9th April 2016 – Kathmandu, Nepal
Ilze: We decided to move out of our couch-surfer house. Another difficult situation to handle. When we arrived to Kathmandu, our host picked us up (it was agreed beforehand and we knew what would be the price and we prefer to support our host better than paying for a pre-paid taxi). As soon as we got into his car he started telling how nice and warm people in Nepal are, not like in India where they try to squeeze all the money from you. His second topic was the aim of couch-surfing, what it means for him. In the course of two days we got what it means for him. He tries to get money from the ones staying with him by different kind of means. After all, we did not say it directly to him, just moved to a hotel. And this is how we came back to the “backpackistan”. And I’m happy to see many other tourists for a change.
Luis: We left our couch-surfing home and checked-in on the Zen B&B in Thamel area. We could have stayed longer in the couch-surfing place but we did not like the attitude of the hosts. The host was not very honest with us regarding prices for transfers and car rental, and he was a bit pushy. That’s not how I see couch-surfing.
In the afternoon we basically relax and enjoyed the food and coffee of Thamel.
10th May 2016 – Kathmandu, Nepal
Ilze: In the beginning I said I won’t join for the birdwatching tour. But the city is so loud and polluted, that I changed my mind. And I was so happy to be in the nature. The guide was a very pleasant person, we had a nice time together with him. We returned back to the hotel only after 18.00.
Luis: Another great birdwatching day, this time with Shankar Ruraj, a great birdwatcher and guide. We went to Polchowki Hill in the south of Kathmandu, so close and yet much more pure, no pollution or loud noise. Pity was the weather that prevent us from seeing part of the Himalayan range from the top. Quite strong rain in the afternoon, reminding us that the monsoon season is coming.
11th May 2016 – Bus to Bardia…
Ilze: We woke up, had some breakfast, planned for the further trip and went to the bus. It seemed outrageous having to be on the way for some 16h, but what one can do. We took the deluxe bus and made fun of it. The most I hated was the TV and how loud it always had to be, so that people in the back could also hear. The bus also stopped too many times for a break for food and toilet. It stopped for the last time before 11.00pm and afterwards I tried to sleep. The bus crushed around midnight. The link to the story in details is below. But there are three main memories I have in mind: I stood in the lobby outside the emergency room where the treatment was done and I could observe everything including how the guy was being reanimated but then he died and he just put him out in the lobby without covering. When all was over at 4am, I had to go to toilet in the end of the dark corridor of the hospital. I heard a sound that seem to me like souls wailing and I had goosebumps. And I won’t forget the feeling of us being just left by everyone, seating on a bench outside the hospital, trying to understand where we are, where and how to go next. No one spoke any English. I cannot imagine what would I do if I was alone…
Luis: In the morning we visited Rajan from Earthbound Expeditions to arrange a trekking for us and seek out the Chinese Visa.
In the afternoon we took the bus to Bardia NP. The worst trip of my life, a nightmare coming true. You can read all the details here.
12th May 2016 – Lumbini, Nepal
Ilze: At 6.30am we arrived by taxi to the closest touristy place, the town of Lumbini. Some 40km from the place of hospital. We slept almost all day, woke up, talked about what had happened and slept again, and again. We both discovered more small scratches and pain here and there. In the evening I finally allowed myself to cry.
Luis: We spent almost all day in the guesthouse in Lumbini. We just wanted to rest. We were not ready for anything else.
13th May 2016 – Lumbini, Nepal
Ilze: After sleeping long hours we finally had some energy to do something. We rented bicycles to drive around. The place is green and peaceful. It really helped to recharge. I noticed that louder sounds make me freeze inside, though…
In general, I don’t like Nepal at all. I told it to Luis. He is not happy about it. Of course, I’ve not seen mountains yet, the main beauty of Nepal. But my feeling is that I want to get out of here as soon as possible.
Luis: We felt a bit better so we decided to rent bikes and visit the main attractions in Lumbini, which is the Birthplace of Buddha. A few other Buddhist (and not only) countries also built temples here. The whole place is very peaceful and quiet, which is exactly what we needed. Even the small village has a relaxed feel with many locals riding bicycles all around.
Around one of the temples, the World Peace Pagoda, is an important breeding site for the Sarus Crane, a very beautiful bird. It is actually the tallest standing bird, reaching around 1.80m. We went there before sunset and saw two of them, as well as a few more birds, 3 foxes and Nilgais, the largest antelope of Asia.
14th May 2016 – Bus to Pokhara, Nepal
Ilze: I know we have to take a bus in the early morning (no more night buses!). When I woke up I had stomach pain from stress. I was scared. We asked for the seats in bus closer to the end. Again, we had to spent 8h in a bus. And we both managed quite well.
Pokhara is a nice place, maybe the first one I like in Nepal. Quite relaxed, not that loud or polluted. The lakeside is beautiful and peaceful.
Luis: We had to get on a bus again. A strange feeling, anxiety higher than normal… But the trip to Pokhara was slow and without any incidents or scary moments, through beautiful valleys. Nepal is such a beautiful country, I don’t want to leave it with just bitter feelings.
Pokhara is a very nice and chilled-out town, perfect for our needed rest. It is not very hot either. Rest of the day we spent in Pokhara Eco Resort, out hotel for the next days.
15th May 2016 – Pokhara, Nepal
Ilze: Our hotel room is nice and cozy, we watched a movie, enjoyed rain and a cup of tea in the late afternoon. Nothing much, we are relaxing and recovering.
I realized that not only loud sudden sounds make me uncomfortable, but I cannot feel at ease in darkness or alone. Poor Luis, I have to always be with him. I hope that all these fears will fade away soon.
Luis: In the morning we went for a walk around the Phewa Lake. Pokhara and its lake is such a nice place: laid-back, beautiful, miles apart from the chaos of Kathmandu.
In the afternoon a storm of lightning and rain… streets became rivers… We went to our terrace and enjoyed a cup of tea and a muffin. At some point the sky opened over the lake, the rays of sun passing through the clouds… magical…