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Trip Report Back from Nepal and Bhutan

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What a trip! Not at all what I expected. Even tho I have wanted to do this trip for 20 years my concepts were based on photos rather than reality. Spent 6 days in Kathmandu valley. Saw principal sights and went one day to Namo Buddah monastery for mountain views. I expected Nepal to be Switzerland East but it is India Light. Thanks to Kathie, we stayed at Hyatt. Going from Hyatt to Boudhanath is a joy. Loved the stupa and walk thro neighborhood was fascinating unless it was during the nightly electrical shutdown when we hoped for motobikes to zoom thru to bring some light.
The roads were so rough and the traffic so intense, pollution so extreme we did not go into main city for dinner. Just not worth the journey. Ate most dinners at Hyatt which is unusual for us but they were fine.
Bhutan followed usual tourist trail. I could see why Dogster did not like it. Being stuck in a car with guide you do not like would be miserable. Bhutan is not a sit in teahouse country. People in Bhutan do not go to restaurants very often, or never. Just not that type of economy. But...if you go now you get a chance to see a country in the midst of change from extremely poor substistance farming (and that means terraces on the side of a mountain) to a more modern lifestyle with education, medical treatment, a government that now has funds which it is using to improve the life of its citizens. Not all is perfect even with GNH (gross national happiness) they are very prejudiced against the Indian workers brought in to work on roads and other heavy hand labor, and they expelled the people from Nepal who had migrated to the country more than 100 years ago (these people are in refugee camp in Nepal which won't take them back...big fire there while we were in Nepal). We found everyday in Bhutan interesting. Lots and lots of Buddist sites. Even got blessed with a penis (wooden). Turned enough prayer wheels to bring me needed blessings.
I did not make it to the monastery at Tiger's Nest. I took a horse as far as it would go and that is to lookout parallel to Tiger's Nest. Could not even think of going down and up the 800 steps to get to TN and then doing it again to get back. The elevation in the country made me breathless quite often. Everything is at the top of a hill!!! Everything!! I got everywhere except TN but slowly. Other tourist people my age were also going slowly
and some did not even get above teahouse below TN. But that day was really good and I was delighted I made it down the mountain without problems.
We were able to stay 3 nights at the Uma, 2 night at the Taj, and 2 nights at the Kichu in Wangdu. The Kichu was not at extra cost. The Kichu was fine, but no room phone or tv, or internet, heating by small electric heater (fine for our time of year) food rice and vegetables. For a no extra cost place it was lovely, but...staying at Taj and Uma was a pleasure. If you can afford it...go for it. Bhutan is trying but the roads are still terrible and will be, endless switchbacks on mountains...that can't change. the elevation is high, lots of walking, so a comfortable place to stay at night is really appreciated.
Unless you are treker or have very special interest, our week in Bhutan seemed enough. We met birders who were there for 3 weeks...wow! got to love those birds. After our route things get more difficult, less amenities for tourists. A squat toilet in a pitch dark closet is enough of a challenge for me.
This was trip of lifetime. So glad I went, but Europe looks like vacation travel. Nepal and Bhutan were experience. Go to our family website www.Brunsberg. com to see my son-in-law's comments and great photos.

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