A Travellerspoint blog

Monday, 10th of march 2008

Trisuli centre - Kathmandu

sunny 24 °C

Monday, 10th of March 2008.
Trisuli centre – Kathmandu.

Awake at 07:00. For the last time crossing my favorite hanging bridge.
Breakfast and chatting with Dill.
We went for a short walk with Peter to the Big Fig, where you have a beautiful view of the Trisuli settlement, the river, the mountains. He also showed us the classroom for the Young Leaders and told many funny stories.
Around 11:30 Dill stopped a tourist bus, luggage on the roof and on our way to Kathmandu.
After 40 minutes a coffee stop. We had a tasty cake and ordered Fanta Lemon. There they came up with hot lemon, oh why not, it is only about 26º!
This time it took us 4 hours to get to Kathmandu. A lot of trucks on the road, which slowed our {safe} driver down a lot.
From the stop of the bus we could jump straight away in a taxi, for 200 Rs he took us to the Kathmandu Guesthouse. While loading our luggage in the taxi a holy man came towards me: a flower on my head, a tika on my forehead, blessings and then: baksheesh (money).
On my ‘no baksheesh’ his answer was that I was very lucky to receive this blessing for free.
Until we got into the taxi: money, money, and I guess we got cursed for the rest of our lives!

Checking in at Kathmandu Guesthouse. A great feeling, rest, a bit settled down for the last few days, a nice room, hot (steaming hot) shower.
At the H.E. office it was a great meeting: Toni, Niraj, Dill from the office.

We arranged a half day tour to Boudnath and a Tibetan monastery outside of Kathmandu for Thursday with Kiroj as our guide again.

We were lucky to have a room in the Guesthouse, after us too many people were send away: full.

To Northfield for a drink and something to eat.

I popped in again at H.E. to have a chat with Niraj. Such a great man, kept asking if I was really all OK now. Holding my hand, holding my face.
I informed about a trip to Tibet for next time: very (derai derai) expensive: 1500 Euro!!
Flying to Lasha, then a 10 days trip with a jeep back to Kathmandu.
Reconsidering I came to the conclusion that probably I have to skip Tibet. For the same money I can live 2 months in Nepal!

A bit of reading and lights out. I slept very well, Renske was awake half of the night from the music, the birds and all kind of things I was completely unaware of.

Subha Rathri.

Posted by Sanghita 05:50 Archived in Nepal Comments (0)

Sunday, 9th of March 2008

Chitwan - Trisuli centre

sunny 27 °C

Sunday, 9th of March, 2008.
Chitwan. – Trisuli centre.

Knock knock, 7 o’clock.
7:30 breakfast and rushing back to the room, packing was easier this time.
A coffee in the garden, Suk came to say goodbye. We will keep in touch for sure.

09:00: Schumacher brought us to the bus. We called him this, because one time when we were close to the gate of the hotel, without braking he swirled the jeep around the corner.
A tourist bus, this time sitting in the front, plenty of space for our legs.

2 ½ hours later we stopped at the Trisuli centre.
It was good to see Dill (the rafting guide) again. Next September he will open his own rafting business with his nephew. They will do a combination of trekking and rafting.
Dill made it possible that we could go rafting for one day tomorrow, but we already decided to stay only one night and then go to Kathmandu. There we can really relax, we even decided to go and have a beauty day: massage, facial and manicure.
So, when Dill told us we could go rafting, after a short talk, we agreed to stick to the original plan.
Next time in Nepal I can do the 12 days raft/trek.
Celebrating our decision with a beer.
We spend our time sitting on the beach at the riverside.
It is very hot. Later we sat on the balcony of the Balcony Café of H.E. with a beautiful view.
Diner and a drink with Peter – the volunteer we met in Bandipur – and Dill.
Around 1:00 we crossed the bridge to our tent. It was not cold at all, a beautiful clear sky with millions of stars. Almost fell out of bed a few times, but then slept unconscious.
Dill slept on the beach with the dog, which was a safe feeling for us, for the rest completely deserted on the riverbank.

Posted by Sanghita 05:48 Archived in Nepal Comments (0)

Saturday, 8th of march 2008

Chitwan, have you ever bathed an elephant? We did!

sunny 26 °C

Saturday, 8th of March 2008.

Knock knock, 7 o’clock.
07:30 breakfast.
08:30 with the jeep, which needs to be started at the front with a swinger, and Michael Schumacher as driver to the river for a kanotour.

With Suk and 2 German women in a long kano over the river: birdwatching and some crocodiles.
At one point Renske and I were joking about the croco’s. Most of them were laying at the riverside with their mouths open. ‘Have they been put there and is the battery empty?’

Back ashore a small walk to the Elephant Breeding Center, founded in 2005. Up to now there are 20 elephant babies born. We were very lucky, 2 weeks ago babies were born.
Feeding the ‘young’ elephants (2 and 3 years old) with special cookies.
Renske got scared one moment. She was feeding an elephant with only one eye (which she did not know at that time). He came closer and closer to her with his trunk, trying to find the cookie. Suk took pictures of us feeding the elephants. It was great fun to see one of the babies jumping and humping around. ‘Grapjas’, Suk called it.
(jolly joker).
A French woman irritated us too much. She let the young elephant eat the plastic bag from the cookies. Walking past the other elephants again she was holding a plastic bag in her hands. Later, going down to the river, she threw the plastic in the bushes. ‘Don’t you have pockets, you idiot?’

Time for another highlight of our trip: elephant bathing!!!!
Quite scared after my bad elephant-experience in Thailand, but hey you have to try everything at least once in you life. And why not on the back of a giant elephant as Bha Shanti Kali? (Kali means big, huge).

Ascending the wobbly tower from where we had to crawl from the back rear to the front of Bha Shanti. Me first, Renske behind me. She squeezed me hard, not to fall of. I could hold on to the elephant driver in front of me.
Going down the riverbank was scary and then the fun started.
The driver climbed to the back of us, so I got the full splash of the elephant shower. She showered us a few times from the front, then both sides, to make sure we got soaked.
On command of the driver Bha Shanti rolled over to the side, so we landed in the water.

[Saturday night I have been dreaming about this, that I got trapped under Bha Shanti. Telling this the next morning to Renske she answered: Ah, so that is why you were screaming in your sleep No, No, please stop, No don’t! ]

We could climb back on Bha Shanti, but instead we swam back ashore. The driver took Bha Shanti to the shore, where she lay down on one side and we scrubbed her with a stone. She really enjoyed this. Rolling over, scrubbing the other side. Back on her back for a last shower.
Suk took pictures of our bathing, they are great!!
Time for a hot shower now.

15:00: elephantride through the jungle.
The German women wanted a private elephant. The charge was 3.600 Rs, they were discussing it over and over, mentioning sharing. Renske and I were deaf and dumb.
If they could pay an airplane to fly over the Everest, they can also pay their own private elephant!
Finally it turned out that we had just one elephant, the four of us squeezed in the basket. A shame that Suk could not join us, but he instructed the driver to search for wild animals.
We saw a Rhino mother with her baby, later on a field 4 rhinos grazing, loads of deer, peacocks, crocodile, birds and monkeys.
At one point we spotted a Rhino mother with her baby in a small muddy river. Our driver made the elephant taking out some trees, following the rhino.
Besides the big wild animals we also met many small animals: spiderwebs in our faces, mosquitoes, flies, etc.

A 2 hour wonderful tour through the jungle.
When we came on an open field, another elephant came out of the jungle, trumpeting and running.
Our elephant slapped her trunk on the ground, it sounded like a gunshot. Our driver told us they were sisters, happy to see each other.
To our pleasure (yes, we are bitches sometimes) we saw it was payback time for the French woman we saw at the breeding centre. She sat on the running elephant, her face ugly from fear.
She was asking our driver if her elephant was angry, she was scared to death. Serves you right, Madam!

Arriving back at the hotel a long chat with Suk, diner, a slide show of the animals in Chitwan and again a long chat with Suk.
Happily tired from all the events of this day time to sleep.

Suba Rathri.

Posted by Sanghita 05:43 Archived in Nepal Comments (0)

Friday, 7th of March 2008

Bye Bye Pokhara, Chitwan here we come.

sunny 28 °C

Friday 7th of March, 2008.
Bye Bye Pokhara, Chitwan here we come.

Knock knock, 6 o’clock.
Coffee on the doorstep.
At 07.00 we were ready outside the hotel. Pashpathi was there to say goodbye.
With a taxi to the busstop.
While we were having a coffee finally a splendid view of the Annapurna Range, better late then never.

A 5 hour busdrive, with a stop after 2 hours.
Arriving at Chitwan the bus stopped on a field, packed with people and jeeps.
Thanks to Pashpathi we did not need to hassle, a jeep of the Royal Park Hotel was waiting for us.
Driving (hobbling) through the village to the hotel.
It is a very nice hotel in the style of a Safari-lodge.
Very nice staff and Suk(ram) is our guide.
Our big room is situated the garden.

Lunch was served: potato mash – cauliflower – bufmeat – mie: all very tasty.

15:00: with Suk, 2 German ladies a ride on an ox-cart through the villages.
Suk explained a lot: he is from the Tharu-tribe.
Tharu houses are made from grass, then covered with mud. They decorate the houses outside with paint, prints of their thumbs and hands. Towards the harvesting more and more decorations as a prayer for a wealthy harvest are put on.

We went to the Cultural Tharu museum and Suk took us inside a traditional Tharu house: one big space with clay walls to create separate compartments. In this house 19 persons were living, as well as Suk lived in his village in a house with 19 people.
The family was sheaving mustard seeds.

The drive took about an hour, after which we had a small walk past the shops. We had to buy mosquito-oil, because Renske has been eaten alive. I have no problem what so ever.

Relaxing in the garden, talking with Suk.
His wife and son and daughter are living in his village, a 7 km away from the hotel. His wife has a small shop next to the school and every year Suk tries to buys something for this school. So far he has bought for 15 children schooluniforms.

Suk: I still remember how I felt going to school without or in a very old uniform. I am coming from a poor farmers family and I’ve been very lucky that my father insisted on going to school, although my family almost had no money. Thanks to this I started working in a hotel in a restaurant and through studying I became a guide for this hotel. I love nature, I love people, I am very happy I can do this job, showing people my beautiful country, meeting all kinds of people.
Now I am able to send my own children to a non-government school and I try to help the school of my village as much as possible.
I met a year ago a couple from Switzerland and with their help all classrooms have now electric fans.. It was boiling hot before in the classrooms with the tin roofs.
My wife also supports the school: from the income of the shop she puts everytime something apart and lately we could donate notebooks, books and pencils.
This year I want to try to buy schoolbags for the children.

I told Suk about UCAN and I will sent his email address to Voula and explain her that this village also needs support. I am sure we will keep in touch with Suk and I like to visit Chitwan again on my next trip.

19:00 Stick dancing of the Tharu tribe around the fire.
20:30 diner. Dahl Bath. We shocked some Dutch people in the dining room. They were with a big group and talking shame off us, because we ate our Dahl Bath with our hands.

Very tired of the bustrip, the farewell last night and all new impressions of today at 22:00 to sleep.
It is very warm here in Chitwan and in the evening the room is very humid.

Suba Rathri and many kisses.

Posted by Sanghita 05:40 Archived in Nepal Comments (0)

Thursday, 6th of March 2008

Pokhara, our last day here.

sunny 25 °C

Thursday, 6th of March, 2008.
Pokhara, Our last day.

The gods are crying with us. Our last day in Pokhara and the weather is rainy, overcast, more rain on its way.
Slept until 10:00 and then it was time to start packing. We managed to get everything in our bags, later in Kathmandu the final repack.
Wonder if we have overweight!

We went to Lake-Side for the last pictures, but they were not ready yet.
Arranged at Mamma Mia that at 18:00 we will be there with 30 persons, pre-ordered the pizza’s for the children, so they don’t have to wait too long tonight.
Brunch at TeaTime after we updated the travelblog.

We paid the hotel bill: 16.000 Rs (about 165 Euro) for 21 nights, our coffee service AND laundry!
No question about it where to stay next time in Pokhara: Mountain Villa Penthouse.

To Pashpathi to pay Chitwan: 12,800 Rs (± 150 Euro) for 2 persons 3 nights Royal Park Hotel, fullboard, transfers and park-activities included.

Finally on our way to the home.
Helping again with some homework. Mina came with a surprise: on a school board was written:
Sudeep’ Soul:
You all be gone very soon
And you all be miles apart,
But memories of yesterday
Will be in my heart.
Don’t do what u tell,
But do what your heart tell.

It made me swallow, thinking by myself not to listen too much to only my heart today, using my brain instead
Time to go, no extra passengers allowed.

We played on the roof with Sofia, Mamatha, Raju and Bimal. Kung Fu fighting, tickling.
Sofia got my camera and became our reporter of the day.

Shiba, who used to lie in the home and is now living with this stepmother, came to take us to his room.
There he showed us his paintings and a brochure of an exhibition he was also participating in.
He is member of the Art Society in Pokhara.
Two framed pictures on the wall were a gift for us he said, but we excepted on one, without the frame.
Then we had to choose a few other pictures to take with us, he insisted. We left his room with 2 paintings each and one big one. How to get them home undamaged?

Together walking back Shiba told us he went to live with his stephmother after she had an heart operation. He is taking care of her now; in the meantime going to university to study management.

At the home the children were jumpy, very busy, so we told them we were going to get our photos and they had to be ready at 17.30 sharp!
And, for once, they were. Already line waiting for us.

Marching this line to Mamma Mia.
A long line of tables was waiting for us. A few kids got hold of our cameras, so we will end up with 100 pictures or more only from the pizza-evening!

Raju was very creative with the camera: trying to make a picture of himself in the mirror. Also we found a picture the banana-chocolate crepe, which was the desert.

The ordered chicken-chilli pizza was far too spicy. We made the staff just to put any kind of pizza that was ready on the tables, so every one could take a piece. There was a moment that I thought we should cancel some of the ordered pizza’s, but then the waiter said the last ones were on the table.
Can’t believe how much they can eat!!

When the crepes with banana and chocolate came, their party was perfect!

Bipana, the little one, did not eat much of the pizza, most probably it was the first one in her life (like the ice-cream), but it was a treat to see her with the chocolate pancake! Again, she ended up with chocolate every where. Boy, did she love it!

Also Binod did not want me to help him cut his pancake. He torn off a little piece, smeared it through the chocolate and sucked on it for ages. Thinking nobody was watching, he licked the plate spotless (chocolateless) clean.

And still more to come: Pashpathi had bought sugarcanes for all of them to celebrate Shiva Ratri.
Pashpathi was great with the children. Walking around, talking with every one of them. Came to Binod, said to us that he was such a great singer and got Binod singing a Nepali song for us.
Then I mentioned that Bimal, sitting on the other side next to me, also was a good singer. Pashpathi begged him to sing also, intense listening to Bimal. Such a sweet, soft, clear voice this boy has.
Pasphathi asked me whispering if I knew the background of Binod and Bimal. I nodded yes.
Very pleased I was that he knew so much of the children, how involved and caring/loving he was.

Following Pashpathi to H.E., where he handed over the sugarcanes. Dhanyabad Uncle we heard 19 times.
Marching to the Visha-temple, trying not to get hit by the long sugarcanes the children were holding.

The temple-side was worrying, a big fire in which the children put the sugarcanes. Heated up, they took them out the fire and slammed them as hard as possible on the ground. A big bang followed with sheering, clapping hands.
Gurash and I busy trying to spot where our kids were. Pitch dar, except from the fire.

Big and small Mamatha went around the temple, praying, a few times.
After a while it was time to gather them together, bringing the home.
Everybody chewing the broken sugarcanes, it’s sweet juice that you can suck from the wood.

Receiving more and more drawings, then called upstairs to see Auntie and Uncle.
A little ritual: Gangka taking my hand, Omito’s mother taking Gurash’ hand, squeezing, forcing the traditional bracelets on our wrists. We both ended up with several broken bracelets and blood on our knuckles from forcing the bracelets on.
Next Gangka put some selfmade necklaces around our necks, made from very small beats, beautifull.
A tika, a giant hug, a bag, a shirt, wet eyes.
Time to go now.

One of the girls said we had to stay for dancing, but we really needed to go, no more stalling, just run away.

Coming downstairs all the boys were standing in line with flowers. More hugs, ‘write me’, ‘don’t forget me’, kisses, bye byes.

Gangka, Omito’s mother and Sudeep walked with us until the temple. One more time a big squeeg hug, kisses all over and walking away.
We stopped at H.E. but we could not see Pashpathi. Up to our room.
Exhausted straight to bed, sleeping with 48 arms around me.

Posted by Sanghita 05:31 Archived in Nepal Comments (0)

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