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Namaste--Nepal trip report November 2015

Namaste--Nepal trip report November 2015

Old Nov 26th, 2015, 08:06 PM
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Namaste--Nepal trip report November 2015

This is the Nepal part of our November trip to Nepal and Bhutan. We are glad that we went....and our time there was very much shadowed by both the damage from the April 25 earthquake and the current political disaster which has left Nepal almost bereft of fuel and short of medical supplies. Petrol lines were literally miles long, earthquake damage can be seen everywhere. tourism is way down and everywhere we went, people,thanked us for having come to their country at such a difficult moment. We never once felt in any physical danger.

In the midst of so much tragedy both at the hands of nature and of humans, the Nepali people were warm and resilient though traumatized. We took the early morning mountain flight with great views of Everest and the high Himalayas, walked around the damaged but very moving Boudnath stupa at dusk, were "adopted" by a knowledgable lyoung student who guided us through back streets to the art school where he was studying to paint tangas before leading U.S. On to the busily reconstructing itself Durbar Square. We did buy a painting as well as groceries for the young man's family, ended the day feeling fortunate and manipulated both.

Perhaps the highlight of our stay in Kathmandu was an evening party where we met some of the leading people who have dedicated themselves to helping and changing Nepal over the past years--the field director and major officers of the American Himalayan Foundation, a Nepalese woman who has devoted her life to Stop Girl Trafficking, a pediatric surgeon who for years has treated the poor, an American aid worker. All lovely, all tired, all carrying on,moving forward and stopping a night to relax, play and be with one another and great food.

Finally, our six nights in Nepal were spent in hotel heaven, 5 at Dwarika's in Kathmandu, where wearer upgraded to a junior suite, and one at its sister resort in Dhukhiel, where we were upgraded to an executive suite. The rooms at both places were stunning,and in Nepalese character, the service and food were both excellent, the public space was beautifully designed. Their websites, if anything, understate their beauty and their prices, though above our usual limit, we would again pay to stay there. we were also glad, during difficult times. To be staying at a Nepalese owned and operated hotel, one which has created a whole refugee camp for a neighborhood of Kathmandu that was destroyed by the earthquake.
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Old Nov 27th, 2015, 03:41 AM
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Glad you made it.

It's difficult putting all those sights, smells, tastes, and sounds into the right words. Even then it's difficult for the reader to be able to properly imagine it all.

I think Boudhanath was our favourite place to stay in Nepal. Several nice restaurants just to linger at v.close to the Stupa.

Did you get to Pashupatinath [close to Boudhanath], and witness any cremations? Also the wonderful Bhaktapur, which took a massive 'hit' during the earthquake, and Swayambhunath [Monkey Temple] which also suffered lots of damage. And the narrow busy streets of Thamel?
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Old Nov 27th, 2015, 06:05 AM
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I'm so glad you went to Nepal!

Looking forward to more details.
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Old Nov 27th, 2015, 06:48 AM
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Very interested in learning more about your trip.
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Old Nov 27th, 2015, 07:21 AM
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Thanks for the report
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Old Nov 27th, 2015, 08:37 AM
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We were fortunate enough to visit Nepal about a year before the earthquake, and even then we felt so wealthy and so fortunate. I can't imagine how difficult things must be for the Nepalese now. A couple days ago I received this e-mail from an agency that I had contacted, but not used, prior to our trip.

"Hope you are in good health and every thing is all right with you . I am fine and all family are also doing well but the life is becoming more hard day by day because of the blockade from India .

No any work . No kerosene , gas , petrol and the prices of the food grains also increasing day by day because of less storage ....and .. ! i heard there in US also Nepalese demonstrated against the blockade of India .....!

we are wondering how would we continue our life ..wish you all the best and happiness...hope to hear from you . thanks"

The difficulty is how to help because our understanding is that any monies sent are not given to the individuals but are instead seized by the government.
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Old Nov 27th, 2015, 07:56 PM
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Hi all,
We are on the Hikton namrita Tokyo now about to end a nine hour stay to he,us through an 11hour layover before heading onto try ANA business class not stop to San Fracisco.
I doubt that I'll more to say about Nepal--the core of it was so complicated that I really don't have words. On a trivial note I'd like to add that our favorite toy of our journey was a French a Press/coffeemaker/mug that REI sell.
S. It was light, compact and it worked. just tel people grind coarse as well as french press--the Starbucks people at Bangkokmairport didn't
Quite get it.
Ironically , LL, we didnt make it to Pashupatinath--it was so close and easy we saved I to the end by which time we were in packing hell (hip sized elephant bought in Dwarika's Dhukiel resort very inexpensively). I am very sorry yo have missed
It.
The Hikton here is doing its job but feels very sterile after the five star spectacular beauty odvDwarikas in Nepal, Zwiwaling in Bhutan, and also the love combination of craft and natural beauty we found in several of the three star hotels we stayed in in Bhutan.
Ok, time for shower and shuttle by to hotel. Bhutan trip report to follow after our return.
Kathie I had a similar experience with Thai air business seats from Banbkok to Tokyo that you did with Asiana--never quite comfortable. Didn't sleep etc. I do think we must have f,own different planes on Asiana. hope you are feeling much better.
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Old Nov 28th, 2015, 12:59 AM
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@cmstraf>>

Now everyone is interested to know what that means!
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Old Nov 28th, 2015, 09:10 PM
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Just the feeling of compassion for good people caught in terrible crisis and suffering by the indifference of nature and a tremendous amount of bad government. From our not too sophisticated or knowledgable point of view, it looks like the Nepalese constitution really screwed up, the Indian government is really screwing up, and whoever is responsible for NONE of the $2 billion in aid offered the country screwed up BIG.

The contrast with Bhutan (which I don't entirely idealize) is overwhelming.

The inspiration of seeing some of the "heroes" of the NGO's, the photo I have in Patan of the beginnings of beautiful monument, building destroyed by earthquake, photos of the dead on two buildings behind it with two motorcycle youths and an old man in the foreground--beauty,death, destruction, and life going on.

The guilt and the pleasure of staying at two of the most peacefully and excitingly hotels I have ever been. The quality of services and signs of exhaustion and trauma. My petty anger and disappointment at not having seen what I came to see (world heritage sites) while surrounded by misery of people who are cutting down trees for cooking fuel--with half smiles on their faces. The feeling that I missed Nepal...but also that I saw Nepal as it it...the concern even for the Dwarika's, which spent much money renovating and recreating a new vision of the resort in Dhukhiel (too tired to check spelling) and in space for 25 guests, there were just two couples. This means lay offs for the working class, big financial worries for the very nice family who owns Dwarikas. There is a meditation maze and a special place to see the sunrise over the high Himalayas and they bring you tea.

The pollution. Never having been a third world country before, much less one hanging on by its nails in two major crises. The intensity of the pleasure of the beauty and intricate restfulness of our rooms. The frustration of not having been inside one temple while we were there. We drove through Baktapur on our way back from Dhukiel, but couldn't bring ourselves to go see Durbar Square. What we did see was non ending lines for petrol.

What I feel not one piece of ambivalence about is the hip high wood elephant we fell in love with and bought and now sits in a place of honor in our living room. And I'm glad we spent our money there, feel like we in some way showed our solidarity with the Nepalese people. I hope to someday go back and see the sites that Kathie so eloquently described, I hope Nepal gets a mild winter and a decent government, I miss our room at Dwarika's where there was restful beauty everywhere I turned my eyes. I'm scared to look at our credit card bill.

Think that covers it.
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Old Nov 28th, 2015, 10:24 PM
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Very well said cmstraf, thanks for sharing.
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Old Nov 29th, 2015, 12:54 AM
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Thanks.

It reads [to me] that the chaos of Kathmandu didn't really allow or encourage you to see much on the ground, and that your preferred sanctuary were your hotels.

The drive out from Kathmandu past Bhaktapur through the Valley to Dhulikhel is very interesting, as it passes many brick factories once past Bhaktapur. Their chimneys spew out all sorts of muck for hours every day, and are responsible for much of the awful pollution and poor air quality. Whole families [working almost 24/7] are employed in the industry including youngsters on slave labour terms...

http://www.theguardian.com/global-de...l-child-labour

Although that road goes through Bhaktapur it misses the UNESCO Heritage Site by a fair distance.

There's a weird theme-park on the left between Bhaktapur and Dhulikhel. You can see it clearly as it's in the valley below on the left as you pass on the road. looks as though it's been plonked down from outer space. It's a fun extravagant place for the moneyed elite I expect, probably paid for by mis-spent Foreign Aid.
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Old Nov 29th, 2015, 08:04 AM
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Thanks cmstraf - I feel your pain. Beautifully and evocatively written.
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Old Nov 29th, 2015, 08:58 AM
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Thanks for your comments, cmstraf. I understand the pain of seeing the destruction. And if this was your third-world country, I can understand how overwhelmed you must have felt.

Had you felt up for it, the locals would have delighted in showing you the temples and shrines being reconstructed. They are very proud of the work they have done to stabilize the world heritage sites.
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Old Nov 30th, 2015, 12:38 AM
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>>

Anybody interested in Bhaktapur. This video gives a good overview pre-earthquake...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pg3bRqbAOuM

Goodness knows what it's like now for a lot of residents.
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Old Dec 4th, 2015, 03:13 AM
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Rereading what I've written, I want to make it clear that I would make the choice to go to Nepal now all over again--in fact, I wish we could go back next week. It's more that it was our first time in a third world country, a polluted city, with a major natural and political crisis casting a shadow. The Nepali people are indeed working hard at reconstruction, are warm, resilient..and tired. We were never treated with resentment and unkindness; in fact it was more often the opposite.The Everest mountain flight was beautiful, the walk around Boudnath moving. The resort in Dkuhiel brought beauty and tranquility with ever step.
We just had two many days where we didn't know what we were doing--getting lost in a not too pleasant day in Patan, the mixed experience of being picked up by the young student in Kathmandu. I pride myself on making beautiful days when I travel: we had just spent Labor Day weekend at Yosemite, hiking to the sub dome of Half Dome seeing no crowds the whole weekend, we know how to do Venice.
I would go to Kathmandu Valley again next week. What I would do the same:
stay at Dwarika's, giving our money to a Nepali run business (not to mention gorgeous setting), what I would do differently is to do major homework to find a very knowledgeable,likable guide (like we had in Bhutan). So do go, everyone, but if you are not already experienced, get good help. And all guides are not alike.
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Old Dec 5th, 2015, 10:38 AM
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We were fortunate enough to spend three weeks in Nepal almost exactly a year prior to the earthquake. Knowing what the infrastructure was like then, I have difficulty imagining how hard life must be now.

For people who are looking for a good agency, we had good luck with Himalayan Encounters arranging part of our trip for us.

http://www.himalayanencounters.com/contact.php
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Old Feb 23rd, 2016, 12:39 AM
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It is good to read that your impression of Nepal is that of their resiliance and warmness. We enjoyed our trip to Kathmandu and Pokhara. The nature was beautiful, but most importantly the people were too. It was an enjoyable 5 day adventure.

Do you have any photos or videos to share of your experiences in Nepal?

Mike
To the Nations Worldwide - Share Your Travels
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Old Feb 28th, 2016, 07:16 PM
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Can someone remind me how to share photos on Fodor's?
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Old Feb 29th, 2016, 02:17 PM
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You can't post photos on Fodors, you need to put them somewhere else and post a link. I use Smugmug, but it isn't free.
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