Friday, 21 October 2011

Trekking Rocks, Day One

Nayapul - Ulleri

This is how supplies get to the tea houses and lodges on the trek routes:

They are amazing - and very fast. Just make sure you stand on the uphill side of the path as you let them pass you...!

Our first tea house lunch. We quickly established the habit of pancakes for the smalls and egg veg noodle soup for Harv and I.

We reached Ulleri late afternoon, and had a little time to look around and meet the local animals. The littles were delighted to meet these very friendly goats and kids. Thom was keen to count them, 'Fourteen, sixteen, eighteen,' (same as when he counts anything at the moment....)


So, we caught a taxi for the 1 1/2 hour drive from Pokhara to Nayapul.

I can't tell you how many photos I have of this mountain. It's known as Fishtail in English. You can see why I got a bit obsessed with it? Here are snaps from the taxi:

And here is happy Thom. We hired three porters to help carry kidlets and our stuff. Thom started inauspiciously by refusing to let the porters carry him and only riding on my back, then graduated to agreeing to go on Den's back but only if holding my hand at the same time. Then finally moved on to thinking that Den was the best thing ever as he did such a great monkey impression...

And here is a clean river. This is a Big Deal when you live in Kathmandu and drive over the Bagmati a lot. The Bagmati is the most sacred river in Nepal, yet it is a fetid, stinking, black torrent or sludge (depending on the season), littered with plastic bags, general detritus and much, much worse. So this beautiful, rushing clarity made us feel a bit tearful.

In Thom's words: 'S'amazin! Wanna go there!'

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Ready, Steady, Go!

Before we came to live in the Du, we had a savings account which was always referred to as the Himalaya fun. We planned to bring the children for a Himalayan trek as soon as they were old enough and we had enough money.....our ideas about when this might be were pretty nebulous.... When we got here, a lot of that fund was spent on the naughty red car below. Car tax runs at 200% here: this basic (utterly) 1997 jeep cost more than twice what we got when we sold our fully MOT'd, air-conditioned, well-suspensioned, extremely comfortable, kids' car seat containing Vectra.
But we have nevertheless just got back from our first Proper Trek as a family - Nayapul - Ulleri - Ghorpani - Poon Hill - Ghandruk - Nayapul.

We spent a couple of days in Pokhara first.

And went paddling on and swimming in Phewa lake.

And sat around in restaurant gardens for a while, watching the crows watching us.

Ready to go!

Thursday, 6 October 2011


I really missed Autumn last year. It might be my favourite season - I like the cold, and when I was younger and didn't do commuting I used to love the dark nights. They always seemed so much more exciting. (I was a bit Fifteen and rather hung up on Lost Boys too...) Oh, and the smell of bonfires - I still miss a lovely woodfire smoke - I love the way it clings to your hair and clothes. I LOVE the way the fallen leaves are just THERE for you to collect, paint, glue glitter on to, make collages out of, spray with white paint to make frost,or just blu-tac to the kitchen cupboards. And I love the chill in the air and wrapping up in warm clothes. So, the ongoing heat last year felt very odd, and I was desperate for chillier weather - not the minus 13 for weeks at a time the UK endured last Winter - just the long-sleeves-long-jeans weather that makes your cheeks rosey.
This year it doesn't hurt quite so much. Maybe I have acclimatised a bit - I am sitting typing this in long yoga trousers and a hoodie - and I had a good dose of chilly in the UK for almost all of June. I also know how cold it's going to get here at night, during the Winter months.
We spent most of the day by the pool again - it was HOT while the sun shone, and I have to say I enjoyed it. There were clouds by about three, but the mugginess of monsoon seems to be gone. (Cue the start of ridiculous load-shedding / power cuts / whatever you know them as.) But really, Nepal just doesn't 'do' Autumn. And I miss it. I miss my lovely Autumn season table - it just doesn't seem right setting up a UK inspired autumn season table here. But I might dig out the toadstools and make a new one - there is fungus here......
Anyway, we're going to be positive and look for interesting things.... And here they are:

Not related as far as I know.

The caterpillar was huge - adult finger sized! I tried to look it up online but didn't find anything - goodness knows what it'll turn into. I suspect we'll never know as Rudra-dai, our guard, made me chuck it over the fence so that it didn't eat half of the garden.
The moth was less spectacular, but Eve was entranced - it was bigger than it looks in the picture, and she was taken by its bat-like wings.

So, we don't get the crispy autumn mornings, the beautiful turning leaves, the scent of woodsmoke, but we do get Interesting Critters. I guess that'll do us for now.....