Thursday, August 2, 2007

more updates and some overdue pictures...

Entering the Manang district (just before Tal): Mt. Manaslu in the background:
On the way to Thorong Phedi:
On the way to Thorong La Pass:
View from our hotel in Ranipauwa (night after completing the pass):

sorry for the long breaks between posts. I've become lazy about the blog lately.

After getting to Pokhara on the 22nd, we pretty much just chilled for 5 days. we tried to sleep past 530 every morning (that's the time we were getting up roughly during our trek), but didn't always have success. We mostly ate healthy amounts of food we couldn't find during the trek, and read.

After leaving Pokhara, we took a bus to Royal Chitwan National Park, which is close to the border with India. We stayed at a place called Island Jungle Resort, and so obviously we had to take a boat to get there. About an hour after we got there, we went for an elephant ride through the jungle. It was pretty cool at first, but wasn't the most comfortable. We sat on these platforms that sat on top of the elephant's backs, and there were 4 people on each platform. On that first safari, we saw spotted deer and a couple rhinos. We went on three elephant safaris all together, each one lasting about an hour and a half. We didn't see any tigers unfortunately, but saw 5 rhinos. We also went for a guided walk through the jungle, which was really muddy, but a lot of fun. more so than riding on the elephants I think. Although, I was worried about getting leaches on me the whole time, and Tara was worried about getting attacked by a rhino or a sloth bear. Neither happened. Our guide spotted a wild bore, a barking deer (it barks like a dog) and a monkey in the trees. I didn't actually see any of these animals, only heard them. Later that afternoon was elephant bath time! It was exactly like in the Flintstones where I was showering and the elephant sprayed water on me with it's trunk... ok not really, but it was a lot of fun. I walked out into the river where they were already swimming and jumped onto the back of one of them. It sprayed me a bunch of time with it's trunk and then walked around and periodically sat down in the water. After 10 minutes it rolled over and I got off. We stayed there for 2 nights and not quite three days (because of travel time). The only real issue we had was the treatment of the elephants. The guides would sometimes hit them really hard to get them to move along the trail, with steel rods. Our elephant's head was bleeding in a couple places. We would all cringe whenever the guide decided it was time for a smack.

After spending a night back in Kathmandu, we took a taxi out to the Gokarna Forest Golf Resort and Spa for some spoiling. The hotel there is a Le Meridien. Because it's the off season we were able to get a good price for the room, and stayed for 2 nights. We each got a massage at the spa and I played a round of golf. The course is the best one in Nepal (they have 11) and one of the best in south Asia apparently. I didn't shoot very well, so I won't tell you my score. Let's just say Paul would be happy about it, but not many others would be. The crown prince of Nepal was in the group behind me. I saw monkeys all over the course too and at one point a troop of about 50 scrambled down the fairway next to me and I had to wait for them to pass. And getting a caddy was mandatory, so I played for the first time with someone carrying my bag and suggesting which club I should use. It made the round a lot less tiring, not carrying my bag, but it didn't make it any easier. Here is the website of the course and hotel:

And now we are back in Kathmandu, just killing time before our trip to Tibet, which leaves tomorrow morning.