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Archive for May 31st, 2010

Nepal…Finally!

Okay, so I know we are slacking on the blog posts. We have a good reason though…Kelly’s friend Seth came for a visit in Turkey and we were just having too much fun to worry about blogging. I have a few days to kill now before Kelly meets up with me in Berlin, so I hope to get reasonably caught up in the next week. 

After a long day of flights, Kelly and I arrived to the craziness that is Kathmandu, Nepal…this city deserves a blog post all its own, which I will save for later. We took a ‘taxi’ (basically an old jalopy from the 70’s that had to be pushed by three Nepalese men in order to start) to our guesthouse, checked in, went for a quick walk around the touristy neighborhood of Thamel, had an early dinner and went to bed. 

The next morning, it was time to get down to business. The main purpose of our visit to Nepal was to do some trekking in the Himalayas and we were anxious to get started while there was still good weather. There are dozens of popular trekking routes in Nepal and after much consideration, we opted for the Annapurna Sanctuary Trek, a ten to twelve day hike to the Annapurna Base Camp.

Our first step was to hire a guide. Although the trails are clearly marked and a guide is not required, Kelly and I felt more comfortable having a professional with us and we had read that having a local guide can really enhance your trekking experience. Kumar, a young Nepalese guy that owns his own trekking company, was waiting for us at our guesthouse when we arrived and convinced us to come by his office the next day to discuss pricing.

For around $40 a day per person, we were offered a package the included a guide and porter, our permit fees, transportation to Pokhara (where we would begin our trek), all of our accommodation along the way, three meals a day (except for snacks, sodas, and booze), and the rental of a sleeping bag, down jacket, and trekking poles. I had done some research on guide costs and although we could have gotten a better deal, this price seemed in line with the reputable trekking companies and was within our budget. Before making the booking, however, we wanted to actually meet our guide.

Powan came into the office and introduced himself. At 37 years old, he had been guiding in Nepal for 15 years and had done the Annapurna Sanctuary Trek more times that he could count. We reviewed the trekking schedule day-by-day and he answered a million of my worrisome questions. He obviously had the experience, but seemed a little quiet and reserved. Kelly and I were hoping for someone more outgoing, but whatever…Powan fit the bill fine, and we signed up. Kumar took us out that night for a Nepalese dinner and beers as a ‘thank you’ for our business.

The next morning, Kelly, Powan, our porter Sabin, and I made the 9-hour white knuckle bus ride to Pokhara to spend the night and prepare to begin our trek the following day. We stocked up on granola bars and Diamox (for altitude sickness), went out for pizza and a couple of beers, and had another early night.

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