Monday, March 29, 2010


Well, things are rarely what you expect - that's really true of almost everything (OK, except maybe some 9-5 jobs ;-). Nepal had been built up so much by other people and other people that the reality of what I found here on my own did not help my mood much for the first few days, but eventually the walking meditation that is long days and lots of distance helped bring me back to center.

In all honesty, I've found Nepal to be very much like India with two very important distinctions. One, there's a tiny fraction of the population, and two, there haven't been roads built to every village town. Yet. This means that you can have the idyllic trekking experience, away from roads but with lovely lodges and tea houses, in the high mountains, and there's a lot less waste and crowding. But there's still trash in the ravines and ditches. There's still one guy trying to fit his wife and two kids in the bus seat next to me. There's still tons of pollution, particularly in the city, and people still try to rip you off. They just do it with a smile instead of indifference.

All that said, it was beautiful most of the time, and I know how to get most of the above-mentioned drawbacks. I think many people who love the supposed Shangri-la of Nepal skip all the dirty parts, and just fly straight to Lukla and the Disneyland version of Nepal that is the major trekking circuits. There, kids don't bug you for handouts, the trails are wide, and businesses abound to serve your every desire as a trekker: chocolate cake, hot showers, telephone... you're still trekking, living rougher than we do at home, but things are pretty much oriented toward getting the trekker what he/she needs, and in a beautiful place.

The rhododenderons are in bloom, as well as white magnolia trees, and it's cool to see a forest sprinkled with white and pink and red across the hillside. I took a bus to Jiri and walked past Lukla (the fly-in point for our upcoming trek) to the edge of the park at Monjo in four days, then walked back in five. I didn't get to start seeing the really high mountains, but some glimpses here and there of snow-capped peaks are making me look forward to the scenery we'll get to soon.

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