Monday, March 12, 2012

Change of plans

There is a concept in Buddhism of Impermanence, essentially that everything changes and nothing stays the same. According to the Four Noble Truths we suffer when expect life to not be impermanent; when we are attached to things, ideas, craving/desire, and when we yearn for things to be different than they are. We are experiencing a bit of this right now. We had booked the Mount Everest base camp trek. However, on reviewing the length, elevation (over 5000 metres at base camp), weather, and level of difficulty I knew it would prove to be to arduous for me. I am sad that J does not get to complete the trek. (I did offer to stay behind in Kathmandu but it did not seem like the best idea).

So instead we turned our Everest trek into a seven day trek in the Annapurna foothills plus a sightseeing flight near Everest to get a glimpse. We completed the flight early this morning. The mountains are quite majestic, but Mount Everest does not seem so big among the many giants. In the photo it is, obviously, the tallest most pointed one.

The Annapurna trek is very scenic and will pass sections of rhododendron blooms. We trek for about four hours or so every day and stay in tea houses (small hotel/lodges) at night. A porter hauls our gear and a guide leads us. A highlight of the trek is the view from poon hill.

But first things first. We have decided we need a little break. (I know, I know, we are traveling for a year, isn't that break enough?) The chaotic, dusty, noisy, ramshackle streets of Thamel, (central Kathmandu) are fun, exciting and full of quaint shops and great places to eat, but they are also tiring. I have started wearing a breathing mask, as the locals do, when on long walks. It seems to help my lungs a bit. For our break we are moving to the Hyatt for a week. It's on the edge of Kathmandu on several park like acres. It is also near the many Buddhist temples and the great Boudhanath Stupa, which we want to spend more time exploring. Thamel remains a short taxi ride away should we miss the chaos. I admit I am looking forward to consistent electricity and wifi, a tub, real pillows, maybe on occasion an elevator (although I am grateful for the exercise on the four flights of stairs to our current room), a pool, outdoor space, and less noise (I assume the generator will not be outside our window as it is now).

After a week at the Hyatt we will head to Bhutan for a one week tour. All travelers to Bhutan must be on an escorted tour. Closer to our departure I will share more of our itinerary. After Bhutan we return to Kathmandu for 2 nights before embarking on our Annapurna trek and then back to Kathmandu for about 2 nights. Then we will head to Europe somewhere, around mid-April.

- All photos are shot by me using my iPhone 4s and edited using instagram.
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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