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Mike & Mag's World Adventure

Thailand to Nepal- Sometimes up hill sometimes downhill

NEPAL | Saturday, 10 May 2008 | Views [575] | Comments [2]

Namaste (hello from Nepal)-

We are blessed! The past month we've been fortunate to have my mother and our friends visit us in Thailand. We immediately headed off to the island of Koh Tao. This island is every diver's mecca and so we indulged in the trend and booked a private boat for one day of snorkeling. The day was perfect sunshine that illuminated the waters with an unbelievable clarity. Our first spot was called Shark's Bay. Here we sited several black finned sharks, some of which were about 6 feet long and real fat. That was awesome! The rest of the sites contained more colorful coral and fishies. We were lucky to site an eel that was so shimmery it looked like gold. It was by far our best snorkeling trip and we were all glowing at the end of the day from the experience.

We got adventurous with Thai bowling (a game in which a person is at the end of the lane re-stacking the pens after each frame and all score keeping is done with pencil and paper. It was pretty comical. We also spoiled ourselves with messages, pedicures, and shopping galore. When it was time for the girls and mom to leave we were all sad but happy to know that we would all be reuniting in just a few weeks.

So, off we went to Nepal, Mike and I on our own again. Nepal was like a pleasant breeze on a hot summer day. The people here are the warmest we have encountered and the scenary spectacular. We immediately booked a hike in the Himalayas and on Day two in Nepal we were packed into a crappy bus and made our way on winding roads through valleys and canyons that were so deep I couldn't stand to look down for fear of us going off that tiny ledge. Here I should mention that most buses were packed full with people on the tops of the roofs as well; perhaps the riskiest behavior on EARTH. With luck we made it safely. The next day we took a taxi which carried us even deeper into the mountains. The tiny taxi was pounding with the beats of the local Nepali music as we cruised by little Nepali boys in girls in uniforms walking to school, farmers in the fields picking rice, wheat, corn, etc, and tried to soak in all of the beauty of the peaks that laid before us. We were nothing but smiles.

As we started our hike which crossed streams and included many "Nepali flats" which were described by our guide as being "sometimes up hill sometimes down hill". This is also a line from a famous Nepali traditional song which our guide later taught us. Can you just imagine us singing as we hiked thru the mountains? -- it was pretty funny. Oh and Nepali flats... not the same flat by Kansas standards.

Trekking through the Himalayas was by far the highlight of this trip. When talking to Mike about it lastnight I actually got teary eyed. The views were like scenes from a dream with clouds encasing peaks so majestic and boundless that many people die just trying to summit them. We were in serious climbers territory. Which is why I can easiliy say that our trek was the hardest that I have ever done. On the last day I was bellowing, "I just can't do this anymore... I'm so done right now". Our entire legs from toes to knees to hips were sooooooo sore we could hardly bend them at the beginning of the morning. But, after popping some pain killers and drinking our Nepali Chai tea each morning we sucked it up and headed out for another day of trekking.

To sum it up we hiked an average of 10-12 miles a day for 7 days covering over ~80 miles in the Himalayas...MANY UPHILLS! We're pretty proud of that accomplishment. We were fortunate to have a wonderful guide that was very patient with us and took the best care of us, telling us what to eat to avoid getting sick, teaching us Nepali card games and answering all of our questions about his strict Hindu life and the life and practices of other Nepalese people.

Trekking through the mountains was really like going back in time 100 years. Mountain life here must be the hardest life I have ever seen. I saw several very elderly women carrying a bail of hay over thier backs that was so large I could barely make out that there was a person under it. Not to mention that she was carrying this heavy load down a steep flight of nearly 3000 steps. I am NOT exaggerating either!

The conditions at high elevations were the harshest. The wind beat your face so hard that most of the children had raw cheeks from sunburn and wind with snot running down their noses. Every child seemed to be sick and everyone was absolutely dirty the further up we went. I think this was because water for washing was very difficult to come by. In the highest of places it was difficult to get much of anything and what you did get was ridiculously expensive as supplies had to be flown in by helicopter. Despite all these hardships, every Nepali we encountered gave us a big smile with palms together placed at the nose, accompanied with a "Namaste".

Our final destination at the highest altitude was called McTinoth. This is considered one of the top holy sites for all Hindus and Buddhists alike. It is believed that many of the Hindu gods once visited this place for peace and prayer. Sudas, men in India that devote their lives to worhip, often pilgrimage here by foot. There are about 5 different temples in this complex for cleansing, prayer, etc. We went to all of them and at each received a blessing and a tikka (the red, yellow, or black dot on the forehead) for good luck. At one of the temples we splashed/cleansed ourself with the mountain water running through the mounths of the cows that lined the mountain wall. It was a cold experience but hopefully it worked and I'm totally cleansed; wouldn't that be amazing, to be cleansed of all our sins.

Anyhow, before I get too new age on you guys I better get to the end. Besides, the real new age stuff is going to come in India, where we're going to find real "Enlightenment" either that or a lot of cows and garbage... Can you tell that we're not so excited about going to India. To tell the truth we're both a little terrified. Wish us luck. Tomorrow we head for Calcutta!

Love you all and can't wait to see you in just a few weeks!

Never Ending Peace and Love (NEPAL),

Maggie and Mike

Tags: namaste from nepal

Comments

1

Sooooooooooooo good to hear from you at last. My joints ache for you and I haven't trekked any farther than from here to the bathroom! Max has been reassuring me that you were not near the storm's devastation recently - so now I'll believe him! Will be excited to read/hear about your spiritual experiences. I've been delving into the Budhist etc. beliefs and am quite fascinated with it, and very envious to be actually in the midst of it. But, also know they would have to fly me in by helicopter to get me there! HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY MAGGIE!!!! We are getting together at Marsha's tomorrow. It sure won't be the same without you and Mike. Stay well and keep us posted about India! Love you both, Grammy (p,s. You're writing is extrorinary - feels like I am there with you while reading!)

  Grammy May 11, 2008 2:29 AM

2

That was beautiful. I'm typing away at my desk on a cold rainy day in NYC, totally day dreaming about being with you guys. Miss you and unfortunately I wont be back in KS until xmas. I love this city too much! I hope all is well and be safe in India. Lots of love!!!!

  Matthew Conley May 21, 2008 3:54 AM

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