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Archive for July 5th, 2010

Nepal Wrap Up

The Landscape

Nepal’s natural beauty is really beyond words. Seeing the the Himalayas so up close and personal is a draw-dropping experience. If mountain trekking isn’t your deal, whitewater rivers, tranquil lakes, valleys, forests, and jungle are all there for exploring. 

The planning of our round-the-world trip revolved almost entirely around our trek in Nepal. We wanted to make sure we got there while the skies were still clear, before monsoon season set in. I’m so glad we planned around the weather…a few days after we finished up our trek, the skies started to get hazy and views of the mountains were not nearly as good.

 The People

The Nepalese are incredibly hospitable. They love to chat with traveller’s and were always interested to know what made us want to visit their country. 

One thing that Kelly and I noticed is that guys are very affectionate with their male friends here. You will regularly see two dudes walking down the street with their arms around each other’s shoulders (even the little boys). It’s so cute. 

The Costs 

Nepal is not quite as cheap as Thailand and Laos, but it’s pretty close. We paid about $10 per night for a private room at a guesthouse and we would spent roughly $5-6 for a meal. 

If you decide to do any of the treks without a guide and porter, you can get by on very little money. A room at a village lodge is about $2 per night…meals run about $3. 

The Food

The primary dish in Nepal is dal-baht. This meal consists of steamed rice, lentil soup, a vegetable curry, and some sort of spicy pickled chutney. Locals eat this dish every day, both for lunch and dinner. It’s very tasty, and while trekking, Kelly and I ate it everyday for at least one of our meals. 

Dal Baht

Another one of our favorite local dishes were the Tibetian momos…small dumplings filled with veggies, potatoes, chicken or cheese. You can’t go wrong with a dumpling. 

Momos!

The Booze

Everest was our local beer of choice, although most of the Nepalese drink the Danish beer Carlsberg.

 

Roxi, the local moonshine and beverage of choice for our guide Powan, tastes a bit like rice wine. Not good, basically. 

Trekking Tips 

Make sure you have comfortable well broken-in shoes for the trek!!! This is the number one rule, people! They don’t have to be high-tech hiking boots, they just need to fit right.  shoes were a bit too small as well and four months later, I still have dead black toenails.

-Whether you buy or rent, be sure to carry a quality sleeping bag. It is cold as hell up in the mountains and if you have some piece-of-crap sleeping bag, you’ll freeze your bum off. 

-We recommend hiring a guide. One can definitely get by without one, but it’s a good way to get to know a local and ask questions about the Nepalese culture…it truly enhances the trekking experience. By the end of the twelve days, Kelly and I got to know Powan pretty well and were even invited to his home to meet his family (sadly, we were not able to take him up on his invitation as a result of some miscommunication). Also, there is no need to hire a guide before you get to Nepal…there are tons of local companies in Kathmandu that you can book through upon arrival.

-Take it slow. It’s not a race. 

-Bring your I-pod and a couple of books. Music is great for motivation and there is a lot of time to relax once you reach your guesthouse for the afternoon. 

Other Random Thoughts 

-One thing we did NOT like about Nepal was all of the loogey hawkin’. Everyone does it here…they’ll be walking down the street and will a hawk a big loogey every five minutes. This sound disgusts me more than any sound in the whole world. I hated this about the Nepalese. 

-Depending on the city or region, there is no electricity for 8 to 16 hours a day (typically in the afternoon and during the late evening hours). We ended up taking more than a few showers in the dark. 

-‘Namaste’ in Nepal actually means ‘hello’, not ‘thank you’ or ‘goodbye’.

Next stop…Turkey!!

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