Thursday, December 22, 2011

intern takes a trip: nepal part 4

namaste!! so, guess what that little mountain in the photo above is? the highest one with the balding top on the left? yep, that is mt. everest! yep, the mount everest! the day after completing my habitat build i decided to hop on a tiny little 19 seat plane to check this beauty out! it was recommended that i take the earliest morning flight out of the kathmandu airport for the best view. the earliest flight was scheduled to depart at 6:50 am yet it didn't actually depart until 10:30 due to fog.  during my almost 5 hours at the airport i spent some time chatting with some nice guys from ohio waiting for their flight to lulka so that they could begin their 18 day trek to mt. everest basecamp. somehow i didn't feel as cool about flying up to see it when chatting with them about my 1 hour roundtrip journey but i felt slightly redeemed in their eyes when i mentioned i was exhausted from having built houses in a remote village for the last 2 weeks. oh, and be warned, if you do book a flight like this be sure to not have reserved a seat in row 3, right smack over the wing. sadly the flyer chat website doesn't really cover the everest mountain flights because if they did it would most definitely be deemed undesirable! at least the flight attendant took pity on me and allowed me one extra visit to the cockpit for viewing and that was pretty cool!
view from the cockpit
oh, and you may have heard about a smidge of political unrest in nepal these last few days... well, shortly after returning from my mt. everest adventure my roommate and i decided to grab lunch and sightsee a bit in kathmandu (we both happened to be staying in nepal a few days following to build).  so, we're having lunch in a restaurant in town and all of a sudden they start closing the metal gates over the windows and doors in the restaurant. it is at this point that we notice all of the shops and restaurants on the street doing the same thing.  when we asked what the deal was we were told that there was a strike.  i didn't think much of that but my roomie is from south africa and used to dealing with unrest and decided then and there that we must pay the check and leave immediately to return to the safety of our hotel.  my initial response was "really? are you sure you're not overreacting? our food just arrived..."  well, needless to say i followed her lead and hightailed it out of there. it was nuts how empty the streets became so quickly (see photo above).  kathmandu is normally full of crazy chaos and crowds of people and motorbikes and this was pretty eerie.  while hanging out at the hotel we were receiving emails from other friends from our habitat team who got caught up in the strike madness, witnessed burning tires in the streets, etc. and their taxis couldn't make it through the mess to get them to the airports. we even heard that a canadian habitat team's bus was stoned by protesters on their way from their airport.  well, i was thankful for having my quick thinking south african roommate at that point! and my dad, who very kindly sent me the state department's warnings on traveling to nepal prior to my trip, is probably cringing as he reads this... for the next couple of days there was a lot of police presence and another strike was scheduled but we were totally fine. just hanging out at our hotel... during the strike time we met this sweet gal from australia who just graduated from highschool and was traveling in nepal on her own to see red pandas (i had no idea there was such a thing!) before starting college this february.  the three of us hired a car and driver one day to head out of kathmandu and see some very cool sites.

oh and you may be wondering if my bad hotel karma has improved... well, our latest hotel in kathmandu has heat! YAY! you don't understand, it is freezing here at night and i have been sleeping in many layers as none of the habitat for humanity chosen hotels had heat! so, anyhow, this hotel that i found online got lots of great trip advisor reviews and is the best we have stayed in here in nepal.  of course, there were a few room changes to get to the perfect room (the first room had an electrical wiring problem that smelled horrible, the second came with someone's used socks tucked between the bed covers and the 3rd had no shower) but the owners were awesome and very accomodating and we love the 4th room they moved us too! yay!
so i have had a lot of fun taking photos on this trip.  so many cool and interesting things to see... thought i would share some of them with you.  my roomie and i had a mini photo contest going since day one when she snapped the below pic that we dubbed "child in gold dancing with pidgeons" and we decided that was the one to beat.... every time either of us took a cool photo we had to ask if it was cooler than that one...

loving this pic that i took of a guy getting spruced up and shaved at a barber shop in the middle of the street....

and i am going to out myself now... i have a bit of an obsession with taking photos of monks. i don't know why but i just love their look. my favorite are the ones in orange.  so whenever i see one on the streets here the monk stalker in me comes out! and it seems kind of wrong to ask them to take a photo so i am trying to be covert about it..

monk in white
 orange monk alert!
 loving all these buddhist prayer wheels...
and candles and offerings at the temples
and brightly colored buddhist prayer flags...
and the ladies in the brightly colored outfits at the hindu temples...

statues at hindu temples with offerings...

doorways are another photo obsession..
and who knew cotton candy was so big in nepal?
cows, cows and more cows roaming the streets (yep, i see them everytime i visit family in iowa but for whatever reason they are not nearly as exciting as when they are parked on the street next to a motorbike)....

this sign really stood out to us when we saw it every day from our bus traveling to and from the village we were building in!

as you read this i am off to a tiny kingdom set in the himalayas between india and tibet called bhutan. i can't wait to arrive because i hear it is a place like no other! and it is known as the happiest place on earth which is pretty groovy in my book!

for those of you just tuning in and wanting to know more about me you can by going here... and if you didn't already know... i created a facebook page... check it out and "like" it! and follow me on twitter and you can even follow my boards on pinterest too!

until next time...

the (formerly almost) 40 year old intern


  1. Monk Stalker! bwahahahahhahaha! So happy that you got to see Mt. Everest AND that you have heat!

  2. hey holly id like to cite one of your posts in an article im working on -
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