quot;When Zarathustra turned
thirty years, he left the country
native and retired to the lake and mountains. "
Land of nonrandom meetings
Karaganda – Almaty – Delhi – Gorakpur – Sonola – Bhairava – Kathmandu -
Besi-Sahar – Marsyangdi River Valley – Manang – La Pass Torong – Kali Gandaki river valley – Beni – Pokhara – Kathmandu – Sonola – Bhairava – Gorakpur – Delhi -
Almaty – Karaganda.
No, unlike Zarathustra, I was not yet thirty years old when I had a burning desire to retire to the mountains. In fact, it lived in me always and only awaited the right moment to become a reality. In the beginning was the Carpathians, the Alps, then, was the Tien Shan, but in my mind nothing could compare to the Himalayas, this "roof of the world."
"Why is Nepal?". In fact, the vast majority of my friends just could not understand myself, why is it necessary to go this far, given the fact that our knowledge of the average person about Nepal and the Himalayas are usually limited to the sacramental phrase immortal Nikolai Fomenko about who can be considered a citizen of Nepal , the song "Let me go to the Himalayas" and the suggestion that perhaps there are Everest Qomolangma (for the sake of fairness I will note: some of them even knew the names of the same mountain). But I really wanted to Nepal. And soon I found a fellow traveler, a man who had been close to my plans to explore the world – my classmate Dima.
The whole idea about how to travel to Nepal and see the highest mountains on earth, came to me two years ago. It was only in October 2004, our efforts this dream, broke through the misunderstanding and prejudice, has become a reality. But Nepal has become for both of us a country in which you want to return, and come back forever.
Chapter 1. LONG ROAD TO KATHMANDU
So, a team of two people representing the Karaganda Historical-Geographical Society "Avalon", set off in a really wild (on presentation of the majority of our people) places. In the beginning was the train to Almaty, where purchase of equipment and products, then the plane, "Turkmenistan Airlines" took us to Ashgabat. During this flight, it was easy to learn the geography of Central Asia. Tien Shan, the Ferghana Valley, Pamir, and the Karakum – all at a glance. A short stop in Ashgabat and the plane to Delhi, where we arrived about two o'clock in the morning.
Arrival in New Delhi began a long and almost sleepless movement in India, when close my eyes it was only possible at a time. Still, the prospect of being robbed at the very beginning of the journey we did not really appeal to me. Moreover, even at the airport of Belarus Andrei Krishna explained to us the Indian understanding of the theft is believed that if a person is looking for their belongings, then they are not concerned about it.
Peremuchivshis night at the airport in the morning we took a taxi and went to town. I had to buy something for my friend from Kathmandu. So for a while, we protorchal near South Extension, where he was required us to shop. I kept looking at the mess and dirt around and consoled ourselves with the fact that this is just the outskirts of the city and the center will definitely be better. How wrong I was … completing an honorable mission, we moved to the station, intending, leaving things in the luggage, go for a walk around the city (ticket to the gala Gorakpura Vaishali Express, we have the foresight to have bought in the airport office). However, at the train station we were disappointed: rates in the storage chamber (including the weight of our backpacks), we clearly did not fit. I must say that I myself Station (main station of the country, among other things (!), And the area around it, too, were a disappointment for us. Of course, I have heard that messy … But India New Delhi Railway Station just exceeded all my expectations. Honestly, go see the sights is not wanted. air was like a mud-soaked. So we just spread out on the platform karemat, lay on their backpacks and decided to wait until the evening, interrupting brought from Kazakhstan, dates and bought mineral water. For some reason, disinfection you always wanted to drink rubbing alcohol, which we occasionally did. So the day passed.
Indian trains have no windows. There is a lattice. And if it becomes cold (at night, for example, there is not hot at all), the windows you can just completely close the sliding metal sheets. Half of the passengers belongings strapped to the shelves with steel chains. Indian second class is a highly degraded version of our reserved seat, which in the course of action, quickly turned into a common car, where people just sleep on the floor in the aisle. Three shelves, the size of each of which can be on it only in the supine or polulezhachem state – to sit on these shelves is simply impossible.
We slept in the train, too, at a time. Not very pleasant to feel like staring at our local eyes. More than once the question arose: "What will they have never seen a white?". Although, maybe they just have never seen a white traveling second class?
In the morning all the Indians cleaned their teeth. And this is a very interesting way. They buy from the boys, some traders wooden sticks, which are beginning to vigorously carry on the oral cavity, resulting in the end of the stick more and more of Mahra and becomes like a kind of "whisk". I do not know how this procedure cleans the teeth, but I got the impression that the Indian concept of "purity" is simply not known.
At the station in Gorakpure we met with Adam and George, who saw more in our train. After a night "under siege", I do not think they would like to join our less than with any more "pale" to make it easier to fend off the importunate local population. The expanded, we moved to the bus station, where they boarded a bus to Sonola.
Adam and George were born in Canada. However, they are currently living in Korea, volunteer teaching English to Korean children. Adam traveled to India, the whole of China from Urumqi to Hong Kong, and Georgia, flew immediately to Delhi, where they met, and from there moved together in Nepal. They had plans to visit Kathmandu and maybe go to some small track. Thus, our plans for Nepal is not particularly match, but nevertheless, this does not prevent us to have a good time until the track.
Reaching Sonola, we soon found the immigration office, have issued travel documents, have been a little more forward, and going under the arch with the words Welcome to Nepal, were in another part of town called Belahiya. It is the Nepalese territory. In total some twenty meters, and how crazy the difference with India! It immediately became clear. People look like something more intelligent – go in jeans and not torn rags. Stinks less. In a word, feel the breath of civilization.
Another half hour, the two completed forms, $ 30, and the Nepalese visa is obtained. In the Lonely Planet, I read that in the most expensive hotels Belahii and worse, and the fleet then there is no normal. A clever book (which by the time we have dubbed the Bible), advised to go or to go further, to the town of Bhairava, which is located four kilometers from the border. All the time we went, we were pestered by representatives of the local tourism business, with intrusive proposals to sleep, eat, to bring, etc. But we stubbornly went ahead. I should flush itself more harmful nature, as expressed in the determination to break off all comers to steal money from us. So we were "four hot and dull" (according to Lonely Planet), kilometers to Bhairava, where he took tickets for tomorrow in Kathmandu, ensconced in the hotel «Ashoka», agreeing to spend the night in a very funny for us (and for the Canadians and even more so ) money – $ 1 per person. As we learned later, for the Nepalese hotel is not funny, as usual the normal price.
In the evening, was an international spree, during which it was drunk a lot of beer left over from the Indian alcohol disinfection, as well as a bottle of brandy from our stock. So the next morning was not afraid to clean their teeth with tap water, which is, according to the generally accepted belief is very dangerous for your health.
In Bhairava we first tried to "momo". This dish is Tibetan food, which is a cross between a dumpling and mantle. In our case, Momo was prepared from buffalo meat, but generally it is made from chicken and even vegetables. Momo, by the way, has become our staple food in this journey.
The road to Kathmandu was long due to the large number of roadblocks and checkpoints that are literally in every twenty miles. It should be noted that Nepal has long been in a state of permanent civil war. Although, to honor both of the warring parties (Communists, Maoists and supporters of the king), tourists are not touched, but simply cherished, as the main source of replenishment of the state treasury. Maoist revolutionaries are well aware that without the tourists, Nepal, whether it be monarchical or communist, just die. Although from time to time excesses do occur.
Already at the entrance to Kathmandu, we waited for a nasty surprise. Because verification of transport on the checkpoint was formed very long, a few kilometers, the queue of cars and buses. And, as predictions about the resumption of normal traffic was disappointing (the people said it was a 5-6 hours), we had to do something. Clearly could not wait. The clock was about five, and in Nepal at six o'clock, quite dark. That is, after waiting in line, we got to the capital is around midnight. Find in this time of night in Kathmandu is very difficult, almost impossible, since life in the city freezes already at 10 o'clock in the evening. As they say, the hunter and the beast running. Only in this case, we acted as the very animals which escaped catcher. A peasant from a local rapidly realized the essence of our problem, and came to us with a business proposal. It came down to the fact that we move with him on foot through the hill straight to the checkpoint, where he will take us on a taxi to the hotel, of course, naiprekrasneyshey in Kathmandu. And if we, God forbid, do not like it, we are free not to dwell in it. Since the options we have, in fact, there was little, we agreed.
And so it happened that the trekking, we waited just around Annapurna, started back on the way to Kathmandu. About three hundred meters of ascent for 30-40 minutes, together with all things, almost complete darkness, along a path in a chain of hundreds of people.
With grief in half after rising to the checkpoint, we first bus and then take a taxi, got to the hotel's "Tokyo", who was, like most all other budget hotels in the tourist center of the city – Tamelo.
It is not necessary, perhaps, to say that the next morning the promised price was twice as much as a peasant at the time the hotel was not (apparently, he went spud other clients). Few pomatyukavshis for themselves as for their trust, we moved to a room, which cost half the price. As for our "frenda," that from now on, seeing him from afar, we tried to hide from view, so he started again, we did not punch the brain. Because we knew here in Tamelo everyone – it is a walking tour agency that can offer you everything you do can be done in Nepal.
Chapter 2. KATHMANDU AND ITS PEOPLE
Of course, Kathmandu – a rich culture and history, this is Buddhist and Hindu temples, palaces, and all sorts of areas, but for me this town is valuable primarily for its people. And when I talk about people Kathmandu, I mean not only its residents but for all visitors. Because Kathmandu unthinkable without these adventurers, who had gathered from all corners of the earth.
In our hotel there lived a Dutchman, which could be considered a typical European, who are in Kathmandu is not trivial for two weeks vacation. When asked how long he's going to stay in Nepal, he replied: "I actually have a six-month visa. Of course, I'll miss my family at Christmas, but I'll stay here. A visa can be extended also. " Many Europeans and do: rent your apartment somewhere in Paris or Amsterdam and the money derived from this lead a comfortable life here in Kathmandu. In this case, it is not working. The level of local prices allows it.
The hotel "Tokyo" was commonplace Tamelo low places. A few black guys pokoreshavshis with attendants, the objectives of days and nights on end sitting in the lobby and smoked, and obviously not tobacco (which, incidentally, is another instance of a typical visitor to Kathmandu). Perhaps the "attraction" of the hotel can be called also the kind of mentally unbalanced woman who staged every night these "concerts". Moreover, once the nerves from her lover, obviously, passed, and all the hotel guests could hear the sound of something flying and falling. But, as the following night the cries were repeated again, we concluded that the death is still not happened.
A separate issue – Russian, or rather, a Russian Kathmandu. Because it came from the former Soviet Union are the most friendly of the foreigners who are here. That we were able to very quickly see, in particular, the example of our Canadians who are so with anyone and did not become friends, despite the fact that the Canadians we met very many.
The first face of Russian Kathmandu for us was Mary – a charming daughter of the Russian ambassador, with whom I happened by chance to get acquainted through the Internet a couple of years ago. She introduces us to the residents of Kathmandu, and with us along the way learned the city itself. According to her, for three days with us, she saw more than three years of life in Kathmandu. It has appointed us to meet in a cafe Java, a local meeting place "gold" of youth, as she later explained. I do not know why, but the "golden" youth Kathmandu prefer beer tea and coffee. That's why I realized that Java – this cafe is not for me. And what I – not golden youth, I also understood, but based on the price level in this place.
The next three days we spent together with Masha. And the fact that Kathmandu will be remembered for a very interesting city, it is not least due to meet with her.
Together with her we were walking through the streets of Kathmandu. And walk around the Royal Square, for example, is most remembered for the fact that we walked around her, sipping a cold beer. Mary was thrilled – "this is the case in Russian, to go with a beer in their hands." In general, the area of Durbar (Royal Square) – a collection of various Hindu temples and palaces. A separate issue – the garden. These are painted wandering beggars, who, in my opinion, it is not poor because of the fact that people are photographed with them, they extort money, and success and considerable. We're on a ride and did not lead to requests for old people, who actively promoted each other, did not react. Forgive us Lord Vishnu with Shiva.
Very close to the Darbar Square is located and the temple of Kumari – the living of the local goddess. Kumari is chosen from the girls a special caste of local people – jewelers. This girl is a goddess before the first big loss of blood. A curious legend that tells about one of the options for the institution of the Kumari. According to this legend, one of the local kings, was a pedophile, and he liked a little girl. As a result of its enhanced "courtship," the girl, of course, has died. And then the king introduced the practice of the revival of a little girl who proclaimed a living goddess.
The next day we went to watch Bodnath – the largest Buddhist stupa in Nepal and one of the biggest in the world. The area adjacent to the mortar, is a place of compact residence of refugees from Tibet. There is also a large number of Buddhist monasteries.
Much time was spent on shopping. For example, Masha had to re-measure a bunch of saris, which Dima bought a gift to his sister. Many times we took the purchase of equipment that did not have time or could not buy in Kazakhstan. The first impression – it is impossible to admire the low prices for the finest products. The impression of the secondary (after using the equipment in the mountains) – the prices match the quality. A huge number of fakes of local production. The most counterfeited brand – The North Face.
And in the evening before going to the mountains we are together with Masha went to a place called «Les Yeux» smoking hookah. I must say, even I, a non-smoker, I liked it. Tobacco flavored cappuccino, hot atmosphere of the restaurant … All in all it was quite nice, which immediately resulted in a series of photographs titled "How beautiful evening street through the fogged Tamelo smoke hookah eyes."
Another category of visitors to Nepal – the people who are traveling here in search of wisdom, no matter what it is expressed. Such a man we once met in a supermarket, his name was, it seems, Sergei. He lived for a time in the ashram of Osho, is now also going to walk around Annapurna.
So it was.