Cremation at the Hindu temple in Kathmandu.
Evening entertainment at our hotel in Kathmandu. We stayed at Dwarika's in Kathmandu. You should Google it. It was gorgeous and peaceful!
Hiking trail to base camp.
The beautiful Himalayan peaks! This isn't Mt. Everest, just a nearby mountain.
The grand mountain in the distance!
A closer look at Mt. Everest.
Fog over the Himalayas
We then started back to Kathmandu. We stopped over in Kathmandu for a few minutes and took the helicopter to Bharatpur, where our guide, Sanjay, awaited us to take us to the Chitwan National Forest to the Temple Tiger Lodge. It was about an hour and a half drive from Bharatpur, but very scenic. We drove through through the country in two different cars, and Sanjay rode in my car. He told us the most fascinating stories. (Here's my plug for Sanjay, if you go to Nepal you must get in touch with him and have him give you the tour of Nepal. He told me he could make it very affordable, around $1300 per person including hotel, meals, tours, entrance fees, and a couple of nights in Chitwan National Park. That would not include airfare. I have contact details if you are ever interested. He is a fabulous guide and extremely knowledgable.) Anyway back to some of the stories. . . as we went through the countryside, I noticed what looked like stacks of hay, Sanjay told me that those were storage areas for the grains. A farmer's status is based on the size of his silo, the bigger haystack, the greater the wealth. We asked him about snakes, and he told that there are king cobras in the forest and they can get up to 18 feet long. In the summer when they have babies, they will stand about 6 feet up to warn you to stay away. If you were to venture closer they would propel themselves with the other 12 feet of tail straight at you. Most victims are bit on the forehead. Their venom can kill a person in 80 seconds and an elephant in 5 minutes. They prey on other snakes. My skin was crawling. Then he proceeded to tell me about another snake (WARNING, this is not for the faint of heart or easily offended) that finds its way to the homes of pregnant women. In the summer, people sleep out on cots on their porch. This long, thin snake will supposedly wrap itself around the woman and according to Sanjay "suckle her breast". I told him that was the craziest thing I have EVER heard, EVER! He swore it was true, and that to ward off these snakes people will rub honey on the legs of the cots because it will peel the skin right off of them.Sanjay also told me about the Tharu people who live in the communities we drove through. Long, long ago it is believed that the wives and male servants were sent to what is now Nepal, from Rajasthan(sp?) while the husbands stayed and gave their lives in battle fighting the Moghuls (Muslim invaders). The wives married the male servants, but to show they were superior, when they would serve the men their food, they would push it across the floor with their feet. This continues to be a tradition in the Tharu homes.
As we drove through the countryside the people looked so happy and content with their way of life. A very different feel from India, although there are some of the same social problems. The children would chase us and wave at us as if they were as interested in us as we were in them. We got to the place where there was a large congregation of people in uniform. It was a training camp for young adults who were going to work in the park. We walked down to the banks of the river, Narayani, where our canoes were waiting to take us across. The young trainees were so excited taking pictures of us and waving goodbye at us.
When we arrived at the other side of the river, safari jeeps were waiting to take us to the lodge. A hut sat on the other side of the river where several park employees greeted us. We saw a crocodile on the way!
Not so good picture of the croc.
Tiger paw print
When we got back to the lodge we ate dinner and retired early. Since we were in the jungle, everything was wet. Our towels weren't completely dry, nor the sheets. However as tired as I was from the very long and exciting day, I settled in for a long night's sleep in my damp bed.
On Saturday, I opted out of the early morning safari since the brush we went through sent me into a coughing fit the previous day. I also figured that no one else would see anything with me hacking along the way. As it was, they all came back telling me they saw four tigers. It reminded me of the time my friend, Nikki, and I and company went to a Chicago Cubs game. I went to the concession stand for everyone else and wound up missing Sammy Sosa hit a home run. It is just my luck. I thought earlier that morning as sure as I don't go they will see tiger, and such was the case. They were all so excited and I got to see the pictures upon their return.
We started back for our return to Kathmandu after that safari. We got in our canoe to cross back over the river and there were several people out along the river. A group of several people were having a picnic. They had just killed 4 chickens and were de-feathering them. When they saw us coming they waved at us and held their chickens up while we frantically took pictures. Then we came upon three young girls wading in the river, as well as a young mother and her three children. The people were so warm and welcoming.
Saturday night we went to the Krishnarpan restaurant for a 12 course Nepalese meal. I only made it through 8 because I still have not been able to shake the cold I acquired in Dubai. Then with my allergies acting up, I was not feeling 100%.
Sunday I went with Sanjay to the town of Patan, where we toured another palace square. There was a Buddhist temple located in the center which was gold plated. A young boy was serving as the priest. According to Sanjay, 5,000 families are in the priestly order and a boy 12 years and younger will serve as priest for one month. The little boy in the picture is the priest. All along the temple floor were food offerings to Buddah. I noticed the pigeons were eating the food offerings and asked Sanjay how the people felt about it. He said people were glad for it to feed the animals. If you have ever been where there are pigeons, you are well aware of what pests they are. I thought if I were those people, I would be disgusted that the birds were eating my offering, especially pigeons!
Later that day we caught a very late flight from Kathmandu to Delhi, and then missed our connecting flight to Mumbai (Bombay). We didn't get in to Mumbai until late last night. As we drove to our hotel, I didn't have the sad feeling I had in Delhi. I am anxious to see what Mumbai has in store. Our hotel room looks out over the ocean. So in the last four days I have been to the Himalayas, the jungle, and now the Arabic Sea. It certainly has been an exciting four days!