From diary 6,
and the more distant areas in the east, I'm now closing in on Kathmandu.
6/2 While I try to get an auto to the right bus terminal, the
security guard from the hotel
me to come back with him. It turns out, someone have made an error,
and they believe I have stayed there for three days. I'm unlikely to
pay additionally 1000R, and after some time, they recognizes their
Back to the driver, who understood some English. He drives me to the
right place along the highway, and I get the good seat right inside
the door, despite the bus is full. Not sure how, but it was kind of
Up north to the big highway, and then straight west. The landscape is
flat and little farmed. After a hour, we reach the forest, and
besides from some huge openings and two cities, it remain forest for
the rest of the tour.
It is a quite undisturbed area, only a few settlements in the
clearings and next to the many rivers. Considering I'm in the
perfect seat, it is a pity here is so little to photo.
are not even any orchids in the many trees.
We reach the town Pathaiya at noon, and while
the bus head south, I get a tea brake along the highway. Here is not
really much to see, and I soon find another bus, heading my way;
is a short ride to Hetauda, but the landscape change character. From
the ultra flat Terai, it start to have hills: We have turned into
the foothills of the Himalayas. I have a seat in the middle of the
bus, but I hope for both a better seat and a more sights, as we start
the true assent after Hetauda.
Hetauda is a surprisingly big and modern city. I do a few loops
around the terminal, but I kind of seen it all.
It is quite difficult to find the right bus to the nearby Daman
(accordantly to my map: Around 20 Km!). Finally, I am told to take
an auto to
another terminal. Here, two totally worn-down busses and a almost new
mini-bus are parked. First, I get a seat in one of the old busses, but it
is my favourite seat. Then, after quite some time, tea and biscuits,
I'm told; it is the new one, going to Daman. Bit of a bummer:
It is already full, and I can't see anything outside, but a meter of sealing. Well, it is a short tour
on the Tribhuvan Highway - I thought. Three and a half hour
later, I can feel some motion-signees, but at least not as bad as
some others. I have a clear feeling of,
I have missed a fantastic mountain-road. We have claimed more than
2000 metres, and I think we followed a white river for the first
bit. We are so pressed together, I can't bend down to have a peak
out, and my head hit the sealing. I'm about half a meter higher then
the rest - except the short ones.
At five, we finally reach the mountain village Daman (elev. 2322m).
It is a tiny village with a great view! It is only 80
kilometres southwest of Kathmandu, and I guess it will be teaming
with tourists in the season. Right now, I'm alone as usual. I'm
dropped at the real expensive resort, but the place I have chosen is
real close bye. Here are actually only three places to stay, and I go
for the Sherpa House. It is a little house with three
spotless and real cosy rooms, facing
the Mountain Botanical Garden. I can spot some of the red flowering
and with a bit of luck, they have started flowering all over the
I get a cup of tea, and start working, while my hosts prepare supper
in the same room: Cosy! It is a bit cold - to say it nice. The sun
kind of vanished, just when I got here, and then the temperature
drops fast. Half pass six, it is 11C, but the host have a great
trick: He places a bowl with glowing coal under the table, and I
start to feel alive again.
The toilet/bath is a tin-plate sheet in the back garden - but real
clean - sure glad
I don't have to use it during the night!
My hosts are so nice, and the supper they prepare is traditional and
real tasty. They go to bed a eight, while I wait a bit, despite the
glows underneath me had died. I give up when the temperature pass
13C - on the way down. I wished I have brought one of the
rubber-bags for hot water. Sure would come in handy by now!
7/2 I did not get enough to drink
yesterday, and I have to sneak down the the kitchen twice during the
night, to get some water. I just hope I'm taking it from the right
bucket? Besides from that, I get a real good night's sleep on what
is probably the best madras on the entire tour. Considering the early bedtime
on one hand, and the need for the sun's warmth, I asked
for breakfast at seven.
The grass in the front-garden is covered in frosting, but it does
not feel that cold. The sun has been shining clear and bright for a
hour, and that make all the different. While the temperature does
not exceed 13C during the day, I feel as it is 25-30C - as long as I
am in the sun.
omelette, I head up to the viewing tower. The light is changing
I think I made it in time. It is a 180 degree view of the
Himalayas, even Mount Everest can be seen, way out to the east. I
spend quite some time, taking a lot of pictures, just alike. I try to
capture the waste valley, but is is simply too big.
Then I head down the road, leading to Kathmandu. It is just as
serpentined on this side of the pass, and I look forward for that
tour tomorrow - if I get a a seat.
The villagers are slowly starting to peek outside, and their animals
are enjoying the sun. The bushes and trees along the twisting road
is mainly made up by different oaks and Rhododendrons. Underneath is a
few flowering plants, one is minute as can be.
I find a few Dendrobiums, and some ferns, but not that much.
On the way back, I make a shortcut - well, seen from above. It
actually leads all the way out on a ridge, then down the gorge and
up the other side. Here, it is mainly pine trees and
On the way home, I try to find a restaurant with milk and some sort
of bread. That turns out to be a challenge, and I have to do with
While I sit enjoying it, several women are passing bye with huge
bags on their backs. They contain dried leaves "for the goats to
sleep on". Underneath the big bag are fresh oak branches for the
goats to eat.
I pass my hotel on the way back to drop the
winter cloth, and pass the street to the Mountain Botanical Gardens.
It comprise over 78 hectares of
mainly forest. In February to Marts, the national flower; the
Rhododendron is in flower. I have seen some of the
first flowers being open in the previous botanical gardens, but at
lower altitude. Up here, they are starting, and it is truly a great
Besides from that, it might have been a great botanical garden once,
but now it is more a park. And an awesome one! It is located in a
vast gorge, and most of the sides are made into terraces. That could
be a part of former farming?
are a few greenhouses and a open orchid house, but I am clearly here
on the wrong time of the year. I walk the upper part with the
buildings, then I head down the gorge. A small creek crosses the
trail, before it head up again. A single cherry-tree is partly
covered in orchids, and a few other are found around other trees.
Only the local
arboreum is flowering now.
The five species from Sikkin are a bit later, I guess.
Another impressive flowering species it the Berberisa
In the wild part, I find a pretty Selaginella and a
terrestrial orchid, but not much else, but the fantastic landscape.
After noon, I head back the road I came by last
afternoon. It is just as great, and here are more flowering
Rhododendrons. I can't really determine what kind of rock the
area is made of. It look a bit like granite, but also like slightly
grained limestone? Could be some sort of volcanic ash?
I find some narrow tracks, leading away from the sealed road.
Probably from the gathering of firewood and dead leaves. A few big
clusters of Dendrobiums sit rather low in the trees.
A few kilometres up the road, I reach the entrance for the local
monastery; Shree Rikheshwar Mahadev Tempal. It is a long walk
through the forest, both up and dawn. From time to time, the
fantastic mountains can be seen through the trees, and then the
praying flags take over.
It is a pilgrim place, and here are around 20 people, praying and
offering. Some from India, some from Bhutan. Here is a secret well
and a drawing on a rock-wall. And of cause; bells and statues. Round
a corner, I find some small, moss-overgrown statues, which seems to
be forgotten. Some monks should live here, and it does look like
someone is. On the way out, I find a trail leading to a small stupa.
I passes my hotel on the way down, to get a milk-tea. Then it is
back to work. I have walked the trails and roads around the place,
and after six hours walking, it is time to sit down anyway.
disappears behind the ridge before four, and then the 13C can be
felt, and it soon drops further! When it pass 10C at six, I break
out my Michelin-man-suit. Soon after, my host bring the bawl with
glowing coal, and life worth living once again.
Daman is a truly great place, even in the winter. Fantastic views,
great nature and so peaceful. My hosts are fantastic people, and the
even speak English. But two days are enough for restless
Then I show my hosts some of my
pictures: They name a country, and I show them my best photos from
When they retire at eight, I start choosing the best 100 - make it
200 - photos from Nepal. After that, I make a page about the local
botanical garden and one with the still un-named
8/2 A good, long night's sleep, and I'm
ready for the
tour to Kathmandu. Unfortunately, the first bus passes
bye, as I eat breakfast, and the next is two and a half hour later. I
walk down to the central part of town - where three huts stand quite
close. Time for milk-tea and some homemade, sweet rings, made with
rice-flower and cooked in oil.
Then I start on making an estimate on my next years work, while the
women carry huge loads of dried leaves and firewood bye. The
roosters, hens and chicks are busy, trying to find scraps around,
while the dogs just bask in the sun. While I sit here for a couple
of hours, a oil-truck with kids on, another truck and a small
car passes bye - it is truly a quiet place!
I am looking forward for a hot shower - or shower for that matter,
and some internet, but I rather prefer the tranquillity and great
nature around here.
Just before ten, the mist overtake the scene from the sun, and it
turns cold again. The sun only peak through a few times on the
entire tour to Kathmandu. I recon I've been lucky with the weather
The bus is almost on time, and I even get a seat.
Some more people get on the next kilometre, and the last ones don't.
I had though of walking ahead, good thing I didn't. And then again;
It turns out this bus only connect to the bigger village, nine
kilometres down; Palung. If I had known that, I would have
walk instead of waiting. The nine kilometres tour took a hour and a
half. It was a truly steep decent, and the views fantastic. The
winding road leads down through pine- and oak forest, endless
terraces, tiny settlements and unspoiled nature on the most steep
areas. The Tribhuvan Highway from Hetauda to Naubise it worth the
time - if you got a good seat and a steady stomach.
I'm guided to the ticket office - a dirty, rusty, decaying hut. They
are happy to sell me a seat on the next bus for Kathmandu - in two
hours. Nothing to do, but walk around the rather busy village, drink
milk-tea and make some photos. A cherry tree is in full flower along
with some yellow flowering bushes.
All the terraces are prepared for sowing. It look like potato
fields, but I think it is to prevent the crop from drowning, and in
the same time being able to water them as rice-fields.
The bus is here early, but I prefer to stretch my
legs, not sitting crammed together more than I have to. I get on
when the engine starts, and find my seat, which turns out to be in
the middle of the bus. The bus take of seven minutes before time,
but it is pretty full anyway.
The road now leads through small but steep hills. They are greatly
farmed in terraces, but still barren for now. Then we meet another
mountain range, and we climb through endless pine forests. On the
other side, the same familiar type of terraces with "potato fields"
continues. After some time, we hit a narrow valley, then the climb
to the ridge of the Kathmandu valley begins. The clouds have now
overtaken the mist, and the temperature falls with the assent.
After 67 kilometres and four hours, the bus terminate in the
south-western corner of Kathmandu. I had a plan about using my usual
hotel, and I quite fast find a connection city-bus.
We pass some familiar places, and I ask the ticket-boy, but he tell
me to sit back and relax. I might just recognise them from one of
the tours I have made within the city? Finally, he give me the
signal, and I jump off at a big and really unfamiliar square. I
check a couple of the business signs; they say Chabahil! Well, I
asked to go to Thamel, and that does sound like Chabahil, right?
I find a new bus, heading back to the familiar sights. I start
walking, but it is dark, and I'm not really sure of the location.
That is good business for a trishaw driver, who make 100R on the
relatively short drive. I'm greeted by the manager, who remembered I
had said; I'll be back on the tenth.
It is half pass six, and I just check emails before I find my
favourite restaurant, which ought to have my favourite band playing
on Sundays. But they don't. That don't stop me in enjoying a
It feels a bit wired: Here are almost as many tourists as locals -
even in "my" hotel.
Then it is back to work.
I figure I might as well can make a
slideshow from Daman.
After work, I can't find the energy to seek out for a cup of tea.
The mountain-driving sit in me like a day at sea. The hot shower I have been looking
forward for, is a no-show due to the missing sun. That won't stop me
from having a hot bath!
I still have my dip-cooker.
9/2 Knowing breakfast is served late
in Kathmandu, I take it easy in the morning. Sorting out all
my gear, and do some work, before I head out in the city. Then back
to start on the big accounting. I real nice Croatian photographer
ask for some hints to the country, and we end up talking till two in
Then I head out in the city for tea, and I decide
to treat my self with a bigger statue, if I can find the right one.
It is not like Kathmandu don't have statues! But I just want
something nicer. I finally find a shop who not only have one, but
three I like. Unfortunately, they are all made of ivory, which I
won't buy, and the
price is there after! I have defiantly not seen anything else in
ivory, and these are ancient. One is a Ganesh, the two others are
with dragons on.
The next statue I find is in metal, but it turns out it is several
hundreds years old and just as silly expensive. Why is it always
I find a square with a huge stuba, I haven't seen before - or don't
recall. It is Shree Gha, and it is a nice one. I get some more tea,
but I completely fail to find a statue I like - and can/will afford.
sun disappears, and the temperature drops. Somehow, I manages to
keep warm enough in my long sleeved T-shirts, but it reminds me, I
want one of the thin goose down jackets. The cheep ones is 2500R,
and I can probably get them down to 18-2000R. But the sleeves are too
short - as usual. One shop has both an owner who don't give up, and
some genuine The North Face. Long sleeves, but 6000R. We spend
quite some time negotiating a price on 3500R. Less than a
tenth of the price at home.
I passes my hotel around seven, and then find some supper. I
remember something about my favourite band playing this Monday,
because they didn't play Sunday. And they are. I chat with two of
the musicians, and not surprisingly, they are music teachers, and have gigs
on recordings and one have just been on tour in Europe. I spend the
evening listening to them, and drinking masala tea.
Then it is back to work on photos, and NOT planning tomorrow. I original had a
plan about seeing Nuwakot; "An untouched gem of a village". At
present, I think I have seen enough of them. I also thought about taking
one of the flights around Everest, but I have seen snow covered
mountains enough by now.
I rather continue my
work on the accounting, and cruising around in Kathmandu's tourist
area and old town, drinking milk-tea. And I might get a tailor to
slim-line my new jacket a bit. XL is fine over the shoulders and
sleeves, but around my stomach; it is way too loose, and I don't
like the hut!
10/2 After breakfast, I finish the
The few things I want to get sown, might be sown here at 1/20 of the
price, and I find a
While he works, I head down his street; one of the non-tourist ones.
No sealing and lots of cars, none sidewalk. A photographer's studio
is surrounded by wedding guests. Besides from that, I don't really
se anything new.
the hunt for a great looking statue for little money, is a foot. I go
through the tourist streets quite systematic, and I soon learn which
shops are worth visiting. It is those with second hand things. Some
are 500 years or older. Not that surprisingly, they all have some
ivory work in a draw. When one of them pull his draw out, a rat
jumps out of it. Then your expectations are lowered a bit. He unpack
two 20 centimetre statues with an incredible amount of details and
finish! I have no intention of buying ivory, but I must admit; I
admire the craftsmanship, which have gone into this old statues. And it the
legal madder wasn't enough to control me, the $10.000 is for sure!
At some point, I find out, it is the old bone carvings that have,
what I want. But I am not willing to spend 12.000R on a piece of
bone - carved or not. After a lot of shops, I give up, and settle
for a metal statue. Not much easier, and when I get the price down
from 8.000R to 3.500R on a rather nice Ganesh, I settle for that.
Soon after, I find a nice, old bone carving which originates from a chaman's religious necklace. I spend quite some time saving 5.000R,
but the result is satisfactory. Despite I don't look anymore, I end
up in a shop who have some of the large bone carvings. And his price
is 1/6 of the others! I have to buy one.... Then I avoid those shops
like the plague!
Most of the day have gone, and the rest is spend walking the old
Thamel district. Here are so many nice motives, but I have covered
them by now.
Supper at a local joint: A huge plate of tasty fried noodles with quite
some boneless chicken for 1,20R - €1. Then it is time to go home and work -
if the power was on. Instead, I do one more loop, and as usual, I
find new roads in the waste area Thamel is.
When the power returns on the scheduled time 19;45, I start working.
To my big surprise, I don't freezes anymore, despite the temperature
in my room is 15,6C. Plan for tomorrow; Well, breakfast and then....
11/2 It is slow start
on the day, but
my plans are limited anyway. I get warmed up by the sun as I eat
breakfast on a roof-top restaurant - as usual. Then back to work for
some time, till the sun get down on the narrow streets. I head for
the old part of Thamel, and try to improve some of my pictures. Tea
breaks in the sun, long talks with business owners, who are so
bored. Not by me, but the lack of customers!
I see yet another wedding parade: First a real loud orchestra, then
the decorated car followed by the fancy dressed guests.
Back in the
tourist area, one more guy ask me, if I want some hash. I usually
ignore them, but this one is a bit too persistent, and I ask him:
"Do I look like a drug addict to you?". Unfortunately, he get a bit
confused, and answer "Yes!". Big mistake! I think he will be a bit
more careful, in the future...
At three, the sun disappears in a mist, and I get the last beams on
a rooftop, sipping milk-tea. Back to have a hot shower while it is
possible, and stuff the back-pack with everything. And "stuff" it
truly to word! I really hope I get it undisturbed through
Then I make the last slideshows:
Kathmandu Part 3,
The People, and
Supper at the Black Olive; Creamy Penne with mushrooms and
chicken, followed by a apple pie with vanilla ice and several masala-teas.
I'm the only customer, and I have a long talk with two of the
employees. One is well in to politic, and I learn quite a lot, which
is not visible to tourists. 120 parties, old kingdoms, old
languages, religion, China/India and much more, hinder this country
in developing as fast and smooth as it could.
It is a cold evening, and only the bonfire make the restaurant cosy.
At eight, I return to work some more, and try to upload the
slideshows and other pages.
12/1 Not much
sleep during the night (never with a set alarm), but at least, the taxi is on time, and I
even get a big American breakfast in the airport before take-off. I
got 800R left, and it cost 750R - perfect. Except from the 13% tax.
The waiter will draw the remaining on my Visa-card. But he draw the
entire amount, and I can't figure what to do with the cash. I ask
him to change it, but he offers to change it into US$. I agree, but
then it turns out his dollars have gone, but I can change down
stairs. Yes, half a hour after my flight have taken off.
The flight is on time, and three films later, I'm in Istanbul. I am
now updated on Hercules, X-men and a dubious modern American vision
of Sherlock Holmes.
They have some great changing machines in Istanbul - only dealing
with $, € and the local wooden-slides. The two manned counters are
not any more useful. My bank at home might do it, but I have to pay
Anyway, two hours to spend, and I can't find a better way, than
consuming a banana-chocolate cake and some tea. The gate changes
constantly, from one end of the huge airport to the other.
Not much delayed, we fly towards Denmark. I get to see a long action
film, then we are there. Two trains connect perfectly in Copenhagen,
and I'm home at six - in a cold, dark and boring place.
On the entire tour round Nepal, Bhutan,
Bangladesh and India, I have only taken 7855 photos - way less than
I use to. Less than half of them can be found online. It has been a
great experience, despite the cold weather. Considering I freezes
way more than others, I am baffled about the lack of tourists in
wintertime. Here ought to be way more people, enjoying the clear and
I came here to learn about how plants cope with the climate, and I
have indeed learned a lot! The relations between temperature,
altitude, sun and other factors, suddenly give a whole new
perspective to growing high altitude plants.
The price of 27.500DKK; €3700 (+ some gear which can be used in the
future) is a bargain for knowledge like this!