Nepal – Dhanpush in a Day Pt.4

Pokhara, Nepal, February 2017: All is pretty quiet here in Dhanpush – on the cusp of the trekking season and not much appears to be going on. a small shop has no shopkeeper while the local abortion clinic equally looks rather depleted of human activity. There is however a collection of ramshackle structures offering food, albeit limited. The famous Nepali Dhal Bhat is unavailable for 1 person, but I can have an omelet, 2 eggs and veg in its culinary construction – will I get a Jamie Oliver special?

So, while the cook is rustling up my omelet, here are a few images to look over.

Well, that omelet didn’t have the Jamie Oliver touch and grossly overpriced. Infact everything around here seems overpriced if your skin colour is white! Just a little up the dirt track is a couple of jeeps awaiting passengers – 300 Rupees for a ride down, locals pay 60. No thanks, I’ll walk down and the chap smiles unashamedly. And so its time to leave Dhanpush and make my way to Pokhara. Any further and I’ll run into the permit checkpoint – it’s around $40 if you want to take the 7-10 day hike towards the mountains, permits purchased in Pokhara.

Down then, just follow the jeep track which after about 50 minutes intersects the original path I came up on – good, no chance of getting lost now!

And to conclude Dhanpush in a Day, here are some of the images heading down towards Phedi and the bus back to Pokhara. A last look back at the mountains before cloud-out, some wildlife spotting and the afternoon sun showing up the splendour of the terraced fields and valleys. So, I hope you enjoyed Dhanpush as much as I did!

 

 

 

Nepal – Annapurna Avalanche Warning!

Pokhara, Nepal, March 2017: Recent days has seen a cold snap extend across Nepal from the Northwest accompanied by significant snow falls. Reports from trekkers heading down into Pokhara suggest parts of the Annapurna circuit are knee deep in snow. Additionally, the BBC mentioned the risk of avalanches across the Western Himalayan region!

If you plan on Annapurna trekking between now and End of April, better make sure your guide is of some repute! Organised treks of course will know and assess the avalanche risk.

Here’s a few shots of comparisons:

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Not much snow a few weeks ago, February 2017

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Plenty of Snow, March 10th 2017

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Oh, where’s the show, February 2017

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Here’s the snow, March 10th 2017

Nepal – Dhanpush in a Day Pt.3

Pokhara, Nepal, February 2017:

Dhanpush at last!

Actually, the hike wasn’t as traumatic as others I have undertaken. The hike to Sarangkot for example was a 3 hour mammoth effort and mostly in thick forest. This hike by contrast is only 1 and 1/2 hours passing through scenic rural spots. Now though, here we are in Dhanpush and immediately one feels a sense of tranquility – no people, no traffic, no pollution, clear blue sky and of course a view to behold, the Annapurna mountain range.The village is pretty, quaint even. All is quiet as the mid morning sunshine reflects on the stone and slate houses alongside cobbled paths. Well, I’ll let the following set of photo’s speak for themselves…. .

Dhanpush is situated on a ridge fronting the Annapurna mountains. A little misty towards the sun at the ranges Eastern end, but where the sun reflects on the snow towards the West then the viewing and photographic opportunities are quite something.

Here in this set of images we can marvel at natures wonder that is the Himalayas….

Continuing the trek through the village, along the cobbled paths which suddenly turn into a single dirt track leading down towards terraced fields and eventually the bottom of a valley. Its clear that the place is quite spread out as the ridge curves right and leads on to the Annapurna trail. so far I haven’t spotted any of these famed tea houses as thoughts of a nice cup of tea get ever stronger. Although the sun is beating down there is a chilly breeze up here and some hot tea right now would be most welcome. An old timer spots me and smiles. I smile back and ask where I can get tea. He smiles again and beckons me up the little path, more suited to mountain goats! The ‘village elder’ mumbles in Nepali to a woman tending the baby and very soon I have a mug of hot Nepali milk tea – what a treat!

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Next….in part 4, trying to find some lunch, village life and on he way down.

Nepal – Cycling to a Tibetan Camp Pt.3

Pokhara, Nepal, February 2017: Well, its been about 1/2 an hour loitering around here. Sitting on a boulder next to the gushing, pale blue waters of the River Seti, better make a move, quite fancy a cup of tea now, and lunch isn’t far off either!

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Another 35 minutes on the cycle, all the time in an upward direction, Well, I’m pretty much used to it now. Past the police checkpoint without any drama – I don’t think they even noticed me, and up, and up and up! At last, somewhere to eat and drink. Until now eating joints have been thin on the ground, but this is a welcome sight after that uphill ride! And its right outside the Tibetan Camp.Tea was nice but  the food wasn’t great, pretty mediocre – a choice of buffalo pasties or fried noodles, needless to say I played it safe.

The Tibetan Camp (Google Map)

I wouldn’t exactly call it a camp, rather a self-sufficient village. Two schools, a few shops, a village hall and a comprehensive sewerage system not to mention a monastery complex A peaceful, sleepy little place with a feeling that one has been transported away from the hustle and bustle of planet earth and is somewhere totally different. In-fact all this serenity is making me feel drowsy – a 5 minute nap is in order!

Actually, not a bad place to live, right up here with nice views of the mountain range and the air is pretty clean too. I’d say the Tibetans have a pretty good quality of life allbeit on the basic side. I don’t get the impression the kids are rich with gadgets like play stations and such like. I guess the men folk are out in the fields while mamma’s and grandmas can be observed busily threading colourful beads and weaving carpets.

Here, a few images depicting the camps people and its architecture.Those 2 tinkers you can see pushing their bikes, well, I passed them about 2 hours ago in Pokhara….

 

 

 

Nepal – Cycling to a Tibetan Camp Pt.2

Pokhara, Nepal, February 2017: This is a page where I really should let the photos speak for themselves – But even photos don’t really do justice to what can only be described as magical! The pale blue river set below snow capped mountains – Oh my goodness. I wonder if there’s gold to be found in that river, a few grains maybe! This is a pretty good resting place after that bike ride from town (see Pt.1)

Here I’ve taken plenty of wide shots along with plenty of close ups to try and convey how breathtakingly beautiful the whole thing is – would you agree?

 

England – Its Autumn

Norwich, Norfolk, England, October 2016. Its a wet Saturday – not just wet but cold and miserable. By 4 o’clock it’ll almost be dark. One of those days that Brits find it hard to even get out of bed. Its also the time of year many Brits plan their winter escape to warmer climates such as Thailand and India. I shall also be heading South later in the New Year, someplace very hot and very sunny. Until then here’s a look at the English Autumn season with a few snaps as I travel around the country side and through small villages.

Here, you are treated to an Autumnal display like no other. This is the area known as the Brecks and Thetford forest. (Google Map)

Autumnal Crocus’s and village greens – quite essentially, English!

 

Nepal – Time to go home, England

Pokhara, Nepal, June 2016. Yes, its time to pack up and go home. Time to say good bye to Nepal and its an emotional goodbye to the people of Pokhara, the one place in the world where it has been possible for me, a Western traveler, to become deeply entrenched within Nepal society and culture. And I don’t mean turning up and prancing around in those big baggy pants, no I mean being part of modern Nepali family society – sharing food, hardships and emotions.Its fair to say this is the hardest goodbye I’ve ever had to make – for the fourth time!

The long trip home to England starts with a 6 hour bus ride to Kathmandu. 30 hours in Kathmandu before the plane ride to  Oman. A night stop in Oman before the 2 PM flight to London.

And so with the last few goodbyes in the bag its off to the bus park and that long bumpy bus ride along the Prithivi Highway. So, just sit back and enjoy the dramatic scenery and a glimpse of rural life that is Nepal. $7 for the 6 hour ride on Line-up travels, and its a brand new bus with Wifi!

Photos from the bus.

Philippines – El Nido to Puerto by RoRo Bus

El Nido, Palawan, Philippines, May 2016. I arrived by the Roro bus and now I’m leaving by the Roro bus. A schedule is pretty hard to come by in the town as they all have a vested interest in selling these minivan tickets. Personally I’d avoid the vans – cramped, expensive and fast, way too fast by all accounts as these drivers are well known for excess speeding, but popular with the Western tourists seemingly not keen on the local bus.10 am sounds like a good bet for a departure to Puerto Princesa – and indeed it is, a bus there waiting as I stroll into the bus station, just a 20 minute stomp from the town.. Opposite is a local market where one can grab some fruit and water, snacks and such like although the bus will stop several times en-route.

Another 380 pesos for the ride as the bus drives away only 1/2 full, and that’s how it stays in sharp contrast to the journey up when the bus was packed pretty much all the way. A pleasant journey with a stop at Taytay and then Roxas by the sea and one more stop about 1 1/2 hours from Puerto. Only 6 hours, far fewer pickups on the way down, as if the driver is keen to get somewhere tonight – quickly!

A local multicab awaits as do hundreds of three-wheeler drivers, mobbed as I get off the bus. From here at the San Jose bus terminal there’s only one way these guys are going and that’s downtown and as I’m booked into Colour Mansions again the multicab  is the option – a 26p ride, 20 minutes and plenty of fresh air. Multicabs are converted small vans with bench seats each side on a semi open back, unique to the Philippines perhaps although there is a similar version in Thailand. Its good to be out of El Nido and back in Puerto Princesa!

So here’s a few snaps along the way. The schedule for future reference!

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