Glorious Annapurna – ‘Goddess of the Harvests’

In Nepal, what goes up must come down and go up again, and again, and again….

– Pat Bunyard

Me and Annapurna South

Me and Annapurna South

SANCTUARY LODGE, BIRENTHANTI, 3750ft, 8 Oct: What a glorious morning, not a cloud in the sky and clear vistas of Annapurna South, Annapurna Fang, Gangapurna and Fishtail. The morning is quiet as I sit and watch the mountains just before dawn. I wouldn’t think it could get much better – until the sun rose and the peaks were slowly, one by one, bathed in its glow.


Day Two of Annapurna

“Bistari, Bistari” – “Slowly, Slowly”

– Parshuram Dahal, our trek guide.


GURUNG LODGE, MAJGAUN, 4620ft, 7 Oct: Thunder and rain most of night but as a result, at sunrise the snow-capped Annapurnas peeked out from the clouds in all its glory . Annapurna Two, Annapurna Four, Fishtail, Annapurna One and Annapurna South, with other peaks nearby, created an 180-degree vista. Here in one spot I can see four of the tallest peaks in the world. As the sun rose, individual peaks were slowly bathed in light and the clouds alternately hid and exposed the magnificent view as we sipped our morning coffees on the verandas.


On Annapurna’s Gin and Tonic Trail

You will probably only see one or two leeches.

– Mr. Prim, lecturer on hiking Annapurna

BESANTA LODGE, DHAMPUS, 5000ft, 6 Oct: Thunder is rumbling and rolling among the peaks of the Annapurnas and I can hear the steady rain outside my window. This is good for the clearing of clouds and views of the Annapurna Range in the morning; bad for hiking because of the mud and the moisture-loving leeches.


Escaping Kathmandu

Good horn, good brake, good luck.

– Niraj Maharjan, group leader and Nepalese saying

Main roads and traffic

Main roads and traffic

POKHARA NEPAL, 2700ft, 5 Oct: I travel in a country where Royal Nepal Airlines is now just Nepal Airlines but with only one plane left to fly one of its most popular routes. Sita is in the same boat due to crashes. And many of their airports are so poorly maintained, potholes on the runways prevent larger planes from landing. Distance is measured in hours, not km. They measure how many days it will take to walk as there are no passable roads. Our distinction is 132 miles but we must think in terms of time. On Nepalese roads it will take us at least six hours.


Forced Single in Kathmandu

We travel, initially, to lose ourselves; and we travel, next to find ourselves. We travel to open our hearts and eyes and learn more about the world than our newspapers will accommodate.

– Pico Iyer

TAHACHAL NEPAL, 9pm, 4 Oct: After rooftop breakfast and much talk with my Nepalese server at the Backyard, I took a taxi to meet my group at Crowne Plaza in Tahachal, just south over the bridge from downtown Kathmandu. Cost was 300 rupees but gave him a 30% tip for the adventure and getting me there unharmed. Now I just follow the flow and Niraj my Road Scholar leader.


I am in Nepal

In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order.

– Carl Jung

In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside you.

– Deepak Chopra

Chaos is chaos no matter how you experience it. You either adapt or die.

– Pat Bunyard

DSC00503KATMANDU NEPAL, 6pm, 1 Oct: Questions I want answered: is Kathmandu dirty; what of the cows, democracy, the upcoming election “maybe”, food, feelings for the King; how do they view Dipendra who killed his royal family? And what about this time zone and an extra 15 minutes? So many questions and so little time. All depends upon my listening, seeing, and interpreting. Then it is all me – my suppositions and feelings about this chaos where I find myself.


Taipei Is Tops

You can’t be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline – it helps if you have some kind of football team, or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need a beer.

– Frank Zappa

GUANGZHOU CHINA, 6:30pm, 30 Sept: I am surrounded by violet passport holders all wanting to get to the head of the line. The rush to the gate is chaotic. The height of civility appears to have been left behind the immigration line in Taipei. The plane pulls from the gate and there are still those in the aisle putting bags away. They bounce up before the plane stops upon landing. I am on hold at the airport awaiting my flight to Kathmandu. There I will enter a new time zone and regain 2 hours and 15 minutes.

Taipei proven to be interesting and enjoyable. In summary: