Archive for May, 2007

7 Days: Onwards and Upwards

Forever playing catch-up, here are 7 more daysin images. A dirty drunken boat ride, a new toy and a departure for Nepal (including the new top-bar for this blog!):
Junkies (p365 114)
Meet Holga (p365 115)
Warmth (p365 116)
Himalayan Panorama (p365 117)
Mortality (p365 118)
The Boudhanath (p365 119)
Swing! (p365 120)

– Joe

Day 4: Boudhanath Eyes

After a day of temple trekking it was time for a nice meal and our first Nepali drinking session. We ate at a cosy restaurant called Helena’s in central Thamel (as found in the Lonely Planet) and hit a few bars around the area for drinks. We saw some great live music at Tounges and Tales (not far from Helenas) and enjoyed some questionable cocktails down at Full Moon bar. Both bars are nice Thamel style hangouts where you can kick off your shoes, find a nice corner on the floor and chat to whoever you like without feeling like a weird drunkard. Unfotunately the cosy atmosphere got the better of us and it wasn’t until gone 3am that we decided we should get some sleep. Consequently, we woke up a little later than planned and feeling a little worse than we had hoped, and after a morning of self pity we decided to head to the Buddhist area of Kathmandu with the intention of eventually visiting the Boudhanath.

Located at the heart of the Buddhist district, the Boudhanath is one of the holiest buddhist temples in Kathmandu and houses the highest stupa in the city/the world. The golden stupas’ giant eyes watch down as pilgrims work their clockwise route around the base. The pace of life here is slower than the rest of Kathmandu’s bustling lanes and hectic streets and comes as a welcome break from Thamel. We spent the afternoon browsing the shops, drinking tea and taking some photographs.
Boudhanath Eyes
Fields of Flame
Prayer Wheel

The smell of smouldering yak butter in the air was making us hungry so we set off back to Thamel as the sun set on a day which could have held so much more.

7 Days: Project 365 Update

I have been away for a while but I will try to get my 365 blogging up to date starting with 7 days prior to my departure. Another goodbye to Goldie, some organisation and some dirty partying. More Nepali pictures to come soon, many are already up on My Flickr:
Visionary (p365 107)
Me on Explore (p365 108)
Tuna Steak (p365 109)
Welcoming Committee (p365 110)
Water Margin (p365 111)
Signed, Stamped and Confirmed (p365 112)
Glamour Girls (p365 113)

– Joe

Day 3: Monkeys and Burning Bodies.

After our plans for yesterday afternoon were dashed by the hail we woke up to a stunning Nepalese morning. Having planned to visit the Swayambunath stupa the previous day before the storm, we thought it best to start off there and have a day of visiting Kathmandu’s famous temples.

In addition to being one of the oldest and holiest Buddhist temples in Nepal the Swayambunath is inhabited by large numbers of Rhesus Macaques, and is otherwise known simply as the Monkey temple.

Swayambunath Steps
Face
No Photos
Balance
Study

Afterwards we headed off to the other side of town and the Pashupatinath. The Pashupatinath is the oldest and holiest Hindu temple in Nepal and along the banks of the river bodies are cremated day throughout the day. Children laugh and play cricket, or hassle the cows, and the adults busily go about preperations as the shrouded, deflated corpses lay in the open waiting for their moment. A surreal atmosphere.
Mortality
Cremation
Prepared

My love affair with Nepal deeped later in the day as we went out for a delicious (if basic) Nepalese meal and decided to check out the party scene in the Thamel.

It’s good.

Photoblogging Nepal: Day 1 & 2

By the time we had settled in, unpacked, eaten and poked around the general hotel area it was already getting late. We decided the best course of action would be to poke our heads into a few travel agencies and organise our transport from Kathmandu to Lhasa. The overland trips along this route are advertised literally everywhere around Thamel and it is almost impossible to NOT find a tour you can join. Prices vary, so be sure to shop around. We managed to organise our tour as well as our trip to Chitwan National park fairly swiftly. We also got sold on the idea of a Himalayan mountain flight leaving the next morning at 6.30am. We spent the rest of the day dodging bicycle rickshaws, hash salesmen and beggars through clouds of inscense, soaking up Thamel’s unique atmosphere. We barely took any photographs, and certainly none that could summarise the atmosphere of a night in Kathmandu.

The Next morning we were up bright and early for the Mountain Flight. It dawned on me I was actually about to see Mount Everest with my own eyes for the first time, something I had dreamed about since I was a kid. Fortunately, this revelation helped draw my attention away from the fear induced by our tiny aircraft rocking and rolling it’s way off the runway. Once we hit cruising altitude and my legs stopped shaking I couldn’t wait. It was a clear day, the Himalayas were typically enormous and the photographs say more than I could ever describe.

Himalayan Panorama (p365 117)
The view from the cockpit of our Buddha air mountain flight.
Everest from Above
Mount Everest
Cho-Oyo
Cho Oyo

In the afternoon we took a rickshaw down to the surreal world of Durbar square.
ProtectorBabaMask

Then came one of the most hectic hail storms I have ever encountered…

I was already in love with Nepal.

A Triumphant Return

Well, despite the lack of fanfare, welcoming committee and parade I am back, and fairly happy to be so.  As soon as I finish indulging myself in the the joys of showering, sleeping on a matress and eating something other than lentils, I may get around to a wee bit of photo-blogging.  There are thousands which need sorting through so I will probably just work through the trip day by day with a wee account of what went on and perhaps some useful contact details if you ever find yourself in Nepal or Tibet any time soon.

Right now, though, I am going to eat a steak (Cow, not Yak).

Stay Tuned.

Joe

P.S. IT WAS AMAZING!