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Fierce Invalids in Hot Climates Amber and Jerad chronicle their life-changing journey from Napa Valley wine snobs to globe-exploring vegabonds

I Think I Can, I Think I can, I Think I Can...

NEPAL | Monday, 14 April 2008 | Views [1338] | Comments [4]

Amber enjoys the views on the walk from Ghorapani to Tatopani

Amber enjoys the views on the walk from Ghorapani to Tatopani

   Oh Nepal, glorious Nepal.  I am in heaven here and truly enjoying all that Nepal has to offer.  The people are so sweet, mellow and know how to have a good laugh.  After learning that how you say "how are you" in Nepal (Khanu-boyo), its literal translation is "have you eaten yet", I knew I was among my kind of people.  I have been learning some Nepali and speaking it with the locals, which they find quite entertaining.  The locals at the guest house we are staying at here in Pokara have nicknamed me "Ke Garne", which means peacefully "What are you gonna do?".  This happened because one of the lessens Jerad and I have really soaked in on this trip is to just relax sometimes if things aren't going "how they should" (ie a flight emergency landing).  We have been saying with a smile "what are ya gonna do?" to each other from the start of this trip when things go differently than we had planned or something of that sort.  So when I learned that Nepali's have this saying I started saying it in Nepali right away.  And when we checked in to our guest house and told them about having things stolen from our bags (even though mine was locked) I said to them with a peaceful shoulder shrug "Ke Garne", of which sent them into a great round of laughter.  So now I have a nickname:), and everytime I walk by they yell "Ke Garne".
   Let me see here...what should I write about next.  Nepal has given us so many gifts and I don't want to strain your eyes, but please read on.  Our first stop in Nepal was Lumbini, which is the exact birth place of the Buddha.  (Dad, I thought of you a lot there.)  It was really beautiful to see the hundreds of prayer flags blow in the wind and feel the peaceful energy of all the people who tied those flags.  I really enjoyed the original stone piece that represents when Maya Diva have birth to the Buddha, because she was holding onto a tree and was said to have soaked in the water near the tree right before pushing.  As a birth junkie it was neat to see such a natural birth represented.  The bus ride from Lumbini to Pokara was 10 hours and less than pleasant, I feel no need to go into that, other than that when we starting climbing a mountain the Nepali man next to me started praying, told me to pray and the only english word he said to me was "dangerous".  So I guess being robbed during the bus ride really wasn't the worst that could have happened.  Plus, it is a lessen on attachment to material things.
   After we got to Pokara (which we LOVE by the way) we felt some comforts of home, rich green nature everywhere you look, a lake, again really nice people, etc...and of course any kind of food you can think of (pizza, steak, milkshakes), which makes Jerad very happy.  After a few days of relaxing here we went on a three day over night white water rafting trip.  Which was pretty cool.  I was a little bummed because of the time of the year there weren't very many rapids and they weren't that wild, but "Ke Garne?".  The food boat did pop the first night which changed our plans a little but the second night was good fun.  I was happy to be in the boat I was in.  It was just me and 6 guys (1 South African man, 2 French men, 1 Irish man, Jerad and our Nepali guide), and our guide was by far the best.  I held my own though with the paddling and never fell out of the boat.  I was also proud of myself during the "water fights/wars" with the other boats when the river was mellow.  At one point when this man stole one of our buckets I dove of the boat grabbed it and held it to my chest like my life depended on it and wouldn't let go, he even started dunking me.  In the end I swam back to my boat with the bucket and was greeted with my very impressed boat mates.  Who says girls can't get in on the rough fun sometimes?
   And now my friends, for the icing on the cake...trekking (hiking) in the Himalaya.  We did what is known as the Ghoroponi (including Poon Hill) to Gandruck loop. Jerad and I chose to do it alone without a guide or a porter (someone to carry your bags), which is rare for people to do.  So we did it with our bags full of everything we needed, (and yes I carried my own bag) and one very detailed trekking book.  Talk about the most physically challenging experience I have ever concurred, and most of the time with a smile on my face.  Jerad and I trekked in the mountains of the Himalaya for 6 full days and nights, averaging 6 hours of trekking/hiking a day always starting early to avaoid the pre-monsoon like weather.  Now let me tell you, the first two days I thought "what the heck am I doing?".  On the first day, when we stopped for a snack, I feel fast asleep with my head on the table will Jerad had a snickers bar.  I was so exuasted. Then it got a tad bit easier, and I think we figured out how and when to break (and eat!).  I thoroughly enjoyed the little "tea-houses" that we stayed at.  This are mostly just family run homes and guest houses in villages on the edge of mountains (days walks from anything).  The village people were just pure souls, who worked so hard each and every day.  It was quite the experience to live among these Nepali tribes in the middle of one of the worlds largest mountain ranges.  They work so hard for their simple and beautiful lifestyle.  Rooms were always the bear minimum, but Jerad and I were always just appreciative to have a bed.  We bought some pretty good gear in Pokara before we left for the trek so we were prepared.  We were totally bundled at night; hat, gloves, long-johns, pants, fleece jacket, booties in supposedly -5 degree slepping bags.  When we were at our highest point (Ghoroponi) we were still freezing, but again "Ke Garne?".  I think it wasn't until our last night which was on our climb down and the weather thus was warmer were we comfortable sleeping (although of course still totally bundled).  We even purified our own water the whole time, as to spare the world some unnecessary plastic trash, which the locals (especially the kids) were very amused by.  The raw beauty of the Himalaya is just touching and breath taking.  Jerad and enjoyed the journey together with our love strong as always and some laughter pushing us up and up and up.  We even had a moment together and said a prayer for our connection and partnership and then placed our own prayer flags high in the Himalaya, which will blow in the wind hopefully forever.  Man, I am lucky to have Jerad Kent Nicholson.  As my Dad aslways says, we are the yin and the yang:). 
   Please enjoy the pictures, though I strongly encourage you all to come to Nepal and trek someday.  One of my favorite days was when we woke up at 4:15 am, had some tea, and then made our way up Poon Hill to watch the sunrise and see the panoramic views of the Annapurna mountains.  It was so neat to start hiking under the stars.  It is like the Lonely Planet Nepal book says "The Himalaya is there to change you, not you the Himalaya", and oh how I have been changed!  I know I keep going on and on, but our 6 days in the Himalayas is something that will light my soul and encourage my mouth to share forever.
   We are know back in Pokara, feeling a little bit "at home" and relaxing just a tad.  Though the trek has re-ignited my love for exercise so I have started running again in the mornings.  It's great because Jerad stays in bed, I go run around this beautiful area and pick him up a fresh backed chocolate pastry on the way back to our room, which he eats in bed while we both have tea.  And yes, Mom, I did say tea.  It has been at least a month since I have had coffee and I am feeling really good about it (albeit missing it sometimes and being somewhat forced to switch due to lack of availability). 
   We have become close with the locals from our guest house and last night we had a little Nepali New Year celebration (which by the way it is 2065 here).  Jerad bought some beers, we chatted and even did a little dancing, and somehow I ended up singing Santa Baby.  Good times.  They invited us to their home for a family feast on Wednesday, which we are looking forward to and it is a big honor.
   And so my loved ones, I will stop typing and give you a chance to go back to your day, but thank you for reading, it does mean a lot to me.  Know that Jerad and I are elated and I am already planning my trip back to Nepal someday, maybe 3 years or so.  Sending you all big hugs and Happy Birthday Randy!  Thank you for reading and keeping up with us, or in Nepali dhanyabad:). 
(By the way, my hair is still pink from Holi in India.  Apparently it doesn't wash out of blonde hair so well.  But hey, Ke Garne?)  
Amber Allison
P.S.  On Friday we start an overnight four day, three night meditation and yoga retreat, which we are looking forward to.  Don't worry butterflies, I haven't gone completely hippy-dippy:).



This post may show twice--if so, sorry!. You guys are rocking my world! (and by the looks of it, rocking your own pretty hard, as well). Gorgeous pics, incredible tales of adventure. Your Nepal experience is hauntingly reminiscent of Mike's and my adventure -- the Annapurna circuit, the views of the fishtail from the rooftops of Pokhara, the green relief after India, the Kali Gandaki!!!... ah, it's such a magnificent country. Happy trails, Vaya con dios, mis amigos!

  Julie Grossman Apr 15, 2008 2:51 AM


A & J:
It looked awfully cold in some of those photos. All sunshine with temperatures in the 70’s here in Florida, hint….hint.
No, really - I am very happy to read that you guys are enjoying yourselves as much as you are. Keep us updated, we are checking regularly.

PS – Amb- Thanks for the birthday email. Can you believe I am turning 29???


  Randy Hubbell Apr 15, 2008 5:29 AM


Hey Guys,

So great to hear about your adventures in Nepal and beyond. Your 6 day treck sounds super challenging and exciting. And I thought living in downtown Napa was a challenge.

Keep in touch and be safe. xoxo

  Kaia Apr 15, 2008 8:12 AM


Amber Alli - you ARE changing!
Tea in the morning? I can't imagine..
I just love, love, love the pictures. Both of you look happy and healthy. Visiting Nepal is now on my list of 100 things to do before I reach my 60th birthday!
2-3 days before you called, I was missing hearing you laugh. Next time you take a long trip, you'll have to record yourself laughing for me..
All my love to you both,
Mom xxoo

  Mom Apr 24, 2008 6:07 PM

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