martes, 31 de agosto de 2010

'The Organized Chaos' of India...




Our first Couch Surfing experience in Khatmandu. So! If you want a budget and insider travelling should join Couch Surffing. This website is a magnificent et of both hosts and people looking for a place to rest for free. This has been our first great host family, thanks to Menuka,the girl in the middle. Here we are all of us (Edu is taking the picture) having some Italian dinner. This opportunity of living with a Nepalee family for a few days has been absolutely fantastic not only the fact of saving a bit of money but making new friends and learning about their culture :)  
Brekfast in the kitchen. Running water / electricity here is not a privilege so we filled the buckets in the morning to be able to use water in the night :)
Welcome to a beautiful and clam Pokhara! This is a highly recommended destination to anyone visiting Nepal. There is a charming lake sourrounded by the Himalayan mountains, as well as many facilities for tourists (sometimes is actually nice to sit down in a nice and relaxing terrace to have a fresh western beer while listening to life music!).

 The old bazaar. This is a common image in both Indian and Nepalese markets. These colours powder are used between the eye browns (as kind of a Bindi) when entering a Hindu temple, or by any married women. Women have to wear a stripe of this colour on top of their forehead from the day they marry, instead of wearing a ring as we do in the West!.

Amazing experience!
While on our road trip with the motorbike, we saw a Buddhist Monastery and we decided to visit it. I asked a monk if we could have a quick look into the classes and he kindly agreed. As you can see here is a class with 7-8 years old doing some maths. I will write down the name of the place soon!. They are mainly orphans or sons of big families with low resources but their smiles and kindness can not be compared!

     This boy (sorry but his name was way to complicated for me to remember Tzanam... ) was super proud as he had 10/10 in his maths exercise!. Ah! and if you look on the table, he has some rolled paper... well, it is actually a poster of a famous Indian girl, he was very naughty!! :) .. - Look Miss, is a girl :)!!

  Here is a picture in the Tibetan refugee village, near Devi's fall. Nice little town :)

Panoramic view of Pokhara lake with some fisherman and the tranquility of its waters. 5 minutes later guess what happened... Yes! it started to rain... Again!

This is a very special picture. They guy is holding a couple of rings, hand made in Nepalese... You will be able to see them when we are back!
 Cooking rice and boiled eggs in our brand new mini boiler in the hotel room! Yummy!!

Anyone up for trying this lovely fresh looking toothpaste?? :\ We deliver special orders and affordable friendly prices!
Next stop....
Kathmandu, Nepal.
View from the Monkey temple, the city and a peace pagoda, panoramic.(by Edu.)

Pagoda from Buddagaya,beautiful and huge! Will update more details about it some other time...
Wool!!!!! After getting ripped of for a small bunch of hemp wool in touristic Pokhara we found this paradise of sheep wool in Khatmandu. We bought a MASSIVE bunch of the red, black and yellow one for about a pound.
So mum! thanks again for teaching me basic netting skills, it's a great pass times while waiting (something we do a lot around here!) :)
 The eyes of Buddha.
Every place has its goods and its worsts right? 
The city of smells....

We have been told that there is some kind of strike going on and therefore the city is somehow full of rubbish everywhere!! Not only is awful for the view but if you add the 30-35 degrees average temperature you get a very smelly combination ...all together!

sábado, 28 de agosto de 2010

Karma o ¿suerte?

Chitwan National Park
1st stop, catch the jeep, and went for as canoe trip through the calm waters of the river. The peace and tranquility of the ride was a superplus! :) Though we didn;t see any crocodiles, we got to see a Rhino! (apparently another sign of good luck)
Well, I guess I'll have to stop talking about good luck, as according to the Tibetan book of Life and Death, luck as such doesn't exist, is all about the Karma you accumulate that will result in good ir bad things happening to you so, from now on, Good and bad Karma!. 

Good Karma Rhino (one)

Our beloved elephant :) We went for a 2 hour ride in this  fantastic mini dionosaur!! Crossing the jungle while spotting more Rhinos, Deers, Caws and other wild animals. Amazing experience :)
Crossing a lake, view from the top! And if the elephant missbehave, the driver will hit her with that wooden stick.. but she was such a good girl she even picked up some glassess that a guy dropped from the floor. Impressive!

So we guess this is Triple Karma for a day :) The baby rhino is just a month old...
Bike ride in Pokara. We managed to rent this super cool looking bike (thouhgh with no horn and a bit falling apart) for 2.80 ponds a day!. Nice deal :)
Energizing by the river (of Babilon...) Beautiful spot, beautiful model :)
Our only glimpse of the Himalayas.... Now we can say we've seen them!!

viernes, 27 de agosto de 2010

BEBIENDO ¿¿ ????

Drinking, 'Tomb bah ' or 'Chang', which is the equivalent to Tibetan beer. It was a big challenge to find somewhere to drink it as it is regarded as a drink for the poor (only 15 ruppes which is like 20 pennies). It is made by boling some kind of small seeds (they looked like mustard seeds). You have to pour some hot water into the mix and leave it to cool for about 5-10 minutes and... ready to drink :) It was a nice experience although the bar lookes a bit dodgy or clandestino... But we got to meet a very nice bunch of Sikkim guys there and we have been invited to come back in the future and go to their villages : (not sure if it was the beer happines ..)   

Tsomgo Lake, Sikkim.
Here I am riding Michael the Yack!. A great experience visiting the holy Lake, close to the border with Tibet at about 3500m of altitude. The lake itself is quite nice, but the trip through the slippery hills, with the fog and the rain was something to remember...  Riding a Yack was very cool!!!

Panoramic view of the lake. One of Edu's expertees on panoramic pictures:)

This is the view from the car ride to and from Tsongo lake... quite scary.... but hey! we've survived!

We have to admit that our first impression of Darjeeling was quite poor. We arrived in a packed jeep in whixh instead of the legal 9 people allowed we managed to fit 12 people... The constant rain and the awful hotels we saw as we arrived, added up to the heavy weight of the rucksacks and the frustation of people who did not understand a word of what we were asking.. Having said that, once we found a nice hotel and had a warm shower, we saw the beauty of the place :) We did a tour to a Japanese temple, a famous stone (though it was just a stone Tenzing Rock....) and Yes! Happy Valley Tea gardens where they grow the tea sold in Harrods! There is a fun video from a lady who 'invited us' (plus fifty ruppes per tea cup) to the best Darjeeling tea in the whole valley! This picture is a selection of 6 different qualities of tea which ou have to smell and guess.. Eduardo got it right, I couldn't smell much...

Drinking the tea at the lady's house. Don't miss the detail of the dog on the right hand side, it was key for the picture!
Crossing the border. So! The time came and our Indian experience got to an end when we reached this particular bridge which divides Nepal and India. The Border is called Karkavita, and to be very honest, there is not much difference bewteen both countries.. Well, we suppose the language, the currency, which is Nepaleese Rupees and.. nothing more! At least at this particular city, once you start going up towards the Himalayas, things change!

Can you guess which arm belongs to whom??

Even if we have not seen the sun as such for many days (remember we are in Monsson time and clouds and rain are our faithful travelling friends.
We decided not to get a guide of Nepal (MISTAKE) and so we spend the first 2 or 3 days wandering around a couple of dodgy cities before we managed to get to Chitwan, an AMAZING natural park. Of course, no trip will be completed without certain difiiculties. As we got to Chitwan bus stop, as the bus was leaving the station I realized I had left my bag with every impotant item on it!! So!, we managed to get almost the whole town in a revolution to get my bag back!. And yes, remember my double line of luck, I got the bag back with everything and a huge smile from about 6 police men, very proud of the trustable Nepaleese people :)

lunes, 23 de agosto de 2010

El viaje continúa...

Kushinagar, statue of Buddha on the city where he died.


You might need to look closer into this one, the two men are IRONING clothes with the 18th century charcoal fuelled irons... we founf it quite amusing :)

Here is one of the workers at the Buddist temple. 
This kind man is cutting the grass with a sharpless blade, kneeling down in a 40 degrees, humid and very sunny day... anyone up for some gardening??

Thinking of transporting some goods? Not only you will have to squeeze between the wood, but you will have to cope with loong journeys and massive potwholes in the road.... COOL!!

Getting some fish for dinner tonight ... though it's monzoon time and as it happend in Forrest Gump, it rained downside up! This photo was taken in the Holy lake of Pushkar.

Making new friends :)

We met these young couple, just married! (19 and 21 yearsd of age, just legally accepted) in the train from Patna to Darjeeling. Again with a delay of about 8 hours, we got to meet a gentelman who asked us about... well, about the most personal and intimate qustions possible. It seems as a costume for Indian people (though not generalizing...) to ask about your salary, how much you spend on food, rent, clothes, going out... how big is your family and their jobs, how much are you spending per day on this particular trip, why my skin (Ali) has freakles?? And to end up he read our palms... and yes, we will have 3 children and I'm blessed with a double luck line apparently!... The guy on the picture was our personal translator bless him! :)
SIKKIM, Gantok

And finally!! we arrived to the beautiful mountains of Sikkim. This picture was taken on the main road, and you can see the Tibetan praying flags, which are placed on diffcult roads or specific spots to call for good spirits. We loved the fact that the weather was fresher, and we got very surprised about the modernization of the city!
Meditating in the Banjhakri Falls, an energy Park in Gantok.
The waterfall OHHHH!!!

jueves, 19 de agosto de 2010

Llegaron la TORTILLA y los templos budistas para dormir

Chinese Buddhist Temple in Sarnath.
This was the first temple where we were able to stay for the night for 100 rupees (about 1.40pounds). 
How did we ended up here?? Well it seems that the internationaly famous Lonely planet guide (aka The travellers Bible) is so widely used that all the suggested budget hotels are now Luxurious or super Expensive ones (even if the rooms are no more than a rough dusty bed and a broken window with views to a grey old wall...) For that reason we had to search for a realistic budget option and thanks to our tuk tuk driver we were driven to this lovely peaceful temple where we were allowed to stay with the condition of been back by 8 :)   

Amorzito's  buddhist inspiration at Sarnath's Black  Marble Buddha. The place was still in construction. There was, though, OF COURSE, someone there to collect generous donations from us, gracious tourists :) 
       Tanzin 'Our beloved Tortilla Monk :)' This photo was taken in Kushinagar, the town where Buddha died and therefore a very important stop for Buddist pilgrims. We were lucky enough to go through the same experience of Sarnath in terms of accomodation, though, this time we were asked to pay for only a voluntary donation.  On top of that, we were treated as "V.I.P.guests" and were allowed to use the kitchen!! So, in order to show our appreciation we decided to treat Tanzin with a lovely Tortilla de Patatas :) (see picture) You might be wondering what is he doing with that light in his head?? well, like the chapatis, power cuts are a daily companion in India, and well, although Tanzin is Tibetan, he's been living in India for a long long time and he's got all the tools to fight Power Cuts!!
                                                                                Alicia was cooking a TORTILLA de PATATAS!!!!!