Sunday, 19 April 2009

Reaching Nepal

Waiting for a train
I love this pic, instead of asking for money , the kid just wanted his pics taken

Our journey from Varanasi to Katmandu has not been the nicest. The train we took was almost fully booked so we had to take separate berths. When we got on the train both of our seats were taken. The man sitting in mine tried to bully me into going away but, eventually, he was the one that left. Ignasi had the same issue but the guy threatened him with a gun. It was the first time in India where I encountered physical violence or, to be more precise, where the threat of physical violence was present. I woke up early in the morning and went to check the time on my iPod but sadly someone had taken it from my bag during the night. I had slept cuddling the bag but clearly I do not cuddle strong enough. I am really gutted about it as I love listening to music during long bus and train journeys - God only knows what I am going to do when I go from BKK to Kuala Lumpur on a 36 hour train journey. I am also upset as it was a present from my friend Stephen and I feel guilty that I will not have it when he arrives in Kuala. It was disappointing that I had to experience this when leaving one of the holiest cities in the world, but then again it is a major tourist centre.
Tonight we are taking another sleeping bus. It is the third night in a row that I won't be sleeping in a bed. It is a good way to save money but sometimes it has been the only way available for us to travel and, as we have not got a lot of time, we didn't want to waste time in the border town.I am now desperate for a shower. In this sweltering heat I have gone native. The acidic smell of my BO has dried so much that I no longer smell it or, even worse, I have become immune to it. We are about to get to Katmandu. I was really looking forward to it but have discovered that is a town of ¾ of a million people. Not the small quaint city I thought, not another beautiful Laung Prabang, more a Vientiane.We have to go there to buy a few things, a sleeping bag, a fleece and maps etc. I am a bit nervous about this trek. We are going to ascend to 4600 metres. I don't think I have ever been above 2000 metres and we are going without a guide...Lots of people do it, and there are two of us, so I am sure everything will be ok. I am trusting that Ignasi is as responsible and knowledgeable as he seems. I am also very aware of the symptoms of Acute Mountain Sickness and how to avoid it. I will be very strict about the rate we ascend at. The most important thing is that we allow our hearts to acclimatize. Well hearts and whole bodies. I am so energised by this part of the trip. Of everything I have done so far this is, by a mile, the most adventurous, and something I could never have done on my own. Actually, one thing I do know is that this type of trekking is like diving, you should never do it on your own. It is well beyond my comfort zone, not only due to the challenge it is in itself but also due to the fact that I am going with someone I hardly know. I am going to spend two weeks in the Himalayas with a stranger. Having said that, it is probably easier than spending it with a close friend. I have come to realise that when you are with strangers you are a lot more careful and considerate. I hope when I go back home that I will be as considerate with my friends. Just for my own peace of mind, I am going to register with the British embassy in case we get lost......

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