10 seconds in Nepal

Varanasi, India. November 24th 2016

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The flight for Kathmandu is 24 hours late, so we’ve been bored and stressed for the past 24 hours in an air,.port just as gloomy as any airport in the world. But as soon as we pass the cloud line, there it is! The Himalaya!?

Himalayas

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The beer is good, we are with friends on the roof of the Reggae Bar. Its chilly, but the fire burning in an oil barrel is roaring. The band is playing Bob Marley. They have the spirit, they are just playing too fast!

Rooftop bar, Kathmandu, Nepal

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We’re a little bit lost in Kathmandu, we turn another random street corner, and come to a little square, off the beaten track, and out of time. Kids run up to us, dogs nap in the sun, grain is drying, under the eye of an old lady with a long bamboo stick to keep the pigeons away.

Kathmandu, Nepal

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It’s raining cats and dogs. We didn’t see it coming, so we’re stuck under a pagoda. Around us, teenagers are playing with their phone, a granny says her prayers, and an old man smokes a few beedies. For once, tourists and locals are all doing the same thing together : waiting for the rain to stop.

Patan, Nepal

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Breathless after a few hundred big steps, but its worth it. From Monkey temple we see the whole city, glowing orange in the sunset. The palce is magic, relaxing, most of the tourists are gone, only dogs and monkeys still hang around, unworried by the material world.

Monkey Temple, Kathmandu, Nepal

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Another turn in the road, the bus engine howls, then the breaks scream. At the bottom of the precipice, terraced rice fields and a mountain stream. Above the bus, our backpacks and the summits of the Himalaya.

Nepal

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Breathlss, thousands of steps this time, between the valley and the middle mountain. We drop our bags, slouch into the plastic chairs, sweaty but happy, warmed by the mountain sun. They say this kind of weather is unusual for the season. That makes us double happy.

Annapurna range, Nepal
Annapurna, Nepal

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6PM in the little mountain lodge. The whole family is there, with the handful of trekkers, feet close to the fireplace. The little boy is playing with Gwen, his mom is chatting with our guide. The power goes off. Its going to be a real mountain night!

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Breathless again… you need some good lungs in this country! Freezing, too, at roughly 9500 feet, but very excited. We did the Poon Hill climb in a time that even the skinny locals who seem to be able to walk forever must respect. The first rays of the sun tickle the Anapurna, the Daulagiri and Fishtail. We’ve never been so close to the sky.

Annapurna, Nepal

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A rare moment, Suresh, our guide, who had been so distant, so efficient for the whole trek finally becomes our friend. Around some pizza and whisky. With Olga, a dutch girl who walks at the same pace as us, and two guides, at last we can talk politics, religion, and learn about real Nepal.

2016 note: And a few extra photos because Nepal is amazing

Nepal