As promised, here are a slew of pictures  that I was unable to post from Nepal’ s internet system.   Yes, I am home and this will bring you up to date with the blog on the final days of my Nepal Adventure.

Enjoy!

1. My scenic daily walk to the monastery

Bishnumatie River
The Bishnumati River. Almost anything is dumped in this river waiting for the monsoons to wash it away. The smell is indescribable.

55 perpenticular stairs

Two rest stops the first week, one rest stop the second week, no rest stop the third week and by the end of 6 weeks I skipped to the top with my thighs of thunder!

Another rest stop on a dusty day
Climbing, always climbing. Another rest stop on a dusty day.

Construction the Nepali way

Construction the Nepali way

The old fashioned cement mixer is used and the mix is carried by women up to the top floor in bamboo, cone-shaped baskets carried on their backs with it strapped to their foreheads. And I complain about walking in heat, humidity and smells! Shame.

My Kathmandu home

My Kathmandu home

The frontage of most businesses is 10 feet and this is my hotel.

2. The Climb to Jamicho

Our guide 'Ganesh"

Our guide 'Ganesh"

Ganesh tool great care of me, called me ‘Mother’, carried my water bottle, camera and on the last part of the climb carried my backpack. Much further and he would have been carrying me!

Charmaine sharing 'lollies'

Charmaine sharing 'lollies'

Aussie Charmaine treats the local kids on our climb.

Rachel, Charmaine and Lag-along-Lynn

Rachel, Charmaine and Lag-along-Lynn

It might not look steep, but we are holding each other up!

Among the prayer flags at the top of Jamicho

Among the prayer flags at the top of Jamicho

Conquerors of Jamicho

Conquerors of Jamicho

Back on somewhat level ground 3000 feet below summit.

3. Himilayan Buddhist Meditation Centre, Kathmandu

Peaceful room

Peaceful room





In the garden at Meditation Centre

In the garden at Meditation Centre

Venerable Lobsang Sherab

Venerable Lobsang Sherab

4. Adventures in Pokhara

World Peace Pagoda in Pokhara

World Peace Pagoda in Pokhara

Senora Spider-Mama the size of my hairbrush!

Senora Spider-Mama the size of my hairbrush!

Braving the Batcave

Braving the Batcave

Overlooking Pokhara from Sarangkot

Overlooking Pokhara from Sarangkot

Irish Peter, me, English Chris at Peace Pagoda

Irish Peter, me, English Chris at Peace PagodaPokhara view from Sanangkot. What I won't do for a photo!

Pokhara view from Sanangkot. What I won't fo for a photo!

Pokhara view from Sanangkot. What I won't do for a photo!

Run down a person..15 yrs in jail. Run down a water buffalo..25 yrs in jail!

Run down a person..15 yrs in jail. Run down a water buffalo..25 yrs in jail!

Another cave I conquered!  Pre-monsoon river which will fill cave completely in a couple of  months

Another cave I conquered! Pre-monsoon river which will fill cave completely in a couple of months

Toddler's Namaste.,  soooooo cute!

Toddler's Namaste., soooooo cute!

Temple on island in the lake at Pokhara

Temple on island in the lake at Pokhara

Nepal Army P.T.

Nepal Army P.T.

5. Saying Goodbye
Lynn's farewell dinner with fellow volunteers

Lynn's farewell dinner with fellow volunteers

Denmark Chris- There's no end to the talent in this inernational group

Denmark Chris- There's no end to the talent in this inernational group

Farewell balloon party

Farewell balloon party

Some of 'My Kids'

Some of 'My Kids'

My little Monklette class

My little Monklette class

My 'bigger' monk class

My 'bigger' monk class

So hard to say goodbye.  Choaked up before I could get a word out

So hard to say goodbye. Choked up before I could get a word out

Me, Atma and Suresh who fell in love with her

Me, Atma and Suresh who fell in love with her

Me with Tensin Lama after presentaion of White Scarf

Me with Tensin Lama after presentaion of White Scarf

Next blog will be my last NEPAL ADVENTURE post and will continue the story of Atma, my little rescue dog
Cheerio!
Lynn

 A Greyhound bus trip it’s not, but an adventurous experience it is.

It takes 25 minutes to fly from Kathmandu to Pokhara. The bus trip takes 8 to 10 hours. Now about the ‘bus’. On the advice of our guide, Ganesh, we chose the micro bus rather than the regular public bus because the micro bus has seating for about 15 persons and takes a couple of hours less to reach destination.

 

We taxied to the area where the buses congregate and what meets our eyes is a very noisy, hap-hazard tangle of taxis, micro buses, large buses, hollering people, street sellers and what appears to be mass confusion. Our taxi motors slowly among the mess looking for a micro bus that is going to Pokhara. There is no way to know until you ask or hear someone hollering ‘Pokhara!’

 

At last we locate one, pay the fee, and Ganesh puts me in the window seat behind the driver (he knows my tendency to claustrophobic fits in crowds and tight places). Now we wait, and wait, and wait. It’s well past departure time, but it seems we don’t leave until every seat is full.

 

We finally do go…….about 50 feet….and pull over. Driver hops out and starts yelling “Pokhara!”

Through my open window flies a fist holding a bottle of water, then another with some kind of supposedly edible ‘thing’ followed by a third with a newspaper, etc. etc. After a few minutes we finally get going…….another 50 feet. We pull over and the whole process starts all over again.

 

This running of the gauntlet continues even after the seats are all full. It is now an hour past departure time. And guess what? The driver finds another 4 people to squeeze into the bus! I am now squashed up against the side of the bus sitting sideways on one ‘cheek’. But my window is large and if I had to I could crawl out, so no panic yet.

 

FINALLY, we travel more than 50 feet and our hearts lurch with hope. Yes, we keep on going! Sort of. Winding our way out of the city is a crawling, stop and go, horn honking melee. We reach the road to Pokhara which is (halleluiah!) paved! After being in Kathmandu for a month, I suddenly realize something…..its left side driving in Nepal! The mess of traffic in Kath weaving all over the narrow streets in and around each other muddies that issue.

 

We actually have two drivers, one behind the wheel and one on the roof with the tarped luggage. Our upper driver bangs on the metal roof in what we assume is code to inform the inner driver of things like “I hear a truck coming around that blind curve.” Inner driver leans on the horn to announce our presence. In fact, all traffic hits the horn as it approaches every curve. I certainly hope drivers have to pass a hearing test!

 

On we go. It’s hot. My open window saves my sanity and I silently bless Ganesh. Air Conditioning??? Foreign language never translated. We wind around and we climb up and down and pass through small villages. In some we stop and pick up another passenger or two to flatten in a space large enough for a box of rice. Speaking of which, we now see rice paddies in the mountainside terraced fields. The landscape is truly beautiful.

 

In one of these villages we stop for lunch and I’m sure we must resemble the circus Volkswagon which expels several dozen clowns from its tiny interior. My numb ‘cheek’ begins to prickle into life again as I limp over to the outdoor table upon which I find several pots of completely unidentifiable (except for the flies) supposedly edible concoctions. Appetite now dead, I purchase a bottle of Coke which seems the safest choice and it is COLD!


 

Twenty minutes later, we do the clown trick in reverse, but the driver just sits with the motor running. Sweat runs in rivulets into my eyes (stings!), down my face, neck, etc and I’m hanging out the window gasping and praying for a breeze and I couldn’t care less what it smells like. Seems we are waiting for two passengers who have disappeared. Plenty of Nepali jabbering is going on between passengers and driver and finally we up and leave.

 

A half hour later a hand with a cell phone appears from above and into the driver’s window. Seems the Upper Driver is also in charge of communications. We pull over and a conversation ensues. Don’t have any idea what is being said, but the passengers are laughing and contributing their own opinions. Seems the two missing passengers finally showed up to catch the bus and found it gone. They had gone off down the road to eat elsewhere without telling the driver or asking how long they had to eat. And they wanted us to come back and get them! Hah! When water buffalo pas de deux!

 

Another half hour….another cell phone call….another pull over. This time the errant passengers want their belongings left at the next village. Ok, we can do that.

 

This roadway is very busy with trucks, buses, motorbikes, cars, etc. One sees insane driving antics, especially with the motorbikes upon which at least two people are riding. Driver must wear a helmet, but passengers don’t. There must be some logic in that somewhere, but it’s not apparent to me. The final 30K into Pokhara has us back to pothole navigation and is s-l-o-w going. The trip seems endless but we finally arrive in Pokhara three hours later than planned. Thoughts of flying back after the weekend are extremely tempting.

 

RETURN TRIP

 

Okay, now we are experienced. We know this game and we are prepared! Once again, Ganesh gets me into the window seat behind the driver. English Chris and I are on a bench seat that sits three people and we plant our butts squarely and vow not to move. In front of us, just behind the front seat, is a ledge upon which we can put our backpacks. There are several other passengers to load but for some reason this can’t be done without several minutes of Nepali chattering, everyone talking over everyone else and a modulated tone of voice is impossible. Sounds like everyone is yelling but aren’t upset.  Eventually we are loaded.

 

As we go along, we keep picking up more passengers until the bench seat for 3 with it’s ledge in front of us is now holding EIGHT people!!!! We have to alternate knees with the person facing us. English Chris says he had a strange man’s knee in his crotch most of the way home. But we did not give up a millimeter of our butt space! The others could sit on top of each other. This happens because the driver wants to make as much money per trip as possible and comfort of passengers can go hang.

 

Oh yes, and during both trips Nepali and Indian music blared from the radio all…the…waaaAAAYYY!

 

As if it couldn’t worsen, we found ourselves slowing down and stopping behind a line of traffic. And we sat….and we sat…and we sat. Eventually some traffic would come the other way but only about 5 vehicles at a time. We crept a few feet forward at a time at long intervals. One and a half hours later, we were through the cause of the slowed traffic.

 

Here’s one I doubt you will ever hear happening at home. It appears the day before a motorcyclist from this village was killed on the roadway by a hit and run. The villagers stopped traffic to collect money for his family. Now that’s very thoughtful and an hour and a half of our time was for a good cause. Until we learned that about one quarter of the collection actually goes to the family.

 

This time our quick supper was a Coke and a bag of chips for me and I learn that if the need is great enough I can actually use a reeking Asian toilet.

 

It is dark by the time we reach the outskirts of Kath and the roadway and streets are jammed with traffic trying to get in and also trying to get out of the city. We crept along stopping and starting for 2 more hours, either eating non-catalytic converter exhaust or closing the window and being poached. The entire return trip was 10 hours to travel about 200 km. Twice the time it is supposed to be. I forgot the Nepali mantra: Nothing is as it is supposed to be in Nepal!!!

 

Never, never, never, never again! In the extremely unlikely event that I find myself having to travel from Kathmandu to Pokhara, that 25 minute flight is the only way!

 

From a previous post you know what a superb experience Pokhara was for us. A lush, green little city nestled by a lake and surrounded by the majesty of the breathtaking Himalayas. Sigh!

 

Oh, give me a home

where the water buffalo roam

and the bats and the monkeys do play

Where seldom is heard

an English word

and the skies are

mountain-peaked all day.

 

Cheerio!

Lynn

 

 

 

 

 

As I walk to the monastery daily, I see many sights very foreign to my western eye, many of which I have shared with you earlier on this blog from Napal.  One such sight, which as you already know is so difficult for me, is the Street/Stray Dog population.

 

One day as I was returning from teaching, I glanced at a heap of garbage by the side of the street (one of many due to the garbage strike), and uttered a groaning gasp as I witnessed a small dog and one very different from the average street dog, desperately digging for any morsel of food.

 

She was missing ¾ of her fur and what was left was so filthy one could not be sure of the colour.  Her skin was rashed and wounded and it was obvious that she had had a litter of pups not too long ago.  The vast majority of street dogs are male due to the fact that females keep having litters when they are sick and malnourished and therefore die off more quickly.  I took this video of her.

 

The following day it was raining as I slogged my way to classes.  And there, in the same general area as the day before, stood this wee, soaking wet, shivering dog. Both days she looked at me with sad, helpless, confused, pleading brown eyes and my tears spilled.  She never left my heart or my head.

 

Later that day as I showered off the sweat (you still sweat even when it rains!), I had an epiphany.  I scare myself with those dang epiphanies!  The last one was when I said to myself, “I’d LOVE to go to Nepal and teach English to Buddhist monks!” This one said, “I HAVE to rescue that dog!”

 

And so the dye was cast.  I hardly slept that night what with worrying that I would not find her again.  I did not see her on the way to classes next day.  Coming back she was not in her usual area.  I began pleading really hard with the angels.  About a block later there she was!  I had already named her “Atma” and that was the first word the shot out of my mouth. 

 

Keeping one eye on her I ran to a shop and asked for a cardboard box and was emphatically turned down even when I explained in Pidgin English what I wanted it for.  Never daunted, I went next door and pleaded for a box.  This time I was rewarded by a kind hearted man.  I had brought food and placed it in the box as I sat on a step beside her and talked soothingly.  She let me stroke the top of her head with one finger as I watched a flea population the size of Kathmandu race over her bare body parts and thinly covered areas with what I now realized was white fur.

 

Now I’m thinking, if I try to pick her up and put her in the box she may bite me and the flea situation made me cringe.  There appeared Nepali angel.  A man of senior years managed to ask me, through sign language and unintelligible words, if I wanted the dog in the box.  When I finally understood and vigorously nodded my head he just picked her up and put her in the box!  Nothing to it.  Better him than me.  We closed the flaps and one would have thought we had captured the Tazmanian Devil!  We needed rope…fast!  He skittered off, came back with some plastic twine and with much grunting and dexterity we managed to finally tie the flaps in place and looked at each other with big grins.

 

By now we had quite an audience and I managed to make it known that I was going to take her to an animal hospital.  Someone hailed a taxi for me and with plenty of jabbering between bystanders and driver, he managed to understand where I wanted to go.  We struck a deal on the cab fare and off we went. 

 

This animal hospital could only give me prescriptions for what she needed and I was to take her home and administer them.  I’m looking at the flea colony and shaking my head adamantly.  Seems they had no facilities for keeping her there.  And by now she’s figured out the box flip lid equation and this little head keeps popping out with a body desperately wanting to follow.  I could only stop this by dumping a bundle of newspapers on top of the box and leaning on them.

 

I was given an address of another, this time ‘private’ clinic, and yet again a cab was hailed for me, I make a deal for the fare once more and we are off across the city for a second time. I wonder if the first clinic ever missed that new bundle of newspapers?

 

The potholes and broken pavement make for a rough ride with me desperately hanging on to a slipping newspaper pile. The appearance now and then of a frightened eyeball through a space between the flaps tells me I’m not too successful.

 

We arrive at the Animal Hospital & Research Centre of Kathmandu where I juggle a wiggling box and rapidly flying newspapers into the reception area and gratefully plunk down gasping with effort.  The popping head emerges once more from the box placed on the floor and the whole thing strikes me hysterically funny whereupon I simply have to video Atma’s Jack-in-the-box antics with her defiantly rumpled appearance, box, newspapers et al.

 

This time the exam by a vet trained in the Netherlands, shows that her skin problem and resultant lack of fur is a dermatitis produced by the fleas easily cleared up with medication.  When I tell him I am in a hotel, he orders a flea and tick bath to do away with that problem, she has two shots to prevent any flea return, do away with any worms, heal her skin and help with the need to scratch.  Spaying and vaccinations can be done ten days later if her health is good.

 

I’m given a ‘clean’ box which she vigorous fights and we end up in the cab going home as a team of thoroughly disheveled woman and triumphant dog, head free of the box.  We struck a deal, but she thought she had won.

 

Why the name ‘Atma’?  It is the Nepali word for spirit/heart/soul and she is all of that and more.

 

There will be much more on Atma because I am bringing her home, but know that I will be looking for a Canadian Forever Home for her.  I never, ever want to take the chance that she will end up on the streets of Nepal again.

 

I will be accepting applications, interviewing her prospective parents and inspecting her prospective homes!  Yah, I know she is not a human child, but after what she has been through I want a guarantee that she will have a of life of excessive spoiling and endless love.  I’ve had her for a week and she is a very special little spirit!

Signing off and Cherrio!

Lynn

  Our adventure to Pokhara is really two stories, one for the trip there and back and the second for the time spent there. Let’s start with the time there.

As I am still challenged by posting pictures to this blog, I am saving them up until I get back home and will then post lots all at once!  So we will have to be content with videos for now.  I’m so happy we got those up!

The change from Kathmandu to Pokhara is as if they aren’t even in the same country. Pokhara is lush, green, cleaner, wider streets (however, they still have pot holes which I am sure saves time and money in building speed bumps), and the local people seem more relaxed and happier.

 

Again, Ganesh was our guide and our group was made up of myself, Irish Peter and English Chris who traveled over by bus for the three day jaunt. The Aussies, Charmaine and Rachel who were on a tighter schedule, came by air for the second day and returned later that day to Kath.

 

Our first mission was to check into our hotel, the Traveler’s Guest House, where I had a welcoming committee! La Cock-a-Roacha foursome were performing while Senora Spider-mama, the size of Asia, kept time with all eight legs. Needless to say, I came back down all three flights of stairs at the speed of light stuttering, “S-s-s-s-s-p-p-pi-pi-d-d-er!!!” while making large circular motions with one arm and stuffing my eyeballs back in their sockets with the other.

 

 

 

Ganesh and a hotel employee came to the rescue with a can of spray and a taking apart of the bed: mattress, bedding and mattress board, to find them all in various hiding places. Thorough searching and many assurances later, I was told the place was ‘clean’. I couldn’t help but notice the one-inch gap under the door through which a platoon of spiders and roaches could march. Therefore I rolled up a welcome mat and stuffed it as tightly as possible against the offending ‘bug-door’.

 

Off we went to the Peace Pagoda before it got dark. Nepal has only two directions:

UP…and…DOWN! We taxied as far up as the road goes and then…yup, more perpendicular stairs, sweat, bursting lungs and a heartbeat to outrace Bobby Unser. I tell you, I’m coming home with Thunder Thighs!

 

 

The World Peace Pagoda was built by an English woman as a Buddhist monument to promoting its namesake. Without a word of a lie, we all felt an ‘energy’ about the place that was indeed peaceful and as we stood and looked down on the beauty of the lake, valley and city of Pokhara. One could just breathe the environment and feel more fulfilled.

 

Back in the hotel for the night, I glanced balefully at the door gap and went about finding anything I could use to stuff it full. That done there was nothing for it but to get into a bed that I first stripped searched and turn out the light. Within 5 minutes something brushed my arm and I let out a shriek and dove for the light. Hmmm, it was just the curtain moving in a slight, very refreshing breeze. Wishing I had duct tape for my mouth, finally slept.

 

Next morn, Ganesh picked up Char and Rach at the airport and the six of us went on a whirlwind of activity so they could see as much as possible in their few hours. First, the bat cave. Dang, couldn’t find the Batmobile or its driver, but did see one bat for sure and named it Robin. Those of you who know me well, also know that I am claustrophobic. I expect a huuuuge round of applause for I conquered that fear and went into that cave!! It helped that there were no tight spaces getting into the large cavern. We carried lamps but their beams did not reach very well to the ceiling, so many bats were figments of our imagination, I’m sure.

 

Next stop, Devi Falls, named thusly for a Swiss woman, who while swimming with her husband, was washed away by a flash flood some years back.

Incredible pictures are to come later of this strange phenomenaof the river when in flood and when almost dry.

 

At this time of year, the water is at it’s lowest just before Monsoon season and that allowed us to once again go underground into an area that is filled with water after the rains. Ganesh is so gracious with his clients. He carried my camera and my water bottle more than I did as I groped around in the semi-dark among the rocks, steps, water etc. to reach the centre. He sweetly calls me ‘mother’ or ‘mum’ and makes certain that I am safe at all times. He really earns his money while bargaining for taxi rates, etc. and without him we would be spending much more money!

 

Then we cab it again to the Mountaineering Museum. What a great place! And the most modern building I’ve so far seen in Nepal. They are very proud of their mountains and the history around them.

 

 

Now we drop the Aussie gals at the airport and the rest of us are free to do some serious shopping, wandering, lunching etc. until supper time.

 

 

Pokhara is hotter and more humid than Kath due to a lower altitude and more rainfall. That rainfall made our last day a bit disappointing in that we planned a climb (grrroan!) up to Sarangkot in order to see the Himalayas at sunrise. The clouds only rose enough that we could see just above the snow line so no spectacular pictures that morning. Again, we turned ourselves into optimists and found great value in the experience anyway. Peter and Chris had booked paragliding following the sunrise we didn’t see and that also had to be cancelled due to weather.

 

Instead, we took a boat and paddled out to a temple on an island in the lake. Very picturesque and photos look really good in a light rain. So did a group of about 25 men of the Nepali army on a physical training exercise in and out of the water!

Next blog I will entertain you with the ‘ride’ to and from Pokhara!! Never, never again!!

’till next time, Cherrio!  Lynn

N