Posted by: benphia | November 22, 2008

Back in Kathmandu

Hello all,

After a long hard trek we are happy to report that we have survived 16,700 feet and are now safely at the hotel here in Kathmandu. Our arrival back in the city has been abrupt and a bit surreal. We have gotten used to waking up before six in the morning, having tea and breakfast and then heading out for six hours or so of hard and secluded hiking. Now we hear horns constantly, thrust back into the madness of Thamel (the tourist district).

We had dinner at Fire and Ice (the local pizzeria and ice cream restaurant), but we’re already missing our cook Pasang’s delicious dishes. We attempted to emulate our eating pattern by ordering extra food this evening, but without people hovering around offering us more food, we were unable to eat as much. Dinner was odd without our now routine soup and several types of food followed by warm fruit and tea. Oh, warm pineapple, where have you gone?

And now, off to bed. We took showers for the first time in ages, so we’ll be all clean in our bed tonight!

Sophia + Benjamin

Posted by: benphia | October 28, 2008

3rd day in Kathmandu: More relaxing…

Hello all,

We’re currently in the internet room of our hotel relaxing after a morning breakfast of garlicy- potatoes, garlicy-mixed veggies, pancakes and milk tea. Mmm…

Kathmandu is an experience that leaves us both exhausted. The food is delicious and we’ve enjoyed some interesting restaurants playing good ol’ American tunes. We had some delicious Nepali food at the restaurant run by the wife of Karma (the owner of Mountain Tribes), and we met our trekking guide and cook.

We haven’t ventured off the hotel grounds too much, other than to eat lunch/dinner and look around a bit. It is very intense in the streets of Thamel (the tourist district where we are staying), especially since there is a festival happening these days we are in town. It is the festival of lights, and there have been firecrackers adding to the usually noisiness of the town. There also have been beautiful candles, light stings (x-mas lights), and marigold garlands decorating the streets.

We did venture out to a site with temples yesterday. It surprised us how busy these “spiritual” areas were. The temples were old and yet did not seem to have the respect they deserved. It was a bit disconcerting for myself and I can’t wait to leave the city and see monasteries and temples out in the countryside.

Imagine this image with four times as many people.

Note: We leave for the trek tomorrow and we will be without internet for the duration of our journey. We will post again after we return from the Himalaya.

Benjamin + Sophia

Posted by: benphia | October 27, 2008

0 days to Nepal: Thamel, Kathmandu

Well we are here and we finally made it. This is a completely different world here. It is hard to describe the sheer overwhelming quality. Taffic is insane. We were so overwhelmed by the sounds, colors and people everywhere, we couldn’t manage to take really any photos today.

Karma from Mountain Tribes met us at the airport and drove us to the hotel to get settled for the day. His presence was very calming and I felt very comfortable, even in the crazy traffic.

Once we were settled in the hotel, we caught up on some much needed rest and conked out for about five hours.

We then headed out on the town for some tasty and safe food at Fire and Ice, where we are currently, using this wifi.

See you all at the next access point,
Benjamin + Sophia

Posted by: benphia | October 26, 2008

0 days to Nepal: Tokyo and Singapore.

Friends! We have been traveling for over 24 hours with only chunks of sleep here and there, but after finding some comfortable reclining chairs in the Singapore airport, we’re feeling refreshed and excited for our final flight!

Let me quickly say that our stop over in the Tokyo airport was sad, because they had a lovely setup for an airport and great bathrooms, but we were only off the plane long enough to go through x-rays again, walk to our next gate and use the bathroom/sit for about 15 minutes.

I guess I’m now judging airports by bathrooms. LAX bathrooms stink; Narita (Tokyo) bathrooms are really nice with granite floors and round sinks and the bathrooms have heavy doors that go all the way to the floor (I love privacy!); Changi (Singapore) bathrooms are nice as well, they are probably the most stylish: also with round sinks (clear glass) and granite, but not quite as awesome as Tokyo.

Our time on the plane was fun, but difficult. The first five hours were fine, but then the confines of our seats began to feel restraining. Sophia and I love airplanes and flight in general, but 20 hours of flying is difficult on the physical body.

I am definitely happy to be off the plane currently. The Singapore airport is like a stylish mall, clean and snazzy but does not have the claustraphobic feel of US malls. I hate malls, but this one feels like it has space for me to relax and be myself. It has a lot of greenery around (even real trees!) and a couple of koi ponds with huge fishies!

Ben also met someone interesting on the plane that was from Singapore. He was very intrigued that we were vegetarians like him (I thought it was cool that we had a whole row of vegetarians), and chatted with Ben about many things. He even invited us to visit him on our trip back through Singapore! In general, the people we meet on the plane, in the airport and the staff of the airports and airlines have been very friendly and helpful. And the Singapore flight attendants wear awesome uniforms (which probably makes them even more friendly)!

So, all in all, a good experience. In another 8 or so hours we’ll be in Nepal!

Benjamin + Sophia

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