Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Nepal - relax

After the long trek in the Himalayas in Nepal we made a good relaxation for a month. Тraveling for so long  sometimes makes us feel the need to establish somewhere. To create at least a temporary home where we can come back at night, to relieve our shoulders from the heavy backpacks and our minds from the adventures and uncertainty. The constant moving is constant adventure, but also constant packing of luggage, looking for shelter and guidance. We admit that sometimes we feel tired of all this so we decided to make a small pause. We called this period of the travel the relaxation. There is not much to tell, but we will show some pictures from Kathmandu and Pokhara. 

We stayed two weeks in Kathmandu enjoying the comforts of civilization and delicious food; wandering the small streets  and walking around the sacred places in the area. During this time, we applied for Indian visas. When we went to pick them up after a week we were told that the Indian embassy in Sofia didn't answer the email so they cannot give us the six month visas. After 3 phone calls to the embassy in Sofia and 5 times going to the embassy in Kathmandu, eventually communication was received and we obtained the longest visas in our journey. six months for only € 32. 

Swayambhunath or Monkey Temple, Kathmandu 
Swayambhunath or Monkey Temple, Kathmandu 

Durbar Square, Kathmandu 
The Hindu temple Pashupati on the banks of the Bagmati River, where open-air cremations are made
the body is immersed in the sacred river before cremation 

Finally, the remains are disposed in the river 
And families are immersed in the sacred river for purification 

Kathmandu monkeys 

cows are sacred and immovable

We went to Pokhara where we were hospitably welcomed by Freda, Kalo and their 2 kids – a Philippine-Nepali family from CouchSurfing. Five days we stayed at their home and shared international experiences. Freda prepared incredible Nepali-Filipino dishes, and we tried to do Bulgarian dahl baht and Nepali moussaka, which turned out to be complete failure (due to lack of an oven and Bulgarian spices). After these feasts Gena had to go to the dentist who put him two shiny metal teeth:) 
Pokhara can be described with one word - paradise! Far more relaxed and leisurely atmosphere than Kathmandu, located around the beautiful Fewa lake and surrounded by snowy peaks of the Annapurna massif. Because of the rainy season, however, clouds covered the mountains all the time and for 2 weeks in Pokhara we saw the white peaks partly only twice. At least we went cycling around the lake, boating, and finally even paragliding from Sarangot. This was thanks to Svetlio- the kite dai – a Bulgarian pilot in Pokhara and http://sky-camp.com/. Tandem flights are a major attraction here and every day the sky is dotted with kites. One of the local pilots here (Babu Sunuar) even flew off of Mount Everest on May 21, 2011 together with a Sherpa! He flew 20 kilometers to Namche Bazaar, and became the first paraglider, flying from Everest. 

Stupa in Tibetan refugee settlement 

Fewa Tal and Pokhara

We managed to make a two-days trek to Dampus towards Annapurna, but again, the weather didn't allow us to glimpse the peaks. Every day it rained plenty, and the rest of the time it was humid, suffocating heat. Along the way we came to a village wedding, or rather one day of a wedding when the bride is not invited, and the groom is alone. On the way back we tried hitch-hiking for the first time here (with left hand!), but there are not much private vehicles and finally we took a bus for several kilometers. Here, if you buy a car you must pay 300% tax on the value of the car! The government does not encourage private cars due to lack of infrastructure. Furthermore, petrol often completely disappears for days or weeks because of strikes or other crises. All this makes hitch-hiking here too difficult and slow and almost useless compared to the cheap buses. 
In Pokhara we met all kinds of people. Some live here for six months, others just travel, but for all of them it was hard to leave. The 'last night' turned into weeks and until our visa expired. On the last day of the visa we took a bus to India. We said goodbye to the beautiful and hospitable Nepal with the promise that we will be back again!