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Adventures in Nepal, Part VII: Tal Barahi Temple

The next morning the sky was clear blue all the way to the horizon. And suddenly – HIMALAYAS.

The high triangular peak is Machhapuchchhre, a sacred mountain. The Nepali government doesn’t permit anyone to climb it.

Today’s photography lesson: mountainscapes.

After the class, Emma and Elizabeth took a boat ride out to Tal Barahi Temple on Phewa Tal’s little island.

Colorful Elizabeth is colorful.

The temple itself is small.

Elizabeth says that almost every temple she saw had fierce creatures like these guarding its entrance, always one male and one female.

FISH WATCH POINT

And back to shore.

To be continued!

Categories: Family, Friends, Holidays, kids, Life, Nepal, Travel, Weather | Tags: | 1 Comment

Adventures in Nepal, Part V: Disneyland!

Wednesday the 18th dawned sunny and clear. Elizabeth had heard about a local theme park in Lakeside, and was excited to go see it.

And here we have the completely legit and totally not fake Pokhara Disneyland:

A magical entryway to the Sketchiest Place on Earth.

Pluto’s face kills me.

Behold, the Magic Kingdom!

Can you feel the excitement?


It has the castle and everything!

So I got two different versions of the visit to “Pokhara Disneyland.”

Elizabeth has never met a theme park she didn’t like, and she thoroughly enjoyed her experience at this one.

Emma was like, “There is rust on everything and you can literally see and hear the unshielded belt turning the ferris wheel and it is not outside the realm of possibility that we may die on one of these rides.”

Nice views from the ferris wheel, though.

Elizabeth was undaunted by rust and squealing engine belts, and embraced the whimsy.

I absolutely adore that rainbow sweater. She had just bought it the day before, and it brightens up almost every photo for the rest of the Nepal trip.

Lunch break at a cafe in Lakeside…

…And then back for more squeaky, rust-covered fun. They say the whole theme park experience set them back about five bucks.

When Emma had had enough of Disneyland, they explored more of Lakeside.

I really like this panoramic shot Emma took of Phewa Tal.

Love, peace and property destruction.

Walking back to Sabita’s house. Look at the tangles of power lines everywhere.

Panoramic view from Sabita’s rooftop.

To be continued!

Categories: A Plethora of Parks, Family, Friends, Holidays, Humor, kids, Life, Nepal, Travel, Weather | Tags: | 1 Comment

Adventures in Nepal, Part IV: Basundhara Park

The next day was gray and rainy. (January 17th, if we’re keeping track.) Emma, Elizabeth and Bee Striit met the two Tibetan students at the hotel again for another photography class.

I like the grass-carpeted balcony!

When the lesson was done, our trio braved the weather and visited Basundhara Park in Lakeside.

This park entrance sign is another example of either ubiquitous ad placement or random tributes to popular brands.

Basundhara Park lies along the shores of Phewa Tal. On a clear day, the Himalayas loom majestically in the background. But even on a rainy day, the lake is beautiful.

Colorful boats!

Elizabeth and Bee Striit.

These boats all had Kit Kat ads on their canopies:

And back to the narrow streets of Nepal.

More to come!

Categories: A Plethora of Parks, Family, Friends, Holidays, Life, Love, Nepal, Travel, Weather | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Adventures in Nepal, Part III

This is Sabita’s neighborhood in Pokhara. Elizabeth says the light and air were lovely here compared to the heavy smog of Kathmandu.

I enjoy the random absurdity of this photo. Hello, abandoned toilet and loose cow.

On the morning of the 16th, Emma, Elizabeth and Bee Striit met up with two Tibetan students from Paljorling refugee camp to give them cameras and their first photography lesson.

It was a rainy day, so they met in a hotel near the camp.

After the lesson, Emma, Elizabeth and Bee Striit went shopping for a SIM card that would let Elizabeth use her phone in Nepal.

This looks like an indoor mall…

…but Nepal just has some really narrow streets!

I’m keeping these posts shortish because they’re image-heavy and some of our friends don’t have broadband. Stay tuned for more!

Categories: Family, Friends, Holidays, Life, Nepal, Travel, Weather | Leave a comment

Above, Below and Just Beyond Texas, Part II

Read Part I here!

We climbed Guadalupe Peak mostly in sunshine, and descended in deepening shadows.

Here is a better view of the bridge.

The shadows crept up the flanks of Hunter Peak across the canyon…

…and we knew that when the last rays of direct sunlight had left its summit, we would have about half an hour of twilight left before we were hiking in the dark.

But the scenery was even prettier in the “golden hour” light, so we couldn’t rush past it too quickly.

The splashes of crimson in the canyons are maple trees showing off their fall colors.

Coming down was a lot easier and faster than going up, at least until we hit that last 1.5 miles of steep switchbacks at the base. That is equally brutal in both directions.

We made it back to the trailhead before dark, but lost the last of the light on that extra mile back to the car. Not bad though, all things considered.

We drove the 27 miles back to the “primitive campground.” There were no new campers there, and one of the two other tents was gone now, leaving only our tent next to the probably-homeless-camp.

We had done what we came to do. Guadalupe Peak was vanquished. None of us felt that sticking around to hike Devil’s Hall was worth the hassle of finding a safe place to spend the night, especially since Luke had to be at work Monday morning. We decided to find the nearest gas station, fuel up and head home. We googled up a couple of places for gas in White’s City, but they looked super sketchy. The nearest legit-and-open station was in Carlsbad. We burned most of the last of our fuel getting to a gas station, filled the tank and turned the car for home.

Less than an hour into that drive, I realized that I had overestimated my stamina. I had put in a full work shift and climbed a mountain since my last real sleep, and now the road hypnosis was kicking in. I needed to stop and rest. We located a motel in the next town, Pecos. It was as good a place as any to spend the night.

Except that when we rolled up to the motel, it was permanently closed. We found another one not too far away, but no one answered the “Ring for Service” bell. All of the other motels in town cost at least $200 more than I wanted to spend on a few hours’ sleep. But by then I was dangerously drowsy, like, not at all safe to drive. So we found a truck stop just outside of town, parked out of the way and slept in the car. That was simultaneously the most uncomfortable and the most restorative night’s sleep I’ve had in a long time.

We woke up with sore muscles but otherwise refreshed, and resumed our journey home.

A couple hours later we saw a sign for the Caverns of Sonora. That looked like a good time, and it wasn’t out of the way, so we stopped to check it out.

We were greeted on the porch by this pretty fellow:

The Caverns of Sonora are pretty cool.

But the mountains were still singing in our souls, and on that day we had no particular passion for stalactites. I feel kind of bad for the tour guide and the guide-in-training. They were obviously very enthusiastic about their caverns and we totally lacked the proper sense of wonder and awe. Sorry guys, you were great tour guides anyway, and your caverns are lovely.

We left Sonora and continued homeward. After a while we decided we were tired of camp provisions and stopped in Fredericksburg for some really good German food at Der Lindenbaum.

So that was our weekend. Very much an exercise in the Rubber Ball Philosophy, but we enjoyed it a lot.

Addendum

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Categories: A Plethora of Parks, Animals, environment, Family, Holidays, kids, Life, Travel, trees, Weather | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

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