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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

Weekly Sketch: J is for Juniper

I dabbled in color this week.

I’ve always known juniper berries were used to flavor gin, but I never really thought of them as edible until my uncle came to visit us in Austin and we took him hiking around Mount Bonnell. It had been a rainy winter, and the juniper berries were exceptionally big and round and vibrant. My uncle got very excited and started eating them right off the trees. So I tried some. To my surprise they were sweet and tasty, although the pits were a bit piney. I am now a fan of the humble juniper!

Categories: Artwork, environment, Family, food, Health, Life, Nutrition, trees, Weekly Sketch | Tags: | Leave a comment

Adventures in Nepal XI: Into the Sky, Part 1

The next day, Emma and Elizabeth went paragliding over Phewa Tal.

For those following the pandemic subplot, January 23 was the day China suspended all public transportation in Wuhan, including all outbound trains and flights. The mysterious virus was still just a story on the news for most people in the US, interesting but not particularly alarming.

The girls took a shuttle van from the hotel to a nearby mountaintop overlooking the lake. During the drive they filled out paperwork and received wooden tokens with the names of their pilots.

Paragliders circled over the mountainside like giant birds:

It gives me a Jurassic Park vibe, like a flock of colorful pterodactyls over a tropical island.

A trail leads from the shuttle dropoff site up to the takeoff point. No stairs this time!

Pre-takeoff selfie!

Getting rigged up.

Ready to fly!

And off they go!

To be continued!

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

Adventures in Nepal IX: A Stairway to Heaven, Part A

These Nepal posts are starting to feel like a work of historical non-fiction, like revisiting a world not yet overtaken by pandemic. Covid-19 is sweeping the globe, changing everything in its path. In just a few short weeks the death toll has climbed into the tens of thousands and is still rising exponentially.

Even so, I enjoy writing these posts. They’re a sweet reminder of simpler days, and of the beauty still waiting to be explored once the danger has passed.

On January 22 – the same day that China’s government announced a citywide quarantine of Wuhan – Emma and Elizabeth visited Shanti Stupa, the World Peace Pagoda.

Getting to the Pagoda is no simple undertaking. It involves buses and boats and many, many, many stairs.

Good morning, Paljorling Camp!

Good morning, picturesque sheep!

Good morning, Elizabeth!

This is a public bus in Pokhara:

The girls took the bus back to Lakeside…

and back to Phewa Tal.

The white dome on the mountaintop is the World Peace Pagoda. You have to climb the mountain to reach it. Not to worry, there are stairs. Lots and lots of stairs.

To get to the mountain, the girls rented a boat.

There are eateries and other amenities near the landing. Here’s a typical restaurant.

Heh.

Anyway, they found the trailhead and started up the mountain.

So many stairs.

Looking back down at the lake. I like this pic because it sorta looks like the boat is floating in the sky.

A view of Lakeside from the trail. There’s the little island with the Japanese temple!

There are lots of little rest stops and stupas and shrines all the way up the mountain.

And I’ve just about reached the limit of how many images I can cram into one post without making it impossible for my low-bandwidth peeps to access. So…to be continued!

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

Weekly Sketch: I is for Infection

These are interesting times.

Categories: Artwork, Covid-19, Health, Weekly Sketch | Leave a comment

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