Lukla and town is full so it will be good to get out for a few days.
Robin got back safe and sound on Tuesday from India, and Neal and Rhonda came back a day early from their trek due to the undelightful weather they were having. Despite that they had a most enjoyable trek by all accounts. It has been a very hectic social whirl with people coming and going and everyone wanting to catch up. We have been locked out every night so far but I think we may be back a little earlier tonight since we are on the 8.30 flight to lovely Nepalganj in the morning.
I had better continue with my pathetic packing attempts - I sometimes wonder why I bother, and then realise that I haven't! Which is why I am always doing things at the last minute I guess.
Have a great weekend and I hope next time I can tell you about seeing a tiger.... fingers crossed.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Greetings from the gym

That's right I am back into it and I guess it is a good idea... try telling that to my knees though. At least I don't feel quite so guilty about having a toasted cheese sandwich for lunch afterwards.
Well people are still 'stranded' in Lukla although about 20 flights got out yesterday (which would be about 300 people) and I am pleased to say that most of my friends here are of the opinion that these people are not so much stranded as useless, lazy and want to have something to complain about. No doubt when they all get back they will be able to whinge about the lack of hotel rooms in Katty and the unavailability of flights to wherever they are going next. That's what usually happens anyway. Why should this year be any different? One friend has suggested I record a 2 minute rant for Youtube and we can make it go viral. I'm thinking maybe not...
On the social front I have been very busy with friends arriving to go trekking (to Everest but I changed their minds for them), helping an Aussie mate here with his office, and gossiping.
Yesterday afternoon we had a big storm here which caught a few people unawares, and then the weather got really really cold. I didn't get to the ATM and didn't fell like going at night so I had enough money to buy a dodgy kebab (which actually wasn't dodgy) to go with the beers at Sams, which I didn't leave till midnight. Dirty stop out. Tonight is my last singles night so I am going to make the most of it. Maybe. Depends on whether I make it to the ATM...
So BSR arrives tomorrow, on the wings of this magnificently not quite right article from Indian media. I had no idea he was an 'ace mountaineer' (or as my friend put it 'mace mountaineer'). Oh someone from Sams wants to know how many woolly hats without bobbles you can get from an average sheep. Any ideas? We googled it but didn't get an answer. It's really important or I wouldn't ask...
I have a feeling that I am going to get some snide remarks about the messy state of our room here, so I am thinking that maybe I should try to tidy it up a bit before sir comes tomorrow. Trouble is I am still looking for some things so everything is just kinda spread everywhere - and I have to get all my warm clothes out as well as stuff for the jungle extravaganza later this week.
I can hear the ATM calling out to me.. I had better pack up and get out there before people coming from Lukla get all the money. 

Friday, November 4, 2011

Still no Lukla flights

It has been about 5 days since people managed to fly to or from Lukla, and the local TV news was reporting last night that there are 3000 people stuck in Lukla and another 500 in Phaplu just down the trail. Trouble is, Lukla is running out of meat and veg, and people are running out of places to stay while they wait for their flight.
A very simple solution is to walk for another maybe 2 days (since you have already been trekking you should be fit) and get to the roadhead, catch the bus to Katty and not miss your international connection. Alternately, you can sit in Lukla or Phaplu and complain about how somebody else should fix the problem. And how your travel insurance won't pay, and you have to fight with everyone for the first seats once flights start, or you have to bribe your way onto a chopper.
Everyone here knows that every year in late October or early November there is about a week of bad weather when flights to the mountains quite simply cannot go. Overseas tour operators should know this too, because they are always complaining about how much it costs them to evacuate people and change flights. So, why not just change your stupid trekking programmes to allow for the weather problem, or just give the staff instructions that if the flights is cancelled they immediately start walking for the roadhead? That way people could still get out in time. Why is it always that the Nepal Army has to waste time and money flying enormous helicopters up and down to Lukla to rescue these idiots? It makes my blood boil. But I guess you can see that. That's my opinion and you are most welcome to it!
At least the people here in Katty who were hoping to go to Everest are smart enough to see that their holiday is slipping away and they just go somewhere else for trekking.
So what else? Well I missed Raj's birthday bash in Delhi but Robin went along and ate too much food. Robin had an interview in the Hindustan Times - the English they attribute to him cannot possibly be his but it is an interesting angle...
People here are still excited about the 'peace deal' between the major parties, who now admit that they are embarrassed that they wasted 3 years arguing about petty rubbish instead of working for the benefit of Nepal. Maybe now they can get on with the business of actually running the country. Dr Bhattarai really does seem to be doing a good job and he has the confidence of the people. If his previous efforts as Finance Minister are anything to go by we may just get positive change here.
The weather here right now is what can technically be called 'dreary': damp, foggy and COLD at night. Thank goodness for my Red Spot Boutique doona I brought all the way from home.
And in vitally important breaking news, the Fate of the Nepali Calendar hangs in the balance...Do not read if you are easily befuddled or demented. You can see why this country is such a basket case when you read this.
The reason it says 2069 is the Nepali calendar is a bit in front - I forget exactly what it is based on but right now it is 2068 and 2069 starts about 15 April next year.
It's Friday and some more friends are arriving just as others leave, so the frantic social whirl continues. Spent last night chatting with an interesting Saudi photojournalist. Now that's something you don't get to say too often!
I am going to see if my washing is drying on the balcony (probably not) and think about going to the gym. Or not. I am feeling rather lazy after I spent the morning updating my CV in an attempt to procure work on my return home. Ah the joys of being a contractor. Have a beautiful Friday!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

And it's hello from Kathmandu

Where the sun hasn't come out....but it is party time! I'm here with Neal and Rhonda (Neal getting in early for birthday celebrations), Bazz (who I haven't seen for like 8 years) Rodney (we call him the Sea Captain) and Anjou. Just having a few relaxing drinks before Bazz decided to ring the bell for goodness only knows what reason - which meant we all had to have another drink..... oh well.
Kathmandu is still packed to the gunwales - there were only 3-4 Lukla flights on Sunday and nothing since so people are stuck where they don't want to be - and some are starting to get very cross. Good thing the only place I will be flying to is Nepalganj to go to the jungle. There are some very big mahseer in the river and the time for fishing is almost over, so a whole bunch of people I know are headed down to Bardia via Nepalganj to see what they can catch. We are going down to play in the jungle but there will also be a spot of fishing so I am told.
Of course the big news here is that the political parties seem to have finally agreed on some peace points and maybe now Nepal can move ahead.
But I just couldn't resist this letter in the paper today. It is the most astounding example of Nepali logic I have seen for some time......
WTF? Car racing fans going to Lumbini - time to ring the bell again Bazz!