Thursday, June 6, 2013

GET THE GEAR

I'm happy to report that I received an email from Mollie this morning.  They're in Manang!!  In what, though it hasn't been confirmed, is probably world record time!

Manang.  Not so bad.
YUM!
Hooray friends!
GET THE GEAR!
When the rain let up, we left the shop with our gear to go pack our packs -- ready to go!
This will be my last blog post for a couple weeks as we head out on our trek. Next time you hear from me I will have peaked a 17,800-foot mountain pass!

This will be my last blog post for a couple weeks as we head out on our trek. Next time you hear from me I will have peaked a 17,800-foot mountain pass!

Without further ado, news from Mollie (which she wrote just before she set out on her trek):


Where do I even start? I’m halfway through day two in Kathmandu, and so far so good!

After that first night alone, I woke up early, went for a second walk around the Thamel neighborhood (the main touristy shopping area in Kathmandu), and got myself what may have been the best cup of coffee I’ve ever had. Himalayan coffee is my new favorite thing – it’s super strong and rich and not acidic at all, and I may have to move here just so I can have it every morning!


Sister2, whom I haven't seen in 8 months (!), arrived later in the morning and we met up at the hostel. She just flew in from Sri Lanka and has been in Asia for 7 1/2 months -- such the world traveler.

First we went to the beautiful Garden of Dreams, sat on various benches, and caught up on all of the things.





Then we explored the city, aka walked around and got lost and then found ourselves a couple times, and then ate street food, because that's what traveling is all about. We met up with my friends Tracy and Mike in the evening for a trip to Durbar Square, which has the Royal Palace and a number of hindu and Buddhist temples.


Then on to an authentic Nepali dinner (Tracy has been here for over 2 months, so she knows where to go). We got flattened rice with curry, which is apparently the main dish in Nepal. I can't say that I loved it -- the rice was kind of like eating uncooked unmoistened oatmeal. BUT we got snickers momos for dessert! Momos are dumplings, so we’re talking about mini snickers dumplings dipped in local honey (which is everywhere here). Yummmm!

Last night was a bit rough -- I need to get out of this city so I can breathe again. I read before coming that Kathmandu is the third most polluted city in the world. The pollution isn’t visible, and Kathmandu is actually one of the cleaner looking Asian cities I’ve experienced (ok so the others are all in India), but I feel a constant burn in the back of my throat and down my windpipe combined with a runny nose. Definitely not ideal!

Today is all about getting the logistics set for our 9-day trek in the Annapurna Area. There are a million very legit and very cheap gear stores here. I know it sounds scary, but seriously, don’t buy any gear before coming to Nepal. It is SO CHEAP here. We're talking fancy Mammut hiking socks for $3, gloves for $1.50, and a brand new North Face fleece/windbreaker jacket for $40!!!


Clearly we got all the gear, and we made some friends along the way. The morning’s sprinkle increased to a downpour as we started our shopping venture, just as Sister2 tested out rain pants. (We are here at the beginning of the rainy season, so the rain is inconvenient but no surprise.) It was pretty bad out and the narrow street gutters were flooding, so when the shop owner offered us milk tea and a couple seats, we settled in for a long chat about trekking and Nepal and tourism. Nepalis are so friendly and welcoming and now we have a friend in Kathmandu!

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