A Travellerspoint blog

Nepal

Chitwan

rain 20 °C

We decided to go to Chitwan with Bishwa older brother and his wife and child who befriended Teo and Hayden when we went to Pokhara... As usual mummy decided to go there with a bus to see the scenery and come back with a plane ...
Our journey was very very very long and we did not even get proper seats so I regretted my decision a tat too late ... But we were quite entertained to see goats on the bus!!!!
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Once we arrived, Sargan, Laxmi and Sargan junior were there waiting for us at the Jungle Sunset Camp... We had a quick lunch and went to the museum whihc was very interesting as it explained how the Reserve was created and how it functions.... There is a buffer zone where locals can cut grass only 10 days a year now in order to preserve the wildlife. It showed the law that applies for poachers and explained the species we can find in the park. We then went to the elephant breeding center. This was kind of disappointing in the sense that all elephants but the babies were chained to a pole. We saw the only elephant twins in the world (5 years old now)... and also the cuttest baby ever... There was a man making food for the elephants, a mixture of rice, molasses and grass... Both Hayden and Teo had a go at helping make the food and fed the elephants which was nice. We had a tour of the premises and again that was very interesting as we saw where they prepared the molasses .. it was a big big fire and a massive pot where the molasses are melted and it smelts soooooo goood.... We then saw the staff in charge of making the feeds and that was their full time job... so hard and so tiring staying sat down for hours ...
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After the visit we went back via the river and saw the 2 types of crocodiles there is in Chitwan, the Gharial and the Marsh Mugger. The Gharial has a long thin beak and only eats fish, the Marsh mugger has a much wider mouth and is a man eater... We also saw a river snake.... After diner we went to a dance show which aimed to share the different dances performed by the locals throughout the year and we even got to go on stage...In fact it was Hayden who really wanted to go on and dragged me on stage.... very funny... We met a badminton coach who lives in the USA and came to visit and I asked if he could come to visit the orphanage to show the children about badminton and also explain how he managed to go and live in the USA.
The next day we had an early start with a canoe trip along the river and again we were lucky as we saw a double horned rhino, a lot of kingfishers and other birds and again a lot of Gharials and Marsh Mugger... When we came back there was the elephants from the tours having a bath in the river and you could pay to get on top and be thrown in the water.. as the kids had just had a shower they decided not to do it and we left it for the next day ... Shame as we never made it the next day ....
We came back to the hotel and there was a TV crew shooting a documentary on the hotel so we managed to get interviewed, both me and Sargan senior.. I also chatted with the crew and asked if there was any possibilities to do a shoot at the Happy Home orphanage to promote the place on national TV. You would not believe it but the cameraman happened to live just round the corner from where the orphanage is so he promised to see what he could do ...
In the afternoon we did a elephant ride in the buffer zone and that was very interesting with lots of deers, monkeys, eagles and rhino. The rain started and we had forgotten our waterproof coats so we thought " well that will be fun, a true jungle experience"... Hummm we did nit bank on the rain not stopping for hours... by the time we got back to the elephant resting area we were wet throughout and all shivering .. so guess what we had a long hot shower when we got to the hotel. We had diner and tried to dry all our clothes on the railing but it rained all night. As everyone told me Chitwan is hot I had no change of trousers for the kids, one pair of shoes each .. total disaster in terms of clothing so the kids were in pijamas all day the following day!
We decided to stay one more day to see the Gharial breeding centre in the reserve itself. It was the occasion to go in the jungle and see the reserve.
So the next day we go in a jeep and drive for hours to the jungle. The TV crew decided to come with us so we had the cameraman and an actress with us. She wore high heels and you just thought ... "hum talking about appropriate clothing I think she was a little mad"... It is interesting as there is a guard post on both side of the river (demarcation line between the reserve and the buffer zone) manned by the army to deter poachers. We then need to walk for 30 minutes to the breeding centre. The breeding centre was fascinating as there were babies from 1 year old to 10 years old and the little ones were so cute... We could not hold them for obvious reasons.. Some had their beaks broken as they fight a lot (I realised that I was lucky with the level of fighting my 2 get up to!!!!). The guide we took went out of the centre and called us as there was a rhino just a few metres away ... we all followed him and the cameraman was mad trying to get so close that the rhino turned around to face us and I had a sudden fright for the kids life and I dragged them back as I was expecting the rhino to charge any minutes. We honestly saw him within 3 metres max... amazing!
We drove back for the 1.5 hours and Laxmi and Sargan junior and senior left to go and visit their relatives and we stayed in and watched daredevil (so cool my hero!)...
The next day we planned to fly back and were disappointed with the 3 hours delay which meant we only came back mid afternoon home... but it was great... Next time we will go in a lodge in the jungle and see if we can see the tiger and leopard!!!!

Posted by ealonso 23:28 Archived in Nepal Tagged chitwan gharials marsh_mugger jungle_sunset_camp Comments (0)

Boudhanath

... or the largest stupa in Nepal

sunny 21 °C

This week end I decided to go to Boudhanath to see the biggest stupa in Nepal. I did not book any accommodation as we were so busy at school so we just got there on Saturday night at about 4.... Hummm we walked for a while and visited a lot of guest houses which were full!!!! so we decided to see if we could find a hotel.. and guess what as I am always so lucky we found one 1 minute from the stupa in a quiet street and it had a kitchen so the kids were very very excited about cooking our own meal... As it was getting late we just went round the stupa once and tried to find some food for diner ... we chose pasta with tuna, some spinach and then we bought tea, sugar and biscuits.... We came home and cooked only to discover that we did not have any means to open the tuna tin so we had rather plain pasta ... but kids were excited to cook and we then washed up and watched How to train your dragon on DVD.
The city has fantastic architecture and a lot of crafts:
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The next day we got up early to a beautiful sunshine and went for breakfast in a great little eco caffe that served the most delicious cakes in the whole universe!!!!
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We then went for a nice long walk around the stupa first... People were throwing safran colored water to the dome to make it look nice and others were painting the white walls with white paint. If you want you can donate some money to get that done, or on some special days this is done as a maintenance...
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Then took a picture of the gate:
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We needed to buy some trainers for Hayden, socks for Teo, breakfast, a tin opener (of course) some eggs and some more vegetables for diner... We dropped our shopping back at the flat and went to see some of the monasteries in the city.... there are over 60 so we just selected a route and visited a few of them.... The kids took lots of pictures and some are amazingly decorated, with magnificent designs inside and outside, some vibrant colors and it is very pleasing to the eye... We saw how they make the candles with ghee and butter... and saw the most huge bell and wishing well ever...
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We entered a couple of monasteries and saw some kids playing some games, others burning their cardboards and other praying and playing their long horns... fascinating...
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The kids kept chasing the pigeons around!!!
We stopped for lunch in another amazing little place and carried on for another walk for a while.... then the kids got tired and we went for a cake in a little place and played games...
There were a lot of beggars in the streets but we saw some amazing characters and here are some of them...
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That night we had a giant carrot, peas, tuna and spinach pasta ... most delicious and we watched another movie...
The next day we took a taxi home and went to school....

Posted by ealonso 09:26 Archived in Nepal Tagged stupa boudhanat Comments (0)

Bhaktapur

Or the most beautiful city in the whole of Nepal

sunny 20 °C

At the week end we went to Bhaktapur a beautiful town 15 km from Khatmandu… the city is absolutely gorgeous, with paved streets, beautifully carved windows and doors… some awesome temples and houses… There is a lot of crafts shops especially wood carving, paper factory, metal carving and pottery… The place is heaving with craft shops, workshops and all is so colourful and vibrant it is really great…
We arrived at about 11 in the morning so we went straight to the main square … Durbar Square.. this is just beautiful .. temples everywhere, paved floor, golden carving, wood carving … an astonishing sight… The square was destroyed by an earthquake and the German have funded the reconstruction and I can see why… This place is magical and is now a protected site… You pay an entry fee to get into the city as it is clean and peaceful…
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We dropped our bags in the hotel and went for a walk around with the kids looking at all little alleyways and just wondering around this amazing city.. we had no camera so it was nice to just wonder around and not be too concerned about the perfect shot…
It was now harvest time so the many squares were busy with people fanning the rice.. It was funny to see some people using an electric fan to do so… The piles of rice were high and it gave the place a buoyant atmosphere with everyone at work….
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The pottery quarter was the most precious as you had all the potters around the square where the rice was being fanned… You also had a firing place where the potteries are placed on the floor in the hay and then fired for 3 days.. All the firing places were busy with dogs having a rest in an obviously very warm bed!
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Hayden wanted to learn to do some photos so we spent some time photographing that lady mending some bags… We then wondered off the tourist track and ended up in someone’s bag patio… Hayden being his chatty self, started talking with the lady and called me and Teo back as the family was one of the potters and the dad decided to do some pottery for us to the delight of the kids!!!! He gave the kids a little pot each where they put the wick and the wax to light the temples…
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As he was working on the turn I spoke with his daughter and chatting discovered that her sister is studying in London and lives in Isleworth.. so I decided to take some family portraits and said I would send them to the sister. It was funny to learn that they speak on skype every day from this very simple house in the back of a little narrow street… They were all very nice and the kids played with the little girl making magic potion with the ashes and broken pots…They invited us for tea but we were keen to get going so we declined their kind offer. They then asked for a photo of some of the neighbours and offered us a beautifully carved flower pot that we will treasure…
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The brother was a keen photographer so I invited him to join us on our photography tour of Bhaktapur…
So we headed off and went to a lot of different squares, next to the river where the cremations take place, and there are 2 cremation places, one for the newar and one for the rest of the people. We also ended up by chance in a paper factory which was a maze of wonders… Many rooms with many craftswomen working, a real museum of craftsmanship.. a little like the paper factory near Hemel.. Just amazing and wonderful to see… We spent 4 hours wandering about and took many pictures, here are some of them.
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Posted by ealonso 07:16 Archived in Nepal Tagged bhaktapur Comments (0)

Tihar Celebrations

Dog, Lights and Sisters & Brothers....

sunny 20 °C

Tihar house preparation
We woke up today to a house decorated with natural flower garlands, painting all over the floors and flowers in vases around the house. The house had been cleaned inside out and painted fresh and it looked beautiful..
Here are a couple of photos of the drawing that is made in front of all houses during that festival.
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Today is dog’s day so Tommy and Moose (the 2 guard dogs we have in the house) are given a collar made out of natural flowers … they are given some food to eat (bananas believe it or not!!!) and they get some tikka on their head. It was so funny to see and the colours are so beautiful and vibrant!
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Today is brother and sister's day when they give each other tikka..
The festival was interesting… all the boys sat in a line on the floor and the older girl broke a nut with a stone at the beginning of the ceremony… Then the older girls put tikka on the boys’head. There will be 7 colours on a white stripe… Then when all the boys are done, the girls sit on the floor and the boys also put tikka on their heads. As it was getting late the boys did a dot with the 7 colours on them…
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Once it was finished we all had the party food… some sweets, some dried fruits, some special bread, and some chicken stew that was yummy… I then put some movies on for the kids.

That evening we did a big fire in the playground and had some fireworks and drinks… We tried to put the music on but again the stereo failed us….

Posted by ealonso 06:39 Archived in Nepal Tagged happy_home tihar dog_day Comments (0)

Pokhara Lake Tour

Devi's fall, Cave and ice cream....

sunny 26 °C

As Saturday was holidays and we are leaving tomorrow for Khatmandu I decided to go with the family to Pokhara Lakeside and go on the boats…
We all set off on motorbikes, Teo and Hayden with Bishwa’s older brother, Bishwa’s younger brother with his wife and me with Bishwa older brother’s wife and child.
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We first went by my laundry place to wash the clothes and went round to the West side of the lake where we had not gone before. Unfortunately they did not have any peddle boats so we went back to where we had gone before and took a giant peddle boat. We set off to do the tour of the island on which a famous temple is in the middle of the lake.
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You need to circle by clockwise a temple and not anti closkwise so we nearly crashed with some other boats on the way… Once we passed the temple we went along the side of the lake and picked up some Javanese nuts to eat and also had some crisps and coca cola…. We watched the Para gliders above the lake and saw a few land… and then we headed for the shore… I then offered to go for ice cream in a nice Italian place we had gone to before with the kids… very nice place with low seats and some great homemade ice cream…
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Then they offered to show us the waterfalls and the cave so we went off again… The waterfalls have been named after a tourist who set off to explore the cave and never made it out… They are amazing even though they are not so big but the strata are very visible and impressive. What I thought was funny is that you have to pay for the entrance and then you can see further up some ladies doing their washing in the river that feeds the waterfall!!!
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The next visist is the cave which host a temple and a cow place?!... You go down some steps into the mouth of the cave and the humidity strikes you and you suddenly cannot breathe so easily… the walls are all dripping wet and the lighting is scare… The cow temple is just in front of you .. strange enough there is a statue of a cow next to a little temple… and you can put some money and make a prayer…
The cave goes further down into the earth and you end up at the bottom of the waterfalls… very very strange. We finally came home and I came back to Lakeside on a more than dodgy bike to pick up the washing.

Posted by ealonso 06:28 Archived in Nepal Tagged devi'sfall pokhara_cave Comments (0)

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