Proud Potato

Damaste  all!

The medicine I got in Kathmandu seems to work and I can proudly announce that after 6 months of stinky yellow goo I manged to produce a POTATO today. HOORAY! :D

Anyway, after 3 days of cycling (two days uphill) through lush hills and tiny lively villages I arrived the day before yesterday in Pokhara at the feet of the Annapurna Himal. The trip was beautiful with stunning views on the rain forests and the Himalaya.
Pokhara itself is a BIG tourist trap but the location is very pretty with BIG lakes and beautiful mountains and nature so I will spend some time here. Today I will rent a kayak and tomorrow I will hike around the lake to take some pics so if I have time I will put them online before I leave for Bardia National Park so stay tuned! I’m off to row row row the boat :)



Damaste all!

The last days I waited for my visa from the Indian embassy and the medical reports because of “my little problem”. It turns out that I perhaps have tropical sprue and I now get tetracycline and folic acid so wait and see.

In the meantime I visited Kathmandu, a huge town full with people, culture and LOTS of LOUT and STINKY traffic (a 24h traffic jam basically) . It is a great city to hang out and there are lots of beautiful places to visit, especially the durbar squares. In the 18th century there was a big rivalry between the bordering city Patan (now part of Kathmandu) who could build the nicest city resulting in a wealth of beautiful buildings and squares. At the same time Kathmandu was (and is) a very important city for both Hindus and Buddhists leaving the city with the Hindu Pashupatinath temple complex and the Buddhist Swoyambhunath and Boudnath stupas and TONS of smaller shrines, temples, statues etc throughout the city.

Pashupatinath is dedicated to Vishnu, the ultimate god of creation and destruction (BIG BOSS) and one of the main deities of Hinduism. The complex is a lively busy place where people worship, are married, cremated etc etc and it has a similar atmosphere as Varanasi in India. It is full with Lingu (shrines) for fertility etc etc and statues of the different avatars of Vishnu and of his servant Hanuman, the monkey god.

The stupas are way more tranquil with pilger making there Kora around the stupas turning the praying wheels as they go along. The Boudnath stupa is the second largest in the world (the largest is in Sri Lanka) and visited by many pilger from all over the globe. In a stupa the large dome symbolized the emptiness from which everything emanates and the 13 steps on the top the different levels to enlightenment, the “crown” on the stupa. The big watchfull eyes painted on the temple represents Buddha watching your doings.

Yesterday I received my visum for India so tomorrow I will leave the crowded Buddhist, Hindu and hippy city of Kathmandu. Kathmandu is a great place to hang out as it has a huge amount of restaurants and shops with food from all over the world (the even have brezel and zimt-schnecken here) but it is time to move on. The next days I will cycle to Pokhara and from there through the Terrai (jungle planes ) to Mahendranagar in the far west. During the tour I will do some trekking and safaris so stay tuned for some tiger and rhino pics (who knows). In the meantime enjoy lively Kathmandu :)


Cold Rush

Damaste all!

I made is from the icy snow swept mountains of Tibet to the lush hot rain forests of Nepal and I am now relaxing between the banana trees in Kathmandu :-)

As I was running out of time I took the bus to Lahze but just before leaving I suddenly was not allowed to put my bike on the bus by the driver. So I told him that the police had ordered me to leave and then is was OK. So China is really the country of Meo. As soon as you want things a little different it is always Meo=No because of rules or just because they are to lazy or unimaginative (brain dead).

Anyway I made it to Lhaze and had to cycle to the border in 6 days. This should not have been a big problem weren’t it for the fact that Tibet played its joker: stormy, ice cold headwinds. Especially on the first pass (Lhakpa La, 5252m) it was EXTREMELY windy and I could not cycle the intended 60km and camped at 4900m with -10C in the tent. So 1:0 for Tibet once again. The following two days it was the same and I was getting as little nervous as in China you better don’t get visa problems so I started early and tried to stay in tunnels or villages as much as possible to safe time. On this part of the road I met for the first time begging Tibetans, a side effect of the mass tourism on the friendship highway. I did not gave them anything as it starts with asking for sweets and it ends with dollars.

The third day I had a very special view as I could see the Mount Everest range for the first time and that thing is HUGE, really impressive. The same day the asphalt disappeared after Dingri and gave way to the classic washboard road although compared to the Axai Chin the road was good and finally there there was no wind so I could make some progress.
The next day however was a completely different story at it started out windy and I had to climb the 5030m high Lahlung La but because of the ever increasing wind I did not make it on time. to make things worse my chain got of the chain ring in the dark and I had to fix it at -10C, great fun :-/ So in the end I had to stay in a small ‘coffin tunnel’ at 5000m, brrrr.
The following day it was the same with at the final pass (Thong La, 5131m) the MOST DISGUSTING UNBELIEVABLE ICE COLD FREEZING STORMY headwinds I have had in Tibet:

The pass is fully exposed from all sides so the wind was howling like crazy so I had to push my 50 kg bike all the way to the pass with temperatures reaching -20C. Together with the lack of oxygen it took a loooong time and on the way down I even got caught in a blizzard at 4500m so I had to camp in a tunnel. 2:0 for Tibet.

Luckily from this pass it’s more than 3000m downhill (the longest on earth) and the last day the weather was great so I could cycle like crazy to the border. Going down this road is very exiting as the landscape changes from the extreme alpine climate to subtropical within one day! In the morning yaks and -10C, in the evening monkeys, banana trees and 30C, unbelievable!
Near the Nepali border the snow was melting and the road turned into a big slippery mud party so I had to be very careful or I had ended up 200m below in the roaring Koshi River but I made it on time. Hear the sound of the river:
In Nepal I entered a completely other world, Hindus, crowded, hot, flowers, humid etc etc. A BIG shock after almost 2 month Tibet. I arrived at the right time however as it was Divalle (Hindu new year) so people were singing  and going from door to door so time to party!
The next days I had to work again but I took it slowly and cycled to Kathmandu in 3 days as there were still some passes to cross.

So now I am in Kathmandu and I stay in tourist-ghetto Thamel to relax and organise my visum for India. In the meantime I am a tourist again so I am sure I will make LOTS of pictures so stay tuned and enjoy the pictures of Tibet and Nepal :-)



Tashe dele all,

I am finally back in Zongba, woonhooo! And as all travelers in the universe know Douglas Adams was right once again: DON’T PANIC! and everything will be fine :-)

I travelled from Lhasa to Shigatze and from there to Lahze in one day, not a bad thing. From then on I was illegal as it is forbidden to hitch in Tibet and even more to hitch to the west. The following day I managed to get an illegal hitch to the crossroads between Nepal and Tibet and started hiking a little past the checkpoint to avoid being seen. After a while I found a nice hitching spot near an abandoned building and started hitching. After one hour I was lucky and got a ride by a Chinese tourist group and after two days I safely arrived here in Zongba and I am safely reunited with Mouse once again :-)

Buying a ticket back to Shigatze was a problem again (how I HATE that brain dead boring stupid ticket seller) so I had to go to the police once AGAIN. It turned out they were having a Jangamo party somewhere (Tibetan police :-p) so I went there and talked to the bigwig and got permission to travel. Hooray! So tomorrow I will ‘officially’ travel to Shigatze but I will try to get of the bus a little earlier in Lahze and cycle from there over the Friendship Highway to the Nepalese border. I only have 6 days but it will be enough.

So I will be cycling again the next days and will thus first update the site in Kathmandu. See you all there :-) I posted a few more pictures (not a lot as I was running/riding aound most of the time) so in the meantime have fun!

Kale sho,