Shivalaya has a tenuous road connection to the rest of Nepal and this morning at 5:30am I was woken by the honking of the once daily rattletrap announcing its departure.
I’m afraid I’ll be going the other way though. After some tea and a porridge I start to make my way to Deurali at the top of the first pass of the trek. It’s unrelentingly steep but I settle in to a good pace and steadily wind my way up for the next three hours through fields and forests.
Eventually I reach the top and after a cup of tea to celebrate it’s downhill to lose most of the altitude I gained earlier. The scenery is gorgeous as ever.
And eventually I make it to Bhandar my destination for today and although this village was badly damaged in the earthquake a lodge is up and running again.
I’d actually popped some ibuprofen last night to get over the bus ride and I’m feeling great this morning. It appears that there are no other trekkers in town so after a quick cup of milk tea and a bowl of porridge I’m on my way.
It’s cool when I leave town but after a few hundred meter the trail heads uphill and the layers start coming off. The first half of today’s trek heads to a small pass that used the be marked by an ancient Chorten but it seems to have been bulldozed in favour of a not so ancient cellphone tower. From there it’s all the way down again into a river canyon that leads to Shivalaya my destination for today.
After Kathmandu it’s great to be able to breathe the air again and hear the birds singing in the trees.
These are the travels of the spaceship Enterprise and it’s quest to go where no man has gone before.
…oops wrong show. Actually this is the beginning of my trek to Everest Base Camp or EBC for short. This being the prologue there is not a lot of walking and a great deal of driving involved and as with all great adventures this trip starts at Ratna Park bus station in the middle of Kathmandu. A dirty, noisy and smelly place
it’s greatest benefit is that it’s close to my hotel.
The driver puts his favourite Hindi music tape on, dials the volume up to distortion level and the bus lurches out of the station right on time then promptly stops five minutes down the road and waits for half an hour for more passengers before continuing on its journey. The driver is a bit of a maniac who tailgates everything in front of him and then of course has to violently brake as soon as those in front of him slow down which sends people and luggage flying through the bus. A regular Nepali bus ride then.
On the upside once we leave Kathmandu the air quality improves dramatically and I settle in for the nine hour ride to Jiri.
Shorty after lunch the road works start. I traveled this road last just after the earthquake and it was perfectly fine. Now in the name of improving it 30 kilometres of it has been dug up and turned into dusty potholes as if the country hasn’t got anything else to do like rebuild houses or so.
It’s dark by the time we get to Jiri. I literally have bruises from all the shaking about. Another fine day.
Today I walked through Durbar square. While it’s disapointing to see how little restoration work has been done almost two years after the earthquake. What has been left standing is stil worth a visit.
I went for a stroll to Swayambhunath, the monkey temple, and the surroundig area. Enjoy the slide show.
The legendary city of Kathmandu has a by now legendary air pollution problem, the third worst air quality in the world I read the other day. On previous visits, I have noted how the air quality seems to get worse every time but right now I have sore eyes, a sore throat and I can feel the grit in the air when I breath. Glad I don’t suffer from asthma but I am looking forward to the fresh mountain air in a few days time.