Sunday, October 7, 2007

Sherpa With a Cell Phone

OK, I lied. We found the Internet, or rather, it found us. We arrived in Pokhara a few hours ago, only 150km from Kathmandu, but 7 hours by bus! It was a winding, bumpy ride through the foothills of the Himalayas. Through the smog and diesel fumes we could see lush green jungle-like areas, terraced rice fields, fruit trees, and -- mountains. Because there was no way I could read anything on the bus ride, I spent a lot of time staring out the window, alone with my thoughts -- such compelling things as, "I wonder who invented tables? Do all cultures use tables to eat? Why do chairs in all parts of the world all look the same?" See? Deep. The only thing that could tear me from this train of thought was the stench from the truck full of buffalo and goat carcasses that we got stuck behind... twice.

Our trek really does begin tomorrow, so as of today this is really really REALLY my last post for a while, I swear! Our trekking guide, Tsering, is really nice. He seems quite young, but is very experienced. He's been trekking in the Himalayas since 1995 as a porter or guide, and proudly told us that he was part of the team in 1996 that filmed the IMAX film documenting a summit attempt on Everest. He pointed out that he made it as far up as the Hillary Step (the part of the climb that's really difficult and has thwarted many a summit attempt) without oxygen -- quite the feat. His brother has summitted Everest seven times, so it's safe to say that the mountains are in his blood. I believe he is a Sherpa. He is not at all an example of what I picture a Sherpa to be. Instead of a man in roughly woven clothing and a yak wool hat, I find a sleekly groomed young man with a modern spiky hair cut, blue jeans, a WWE t-shirt, and a cell phone more modern than the one I have at home. It's kind of embarrassing, really. This is why I travel -- to learn about what the world is truly like, and to delete the stereotypes that exist in my mind.

Oh! One more thing. We went to the Garden of Dreams in Kathmandu yesterday and spent the whole afternoon basking in its gorgeousness. We hung out on the manicured, terraced lawn, wandered the landscaped paths, and admired the trees, flowers, and fruit that grow amongst the fountains, Greek-styled buildings, and ornate gates. Every time I looked up there was something new to see. It was built in the 1920s but fell into disrepair over the years, and was recently renovated and opened again in 2006. It is, in my opinion, the very best thing to see in all of Kathmandu. I never imagined such a beautiful place could ever exist, and I will have the pictures up to prove it -- soon.


Chelle said...

The Garden of Dreams sounds beautiful - can't wait to see pics!!

Derek said...

Hey Beeg and Val,
Glad to see you made it ok and are having a great time. We mi syou guys already and so love this blog - great idea.

Stay safe and TTYL.


Joan said...

I just found your blog and have been going back through it catching up. I look forward to reading about all your adventures.