Nepal, days 13 – 20

Friday:
The Last Resort – Bhaktapur:

Woke up around seven. Air was still quite cool, but I was feeling warm under a thick blanket.

Breakfast was excellent as was lunch and dinner on a previous day.
Stomach full I was now ready for the Canyon Swing jump 🙂

While waiting reception to open I was watching previous jumps from the video. For my big surprise I noticed that my hands started sweating (or maybe it was due to humidity ;)).

One hour later I made and paid my second jump reservation, listened jump briefing again and moved to the bridge.
This time I was wearing shorts and t-shirt because climbing up from the bottom of the gorge on a previous day was darn long and hot.
It was quite windy and cold on the bridge. I had to wait 45 minutes for my jump and while waiting I was thinking how nice and warm I would feel with long sleeve shirt and long pants…

People were jumping with different styles. Some forwards, some backwards, some screamed as loud as they could, some were more quiet. One common thing for all of them was that they all made it alive 🙂

On a previous day everyone had said that the swing is better than benji, so I was really waiting for my turn to throw myself down from the bridge.




Finally it was my turn! Harness on and then still few minutes of waiting. At this point I did not feel any nervousness, I was just waiting my jump. Ruben (guy who took the video) told me that it is better to jump as far as possible, this way I could get more free fall time 🙂

Soon jumpmaster waved at me and I moved next to him.
Two ropes were attached to my harness (Swing jump is done with normal climbing ropes, not flexible as in Benji) and at the same time he asked me “what kind of bike I am riding). Last guidance from him was to jump feet first and as far as possible.

Slowly I moved to the jump platform. I had to lean back because the weight of the ropes wanted to pull me towards emptiness.
I felt how jumpmaster grabbed my harness, quick greetings to the camera and then I moved to the edge of the platform.
Damn how high I was again!
Heard voice from my back “3, 2, 1, Swing” and then I jumped as far as I could!

Gravity got hold on me and started pushing me towards the bottom of the gorge.
I felt like I had been dropping already for ages, but still I was going down. At this point I could not resist anymore, I had to yell 🙂

Finally after (what felt like eternity) I felt again small yank on my harness when rope started guiding me forward. At this point I released my grip from the ropes and just spread my arms and legs.
This was again real adrenaline rush. I was high on adrenaline and just smiled and screamed!

All fun things must come to an end as also this jump :(.
I was handed a rope which I used to pull myself towards the assistant at the side of the gorge.

I stayed a while at the bottom of the gorge and watched how people jumped from the bridge high above.
During the climb I was happy that I had only shorts and t-shirt on, because climb was pushing salty sweat to my forehead.
While I was climbing up, I was thinking that I would jump again if I would have more time, jump was really worth of every euro.

Once I got up, I checked how my jump looked like, ordered a dvd and got two t-shirts. Now I have nice new shirts for coming months!

After the lunch I was ready to continue my ride. I headed towards north to the friendship bridge of Nepal and Tibet.
It was only 15km ride, but took quite much time, because road got worse every kilometer I rode. Numerous landslides had totally destroyed road and now it was partly just a rough path barely wide enough for cars and trucks.



200m before the border bridge I got stuck behind trucks in the last town in Nepal side. I could not pass any of the trucks because street was really narrow and partly blocked by parked cars and bikes.
I could not park my bike anywhere close and other places looked like I would not dare to leave my bike there, so I decided to wait if the traffic jam starts moving. 10 minutes later I got bored and decided to turn back and head to Bhaktapur. I was already in the limit to reach Bhaktapur during daylight, so decision was correct.

Stopped only one time during my ride to Bhaktapur. Stop was in really small village to have something to drink. After few smiles shy locals came to look at the bike and started asking questions about the bike. We chatted few minutes and then I needed to continue forward. Waved my hand to the villagers and then I was ready to pass old trucks and busses which I had passed few minutes earlier.

Traffic was quite heavy and each of the big vehicles had a long string of black smoke behind them. Once again I thought that people who are worried about the traffic pollution would have work for the rest of their lives in here…

Couple of kilometers before Bhaktapur I saw huge Shiva statue on top of the hill. Stopped to take a photo of this statue and then continued to the hotel which I had selected day before.

Hotel was easy to find and was in perfect location next to the main square.
Hotel had only one tiny room available, but it was big enough for me. Best part was that it was also the cheapest room 🙂

I was offered one garage to park my bike, but door was too narrow to park it inside, so I decided to park it next to the hotel in a really narrow alley.
To keep people away I covered bike with the tarp I have been carrying with me.

Saturday:
Bhaktapur:

Forced myself to sleep till nine and then I had breakfast.
Around eleven I started my tour around the temples. Temples looked the same as in Kathmandu, but the difference was that over here some temples had K-18 style woodcarvings 🙂
Similar style continued also in the drawings in the nearby museum (not in all the drawings).

I visited also pottery square. Here locals are producing pottery the same way they have been doing for ages. Took some photos how people produce, color and burn these potteries.

Few hours later I returned back to the hotel to write diary, for dinner and to skype to my friends and family.
It is amazing how small the world is now because of the internet and skype! Just few clicks and you can find all needed information from the internet. Video call is just excellent way to stay in contact with everyone!

During the day I was also thinking how tough this kind of long travelling really is.
I have seen places and done things which only used to be in my wildest dreams, I have met amazing people everywhere but still it is quite tough.
Every day I see so many new things, visit different places and meet new people that I am in my limit to get everything processed.
Keeping blog up-to-date with two different languages is also huge work, much bigger task than I originally expected.

Sunday:
Bhaktapur – Kathmandu:

Woke up again around six because locals started to get ready for the new day. Mopeds were going back and forth, children were yelling and laughing etc.
Hotel location was excellent, but the drawback was that this is next to the touristic area and people prepare quite early to the coming day by bringing their things to the square for sale.

During the breakfast I checked that I do not need to apply visa beforehand to Thailand, Laos and Cambodia.

Around noon I was ready to leave this nice place. Hardest part was to get bike out from this really narrow alley.
Backing it out would have been huge task, so I decided to try to turn it around while bike remained on centerstand. It was a tight fit, but I managed to turn it around, big thanks for the center stand! 🙂

Spent 1 hour to ride 20km to Kathmandu. Firstly I visited Suraj to let him know that I will book hotel for the remaining days in Nepal. I was having a bit flu, so I did not want to make Suraj´s small child sick by spreading my germs in his home.
I guess I got this flu from The Last Resort while I was waiting my turn to do Canyon Swing.

Rode back to the same hotel I stayed in earlier days (place where my bike was dropped during the night). Luckily they had hotel rooms available and the price was ok ($15).

This time I decided to leave my bike in front of the reception. Used my tarp again to cover the bike and hoped that this would keep all interested people away.

Later in the evening Uli and Annaleen (http://www.alser-on-tour.de) came to the same hotel.

Monday:
Kathmandu:

In the morning Suraj arrived to take the dimensions of the bikes. My bike was also measured even Suraj took the dimensions already days before.

After the measurements we visited his office and then we were ready for the day´s touristic tour.
This time we decided to visit Harati Devi –temple (Swayambhunath stupa), known also “monkey temple”.
Temple was roughly 30 minute walk away from the hotel.

At the bottom of the hill we saw first monkeys and also some beggars.

From here also started long climb via 365 stairs towards the stupa. Interesting part of those stairs was that higher I got, steeper these stairs got. Do not know what is the reason behind such stairs, but I am sure there is some important reason which is not so obvious to me.

From the top of the hill opened a nice view over the Kathmandu. City is really widely spread, no high buildings here.

On the top, main things to see are: Golden stupa, Harati temple and Palace of Peace.
There are also lot of people selling all kind of souvenirs. They tried to sell all sort of things to me, but I politely neglected them.

Spent quite much time going around this temple area and took a lot of photos.

Uli gave some cookies to the monkeys when we walked down the stairs. Monkeys are really smart! They noticed that Uli had cookies in his pocket, so they tried to help themselves and take cookies out of his pocket! 😀

We did not want to walk all the way back to the hotel so decided to ask taxi price. 1st driver gave outrageous price and we told him the price what we would be willing to pay. This did not suit him, so we started walking. Another, younger taxi driver heard our offer and agreed to take us to the tourist area.
Lesson: Always bargain prices what you are given!

Tuesday:
Kathmandu:

Spent whole day updating homepage, going through photos and writing my diary.

Wednesday:
Kathmandu:

This was the day of packing our bikes.
Max and Lucas (Polish riders) had gone to the warehouse already earlier, because their flight was leaving around one on a same day. We arrived around 11.
Slowly but surely I was also showed place where I could take my bike to a pieces and put it to the wooden crate.
Well, not totally pieces, plan was to remove front tire, windscreen, handlebar and panniers.
I pushed my bike on top of the wooden base and took off front tire. At this point I noticed that base was not long enough, so I had to remove also front mudguard and BMW trademark “nose”.
This was not a big deal, just a bit more work, but I wasn´t happy because crate would be smaller than agreed even bike was measured two times…

Quite fast all the parts were off from the bike and sides were attached to the wooden baseplate.
I was able to fit everything inside without a problem. Only thing was that there was not enough “bubble-wrap”, so I had to put some of the bike parts inside the riding suit etc.

Real problem came a bit later when we noticed that not all the parts from Max´s and Lucas´s bike would fit their crates. Also some of their stuff was just thrown in to the crate, so we had to take everything out and strap them to the bikes.


We spent quite much time trying to fit their parts to the rest of the crates.
Finally we were able to fit all the parts in and top cover to the crates were nailed in place.

After this we started waiting that bikes are weighted and pushed to the customs area. We were told that this would happen within an hour, but actually we had to wait around three hours.
While we waited there, we followed how people handle shipments at this part of the world. Seems like a lot of clothes and fabrics are sent to abroad, because warehouse was full of sacks, which were full of clothes. Interesting part came when (I guess) customs checked some of these sacks. They opened them and checked what is inside, quite often someone took one scarf or one hat and put it to their own bag! So, we were witnessing how personnel here was steeling stuff! No-one seemed to care, because seemed like everyone were doing it!

Finally after Suraj called me and asked where we are (told him that we are still in warehouse) he called someone in the warehouse and things started rolling.

My bike weighted (crate, bike, camping gear, stuff from Max and Lucas and some other stuff which I did not want to carry) 397kg!!!

Amazing thing was that in this warehouse they did not use forklift, there was just 6-8 people lifting and pushing these crates around!

After weighting was done bikes were pushed through x-ray machine to the customs area.
Now we were happy and ready to go for a dinner with Suraj and Sara.

Thursday:
Kathmandu:

This day was just a rest day. Did some laundry and went to see Suraj and his wife to say good byes.

Friday:
Kathmandu – Bangkok, Thailand

Woke up before eight to pack my stuff and to have breakfast.
Had nice breakfast together with Uli and Annaleen on the roof terrace of the hotel.

After checkout we got taxi and headed to the airport.

Flight departed at 13:00 and now I was on my way to deeper in SE Asia!
Amazing to leave Nepal behind and fly to Thailand!




Feelings about Nepal:
Nepal was total surprise to me. I expected this country to be in the middle of Himalayas, high, rocky and dry. Instead it was quite in a low lands and more like a jungle (southern part of Nepal).
Nepal has several highest peaks in the world, but to see them and getting to a mountains is almost impossible with a motorized vehicle.
Nepal has only few main roads, so if you want to see high mountains, then you need to go for a hike.
Nepal is a beautiful country.
On this trip I failed to see the high mountains, but I hope that one day I can come back here for a long hike around Annapurna or to Everest basecamp.

Traffic in Nepal is peaceful after the chaos in India. Kathmandu gets close, but still it is more manageable than traffic in India.

People are great, smiley, maybe a bit shy. But after few smiles and few words, they open up, reveal big smile and start talking.
For my surprise, people look a bit different compared to the people in India. I discussed this with few other travellers and they all agreed.

Nepal is definitely a place to visit. But then you will need time to explore the amazing nature this place has to offer!

9 thoughts on “Nepal, days 13 – 20

  1. Moro Marko,

    Thanks 🙂
    Enjoying my Korean scooter at the moment… My baby is in Cambodia under the tarp because I could not take her to Vietnam.

    -Marko

  2. Moi Marko,

    Great write up once again. Took me a while to read it through, but it was worth 🙂
    Enjoy your ride and keep the rubber side down.

  3. Ja taas kyltymätön kiitoksen virta suomenkielisestä kirjoittelustasi. Kiitos. keep it going vai miten se sanotaan =)

  4. Very well written, a good one since a l o n g time, especially the swing part, concise and fun!
    Now am waiting to see how much u still remember about Thailand when you are already leaving Cambodia behind… 😉
    And, when you are tired, my tough traveler, you know where home is 😀

  5. Moi Marko,

    Thanks again for the great update and all the pictures along the trip in Nepal. I’m so happy to hear about all the new friends, who you have met during the trip.

    Hyvää matkaa! Aja varovasti.

    Sari

  6. Hi Marko!

    Even it’s hell of work to update your blog… Don’t even think about stopping this exercise! I am enjoying every line of text and also every uploaded picture!

    Thanks for taking us with you!
    Tobias

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