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Nepal



Pokhara

Pokhara was such a wonderful place to relax after India. I met loads of great people on the bus trip (later to be known as Team International). I had a steak every night for 5 days before our trek started in Jomsom, it was heaven. They sell tons of rip off North Face and Lowe Alpine gear there but you'd hardly be able to tell the difference between the fake stuff and the legitimate, so, of course, I spent those 5 days doing some serious shopping as well.

The trip from Varanasi to Pokhara took two days, but it wasn't until the second day that we decided to ride on top of the bus.

On top of the bus


Boats on the lake in Pokhara

Holy day is a festival where everyone gets covered in paint, I have no idea what the meaning of the festival is, but they celebrate it in India as well, but tourist are greatly discouraged from participating there. In Pokhara it was safe and fun even if your clothes do get died a strange color.

Holy day in Pokhara


Johnny on Holy day

As a little warm up before our big hike we decided to climb up Sarangkot, which is a hill next to Pokhara with some great views (on a clear day) of the Annapurna range. The two dogs in the picture followed us all the way from the valley floor.

Dogs that followed us to the top of Sarangkot

We couldn't leave the poor dog so far from home so we brought him back to where we found him in the taxi. That's Johnny and Michae, from Norway, with the dog.

Taking the dog home

Annapurna Himalayan Range

International team subcontingent, Lou, Claire, Ben and myself started our Annapurna Himalayan trek by flying into Jomsom (2200m), inside the Annapurna range. Over the next eight days we climbed to a high mountain village called Muktinath (3800m). Descended over the next several days to Tatopani (1200m), which means hot water in Nepali and contains some wonderful hotsprings. Passed through some spectacular villages such as Marpha and Keg Beni, ascended again to Poon Hill (3200m), for an amazing sunrise over the range, and finally descended to Naya Pul(1000m) on the last day. The whole trek was simply unbelievable and the pictures below certainly don't do it justice.

Plane ride to Jomsom


Landing in Jomsom


Downtown Jomsom


Leaving Jomsom


Inscpriptions


Jomsom valley


Sandstorm


Keg Beni


Climbing to Muktinath


Keg Beni valley


Guitar in the mountains


Small bridge


Moon over the mountain


Apple brandy distillery


Horse


Ben the yogi


River


Annapurna river


Small village


White ponies in the forest


By the river


Waterfall


The team


Getting a drink


Ponies on the hillside


Doves


Water buffalo


Caught in the rain


The trail


Man with his cow


Me


Sheep


On the way to Gorepahný


Rhododendron forest


Top of Poon Hill with the team


Top of Poon Hill with some crazy Austrians


Japanese tourists


Sunrise on Poon hill


Waterfall


Almost to Naya Pul

Kathmandu

On the trip from Pokhara to Kathmandu there were a number of burned out trucks, unfortunately I don't have any photographs. If you were unaware, there is currently a civil war going on in Nepal. The current king is accused of murdering the previous royal family and the Maoist are raising hell around the country trying to gain control. Apparently America supports the king and is therefore despised by the local people who support the Maoists much more than the illegitimate king. In order to enforce their control over the population the Maoist are often calling strikes, which forces shop owners to close down for as long as a week. If the shop owners do not close down they are targeted by the Maoists for a bombing or other forms of reprisal. Hence the burned out trucks on the road from Pokhara to Kathmandu. In fact the bus that took us from Naya Pul at the end of our trek back to Pokhara was unloaded the very next day and burned to the ground for disobeying the strike. Fortunately the violence is not aimed at tourism, since that is one of the only forms of income for what is otherwise a very poor country, and the Maoists are aware of the effect decreased tourism would have on ordinary citizens.

Durbar square in Kathmandu


The military


My favorite cafe in Kathmandu


Scaring the pigeons

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