Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The end....

Well it's two hours before my taxi comes to take me to Kathmandu International Airport.... And I'm not ready. Well as usual I'm not not packed but that's not what I mean. I need more of this. I'm back in Kathmandu and Nepal after nearly ten years and it's the same fantastic place that it was back in 1996. The difference as we rolled across the border from Tibet was quite extraordinary. It was similar to when I watched the 1982 world cup final in colour after only seeing the previous games in black and white. Everything was so vivid in the Nepalese valleys after the dry, almost desert expanses of the Tibetan plateau. And the people were suddenly everywhere, the women in vibrant saris, the men carrying monstrous loads of who knows what. I love this place and I have to leave today.

Still in the meantime I've managed to do virtually nothing. Kathmandu is a travellers paradise... especially if all you want to do is eat, drink and buy dodgy travellers trousers. So that's what I've done, except of course the dodgy travellers trousers which I'd have burnt in an enormous conflagration if I could. To all those who were in Nepal with me back then it's exactly how it was, with a little more traffic perhaps and a few more internet cafes but the same random buildings, signs and people, the same outrageous scenery (who terraces the sides of those mountains) and the same friendly greetings of "Namaste" wherever you go.

So now it's coming to an end the highlights of this trip stand out quite clear. No not losing my passport in the mud, not the remarkable collection of taxi rides from hell that I had to endure and not the interesting variety of illnesses I was able to experience. No it was those moments such as the first view of Everest when the clouds momentarily cleared on a cool evening at base camp, or sitting on the roof seat of the truck as we bounced through another stunning Tibetan valley, or perhaps trying vainly to stop my horse in the high pastures of Krygystan or maybe even the 165m bungy jump at the Last Resort just over the border in Nepal (it's a long way to walk back up). I don't really know but I had a great time anyway. I'm sorry there are no painful misfortunes to read about this time but as my Nepali visa seems to have been issued to expire yesterday there may still be the chance of some fun.....

Until next time....

This was originally written on 28 August 2005. It is from my summer trip to Central Asia, China and Tibet.

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