Friends

Adventures in Nepal XVII: Back to Kathmandu

While we were sorting through the photos for this post, I realized that I am hopelessly confused about the family relationships between all of the friends Elizabeth made at Paljorling Camp. I think the older couple that I credited in an earlier post as part of “the family next door” are actually the couple in whose home Elizabeth and Emma stayed, but I’m sure the younger man is their son and Elizabeth says he definitely lived next door with two brothers and someone she thought was his mother. I may never figure out who is related to who and in what way, but I deeply regret any hurt feelings I may have unintentionally caused by misidentifying people in earlier posts. I am so grateful for the kindness and hospitality Elizabeth received during her stay among the Tibetans. She returned home with a lively light in her eyes that had been missing for too long.

On January 28, their last morning in Pokhara, Emma and Elizabeth had breakfast with the family next door.

Then they all said their formal goodbyes.

The khatag is a traditional Tibetan silk scarf that is presented ceremonially on special occasions, in this case the parting of friends.

A family member drove the girls to meet their bus.

Goodbye Pokhara!

Goodbye Himalayas!

It’s a long eight-hour bus ride from Pokhara to Kathmandu. But the scenery is nice, even in the rain.

The Prithvi Highway follows the winding course of the Trishuli River from Pokhara to Kathmandu. I only know the name of the river because I just now looked it up, and I also found this reassuring paragraph on Wikipedia: “Trishuli River is also one of the dangerous river of Nepal. The curvy Prithvi Highway is a bad fate for many Nepalese people traveling to and back from the capital. Every year, several buses and trucks fall and disappear into this wild river, making the corridor a dangerous pass for people.”

The bus stopped for lunch at the Riverside Springs Resort

The girls stretched their legs and had a nice lunch, and then continued on.

Their bus did not fall into the river, so that was nice. But after they arrived in the city and checked into the Kathmandu Guest House, Emma mentioned in our Messenger group chat that she was not feeling well. Fever, weakness, fatigue.

I made some awkward coronavirus jokes and then said that maybe she should wear a mask to be on the safe side. We speculated on what would happen if she still had a fever at flight time. Elizabeth said nothing during the chat, but told me later that she had felt ill too. They both went to bed early and had a restful sleep.

That same evening, a senior medical adviser at the US Department of Veterans Affairs wrote in a group email to public health experts in the governmennt and universities, “Any way you cut it, this is going to be bad.┬áThe projected size of the outbreak already seems hard to believe.”

More to come!

Categories: Family, food, Friends, Holidays, kids, Life, Love, Nepal | Leave a comment

Adventures in Nepal XVI: International Mountain Museum

January 27 was an eventful day in the Covid-19 saga. A prominent virologist in Hong Kong gave a three-hour presentation on YouTube basically warning everyone that the new virus was way worse than people thought. First cases popped up in a few more countries. The first confirmed asymptomatic transmission was reported in Germany. In the US, the Surgeon General dismissed the coronavirus as “low-risk” and urged Americans not to worry about it. The President was likewise unconcerned.

Emma and Elizabeth were following the news, but at that point it was an interesting story to monitor as it unfolded rather than something to actively worry about. This was they day they visited the International Mountain Museum.

They wandered for a bit, trying to find a bus going in the right direction.

Eventually they found a bus and got to the museum.

Adorable girls are adorable.

The museum grounds are lovely.

Blep!

This mandala is made entirely of colored sand!

Too sexy for my beads.

More derpy taxidermy.

Is…is that a Yeti?

This is a really pretty museum. I’m keeping this post reasonably short, but the girls took billions of great photos here.

There is a temple inside the museum.

Outside, a scale model of Mt. Manaslu and Machapuchare (Fishtail Peak, the highest point in the Annapurna range) lets visitors try their hands at mountain-climbing.

This was the girls’ last full day in Pokhara. On the 28th they returned to Kathmandu to begin the long journey home. I am so glad that they got to share this experience before the virus surged and the lockdowns started.

To be continued!

Categories: Animals, Artwork, Covid-19, Friends, Health, Holidays, kids, Life, Nepal, Travel | Tags: | 2 Comments

Adventures in Nepal XV: Sunday Drive

Elizabeth has spoken fondly of “the family next door” to where she and Emma stayed in Paljorling Camp. Pressed for details, she just says that they’re really nice. This family next door is still kind of a mystery for me.

On January 26, the family next door took the girls out for a drive around Pokhara.

Scenes from an SUV window:

Elizabeth liked the narrow, winding roads.

They visited Pema Tsal Sakya Monastery.

The Family Next Door:

The monastery sits on a hilltop, with sweeping views of the surrounding area.

Moobs!

The colorful cloth squares are prayer flags.

RAWR!

The Prayer Wheel.

I like the peacock embellishments on the gray building.

Back in the SUV. The view out the window is mustard crops; mustard oil is a popular condiment in Nepal.

Horsie!

The ubiquitous Phewa Tal

Pretty wall

This is the room Emma and Elizabeth stayed in at Paljorling Camp. So cozy!

Meanwhile, on this day the U.S. confirmed three more cases of Covid-19, bringing the nationwide total up to five confirmed cases. No one was worried yet.

To be continued!

Categories: Artwork, Dragons, Friends, Holidays, Life, Love, Nepal, Travel | Leave a comment

Adventures in Nepal XIV: Gupteshwor Mahadev Cave

The stream called Pardi Khola flows from the Phewa Tal Dam and rambles through Pokhara before running underground, over Patale Chhango and through the sacred Gupteshwor Mahadev Cave. The waterfall and the cave are a short walk apart, each with their own colorful entries to lure in visitors.

After Emma and Elizabeth had seen Patale Chhango, they did some shopping before visiting the cave. Emma was searching the shops for a particular item her mother had requested. Elizabeth wanted to find a Tibetan restaurant for lunch, having developed a preference for Tibetan food over the spicier Nepali fare.

The fancy red archway in the next pic is the entrance to the outer temple at Gupteshwor Mahadev Cave.

Walk past the archway and continue around the corner, and you can look down into the temple courtyard.

There are four Tibetan settlements in Pokhara. One of them, Tashi-Ling, is just up the road from Gupteshwor Mahadev.

Colorful mural on a city street.

Lunch destination acquired!

Yum!

After lunch they returned to explore the temple and cave.

The temple architecture is really beautiful.

This is a statue of Lord Vishnu sleeping on the coils of the thousand-headed serpent king Ananta. But to me it looks like Trump having a bad hair day.

Adorable Elizabeth is adorable. Moo cow!

Going underground:

Signs were posted requesting that people not take photos inside the sacred cave. Emma and Elizabeth mostly complied with this, but they (and everyone else in the cave) did get this pic of the stream flowing in from Patale Chhango.

This awesome Ganesha stature was near the outer temple exit:

More to come!

Categories: Artwork, food, Friends, Holidays, Life, Nepal, Travel | Tags: | Leave a comment

Adventures in Nepal XIII: Patale Chhango

On January 25, Emma and Elizabeth went to see a waterfall.

Interesting backstory: a Swiss couple with the surname Davis went swimming there in 1961, and the wife drowned. English-speaking visitors started calling the place “Davis Falls.” In the Nepali language, this is commonly pronounced as “Devis.” Also, “Dev” and “Devi” are popular names in Nepal. So now, when you try to find out what the waterfall’s actual damn name is so you can write a blog post about it, you find the waterfall listed on various sites as Devi’s Fall, Devis Falls, Davis Falls, Hell’s Falls or its Nepali name, Patale Chhango, which means “Underworld Waterfall.”

The girls took a colorful Pokhara bus to their destination.

Just a guy out walking his water buffaloes.

A theme park has developed around the waterfall…

…featuring a scale model of the Annapurna mountain range…

…assorted shrines and tributes…

…a “luck pond,” or what we would call a wishing well…

(try to land your coin on the little platform in the center for good luck)

…some fun photo ops…





…and a traditional Nepali house.

Adorable Emma is adorable.

Finally, down to see the falls.

The stream flows from Phewa Tal, eventually forming a tunnel in the rock and creating a semi-underground waterfall that you can only see from a certain angle. Here’s a pretty section of cliff wall along the descent:

The stream in its deepening bed:

First glimpse of the fall:

There it is!

Shortly after the fall, the stream flows into Gupteshwor Mahadev Cave…but that’s another blog post.

Back up to the surface.

Bonus pic of the friendship bracelets from the Tibetan weaver:

To be continued!

Categories: environment, Friends, Holidays, Life, Nepal, Travel | Tags: | 3 Comments

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