Postcard from Nepal

We’re planning a house move at the moment, so it’s time to dust off more of those travel memories…until we can hit the road again (and not in a removalist van).

Copyright: Louise Ralph

October 2008: We’ve just emerged from the clouds. Trekking the Annapurnas was both surreal and an absolute blast – and the pace was surprisingly civilized (an added bonus).

Of course, EB was hopping from one foot to the other the whole time.

We had a great group…all young-at-heart and, thank god, not out to prove they were super star trekkers.

As always, EB was the social lubricant – possibly because the rest of us were actually gasping for breath most of the time.

Copyright: Louise RalphAt one of the villages, we found some open space and challenged ‘the boys’ (sherpas and guides) to a game of cricket… with a bit of wood and a ball made of something wrapped in plastic bags and held together with string!

The only problem was that a ‘six’ required a jungle safari and sharp eyes to retrieve the ball.

Copyright: Louise Ralph

Our sherpas…

On the last night, we rocked the (tea) house ’til the wee hours with our sherpas. It’s amazing what fun you can have with one drum, some dodgy whisky, and a bunch of crazy people.

One bloke in our group said ‘Louise wants to take three of you boys home for her daughters’…which guaranteed I was never short of dancing partners. We had people from the village turning up to see what was going on and joining the party…

Nepal’s scenery is spectacular, the people are delightful, and there’s something magical about sharing rickety rope-strung bridges with a passing parade of donkeys laden with goods. Oh and the food? Delicious and mostly vegetarian. What more can I say?

The contrast with Bangkok, our stopover on the way to Nepal, was another story. A huge, humid, smelly city were a tuk tuk ride is a journey to anywhere – except where you want to go.

…mostly to tailors who ‘make you suit for cheap-cheap price’ or out-of-the-way boat sheds where a business associate (aka cousin) was ready and waiting to take you on a special charter boat with bonus snake park visit.

The adventure continued at the night markets where we had fun bargaining with the locals. Lots of laughs. The market was in the red light district, and every few steps I got asked to go to a ping pong show (note to self: dress like a girl next time).

They take pole dancing to whole new levels in Bangkok… the bars are lined with poles (every couple of feet) with a very gorgeous and very bored girl (or lady-boy) on each, gyrating half-heartedly for the slavering tourists.

Apart from the markets, Bangkok’s shopping centres are mega-huge. One Aussie shopping centre would fit on one floor, and there are seven!

Copyright: Louise Ralph

…walking the streets of Pokara

Back in Nepal, and we’re hanging out in Pokara while some lovely people wash our clothes. I could get used to this!

Tonight is our end-of-trip party (another one). Tomorrow we head into the jungle to look for four-legged wild life in Chitwan, and then we’re off to India…


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