A journey that has left with me a deep mark …
You know when some say that small things make a people happy!? I am to this realization came to Nepal .
We land in Kathmandu, capital of Nepal and, after completing customs procedures and forms for a visa, we meet with the chaos in the streets. We met with our guide and he puts us a necklace of flowers on the chest, with the welcome in his country. I embarked on a journey with two very good friends and the two colleagues that at that moment I know only from e-mails, which will on this trip become good and dear friends.
They say that Nepal has begun to open up to the world only in 1950 when people from all over the world started the hike to Himalayas.
What do you expect when you say the capital town?
The first thing he finds in Kathmandu is the hill of dust in the streets. Only after two days I put a surgical mask over my face and walked the streets under it (which is normal); until then a heap of dust, ate, and then coughing up and thrown out through the nose.
Kathmandu is located in a valley at 1 450 meters above sea level, surrounded by the highest peaks in the world, which does not allow the dust leave the valley. However, the situation with dust and cars, buses and trucks on the old streets are largely left without asphalt but they do a tremendous amount of dust rising into the air.
Nepal is a poor country with money, everything else in abundance. Nepali people claim that their national characteristics very brave heart.
On Nepal hygiene is on a very low scale. Who knows me, knows what problems it’s for me.
Good thing I brought my bedding, alcohol and cleaning everything. After Nepal, problems with hygiene and cleanliness in my head are slightly loosened. One: zero for me.
What else you can see in Kathmandu.
The city is one of the largest Buddhist stupa in the world (stupa is a kind of monumental Buddhist relics). On all four sides of the tower that soars above the stupa is painted with the eyes of Buddha. Between the eyes is painted Nepal number one as a symbol of unity, and above the eyes is the third eye, which is a symbol of wisdom.
Around the stupa, the fluttering of colorful Buddhist prayer flags that the wind carry the prayers printed on them and protect from evil spirits. Flags are made up of five colors: blue, red, white, yellow and green.
We walked around the stupa and rotate the rollers used for prayer, that is, the rollers rotate one after the other and say the mantra. “Om mani padme hum” is a mantra that you can hear every step, and so we entered into the ears that during the entire trip just to repeat it (singing), it came to him as a Buddhist hit.
Visiting the temple of Pashupatinath, the holiest Hindu temple in Nepal on the river Bagmati.
Nepali Hindus perform ritual cremation here. Death and life on this place are intertwined thin line. While on the river cremate the body, not far from there children play. After the ritual of the ashes placed in the river a little farther from there a woman wash laundry.
I have to complain what bothered me the most to Nepal. Stairs! All over the stairs and climbing! No, you can not realize how many stairs. When we went to a Buddhist temple monkeys, Swayambhunath, located on one of the hills near the city center. You assume that climbs to the temple and be a thousand steps to the top, and by the way, as you ascend, monkeys are jumping, trying to kidnap you food, backpacks, cameras.
We were located in the heart of the city, a former hippie commune Thamel, where we spend most of our free time.Thamel form several streets full of colorful shops, tasty street food and interesting bars. The hippies of the sixties came to Nepal, here they were allowed to live the life you want.
Everything is very cheap, for life does not need much, but to “grass” and other opiates are easy to come by.
Not far from there we find “the Garden of Dreams“. When you step into it, dust, crowds, sirens, cars and chaos on the streets disappear. In the beautiful garden of the ruling order. You can walk to lounging or eat, but their time to breathe another air again and breath deeply.
Dishes are very spicy. Everest, local beer, we evaluated as well and use it in reasonable quantities to wash the dust from our throat. Alcohol is not cheap. The national dish is the momo, looks like a ravioli filled with meat or vegetables and it really is for each recommendation. Also, I liked meatballs in a sweet: sour red sauce.
Nepalese food is mostly vegetarian, very tasty. Of course, it is a sure thing and garlic naan. Food is mainly based on rice, eating with their hands, don’t used a fork. Rice is sacred in Nepal. More than 80% of Nepalese live in the countryside and is engaged in agriculture. In a country where half the population is illiterate, where he lives on less than two dollars a day, the main problem is how to survive.
On Nepal will not be able to go shopping to standard way, thre best thing is pashmina.
First Education. Pashmina is made from mountain goat which is similar to a yak, only smaller. He lives above 4 000 m. Not every goat pashmina, even if grazing at this altitude. Rights pashmina one night solve cold, if wrapped around his head. Made of undercoat. Bargaining means.
Do I need to mention that I am the only woman in our group market for the five of us more than we planned. All the colors we brought home, although one natural, unpainted, proved to be the best. We’re probably a small settlement in Belgrade supplied the pashmina that we brought home for gifts.
Also, shopping is out of control when we stumbled across the Himalaya herbals medications. Toothpaste, drugs for anything and everything, syrups, creams … Three kilograms of all the products I brought to Serbia, 60 bottles of all kinds of supplements. No, I am not bought all at once. It started when I bought syrup expectorant to help me overcome dust that has accumulated in the lungs, and when I realized how effective, the shopping can begin. Otherwise, in addition to pharmacies you can find them in the grocery store retail consumer.
Kathmandu has three square because it includes two more cities, Patan and Bhaktapur. All have an old palace, market and many temples.
Bhaktapur is actually a city for themselves. Lion Gate, Golden Gate, Art Gallery and Temple Nyatapola left us breathless.
Durbar Square. There are more temples than houses and more gods than people. Is under the protection of UNESCO.
Patan is a center of Buddhist and Hindu cultures together, it is more than 1 200 monuments. Here are the pagodas at the temples with erotic depictions carved in wood.
Our Nepalese guide was able to arrange for us a small plane flight over the peaks of the Himalayas, one morning at five, when the weather was nice …
We had a small problem with a guide: whatever we ask we receive a response that he thought it would satisfy us. Let me give you a few examples later.
Katmandu we leave behind and moving towards Pokhara national park which is located 207 kilometers west of the capital. Bus which we traveled was classified as a tourist.
By the way, we met local buses where there is no empty space, every inch of the bus is full. And when there is no place on the bus, on the roof next to the baggage that is bound with ropes has seats. Locals this is not a problem, it is important to be transported to the desired destination.
Do you think it bothers them to be pushed, as it has more than hundred in a bus? No, they wave and smile, and you seriously ask yourself whether it is really necessary for a good luck.
Otherwise, on the road can barely pass each other to the vehicle, and therefore the trip lasts an average of seven hours. This is a narrow mountain road full of potholes, which unfortunately you can not even sleep than you are doomed to look everything.
We arrive late in the evening in Pokhara and leave sightseeing in the morning.
The city is leaning on the lake. The main street along the lake, is filled with cafes, restaurants , hostels, shops equipment for rock climbing and travel agencies that offer you Sherpas with you to climb to the top of Annapurna at 8 091 m above sea level or a lower peak if you want.
In the afternoon I book a massage and a little lie down to rest until the time comes. However, from naps phone ringing startled me. On the other regarding the women explains to me that it was time for a massage and I moved immediately to come. I get up, furious, and move towards a massage room where, on the second terrace, my friends die of laughter and fooling how they fooled me.
On this trip one of the charms that we enjoyed was duping other. Massage was not pleasant, the girl had the most meter and a half and 40 kilograms has been so strong. Although I moaned that hurts and to stop, she just repeated that I paid and it was her job. My back is hurting the next ten days.
Remember that I told you our guide trying to please and spoke only what he thought makes us happy? So it was that morning when we were at four o’clock, in the pitch dark, they started to climb the World Peace Pagoda, a temple dedicated to the Buddha built by the Japanese as a symbol of peace and friendship among nations, which is located at the top of a nearby hill from where great to see the peaks of the Himalayas.
When I asked whether we should put on shoes for hiking and whether it is a difficult climb, he told me that it was just a walk and would serve ordinary shoes. It was hard, but my friends to help me, they took out of my pack all the things that have been difficult that would be easier to climb. However, they took the water, and pretty far along because I’m slow and generally not in a hurry.
The rise mainly goes through the woods, but the problem is poorly marked trails. Spite made me climb up on the last climb that has a million steps to the top, I already was so angry that I started to yell and shout to all animate and inanimate. However, I managed to get up exactly at the moment when it dawned and I quickly forgot everything and enjoyed the view of the Himalayas which served as the palm. We drank ginger tea and honey and headed down the other flat mountain which was again to the bottom of the stairs. It’s not easy when you go down the stairs as they are of unequal size, usually after they have moss or leaves. Guaranteed, no problem one wrong step and you fly to the lake.
We crossed the lake by boat and quickly again find in the city.
The next day we climbed up to the lookout point Sarangkot, opposite the pagoda, the climb takes about four hours. Along the way you meet a lot of children who greet you. We gave them candy, they suggested to us to bring them because we will them to the brim quite meet.
The deal was to climb to the plateau where we will paragliding down to the lake, but we lost and climbed to the highest point and then again with my complaining and a lot of sweat coming down to the point where paragliding moving. View of the lake and the city was fantastic.
We enjoyed in Pokhara, but the weather was to go to the next destination. Nagarkot, a town located east of Kathmandu and has the best view of Mount Everest if the weather is nice and there are no clouds. In the road we changed the plan because we were informed that on the border with Tibet is last resort camp in which the wire bridge that swings from a height of 160 meters of bungee-jumping and leaping swing. Since our friend loves extreme sports, we decided to go.
We remain one day in Nagarkot and before roosters in the morning, we have organized a van to take us to the border with Tibet. It is comfortable, and although the road is bad, I managed to take a nap. However, every few kilometers we stopped that we searched the van and inspect whether accidentally smuggled to Tibet.
We arrive at the destination. However, when I saw the bridge from which you need to jump, I froze with fear and began to whine. Obviously not subtle, since the driver who, of course, does not know our language, understand what was going on and started to laugh.
The camp is located at the far end of the bridge, and in the morning the bridge was closed due to rebounds. We waited one group ends, so they let us get near. Yes to all of a suitcase on wheels by a wire bridge, a little laughter of those present, and I become, to say the least, mildly annoyed. Cross the bridge, we arrive at the reception and I’m looking for a room for the five of us we booked over the net. The receptionist looks at me and do not believe: “You have booked a tent, we have no room.”
Surprise! The camp is located in the jungle of the cascades and again the stairs to our tent. However, this was our most decent accommodation, clean, nice, neat.
With us in the camp a lot of tourists, people eager for adventure. Tomorrow morning we go and me to jump, that is, the guys start to jump, I dare not, I act moral support and hold a camera to record it all and immortalized.
When the first jump, I waited more than half an hour to climb up and finally arrives panting and wet. I jump around excited to hear what it was, what do I get the answer “It is good that you have not jumped, she’d kill us, to above are stairs and difficult is”. Once I make the right decision.
To our surprise, the camp has a pool, with spring water that is ice or feels a little regenerate muscles.
The next day we go for a walk through the canyon. We get the equipment and rope to descend a series of several waterfalls that surround us. The enjoyment, adrenaline, good feeling. But I did not count to me now await those stairs yesterday I avoid that when we descend again, we have to climb. I barely climbed, almost more than an hour behind them, but I managed. Luckily my they allow me to whine.
We enjoy the evening in the tent talking for a long time into the night and summarize the impressions and then the morning and go to the airport. The nine-hour flight and we’re home.
Nepal has really changed me, the better. A journey that brings back the smile on your face every time I think of it, the image in my head that remain for the whole life.
A place where you will be fascinated and dirt, where you will remain silent in front of nature and temples, where you breathe foulest and cleanest air in the world, where you will discover what you can do, though with a little whining.
Nepal, a place where nature and will give people the most beautiful feeling in the world: freedom!
By: Ivana Kovačević