Friday, September 26, 2008

Nepal 1.0 -Namaste-

Our flight from Sharjah, UAE to Katmandu, Nepal with AirArabia was full of Nepalese peoples who work in Dubai. These people are so happy because they were going home… there were laughters and smiles all over the plane.

I am not an avid traveller as I rather spend my time lazing around, watching tv, online, sports or playing games than travel. But since L1llian hasd arranged everything and I only need to pay and attend, that's alright for me to get dirty.

What Lil did wasn’t easy as she has to attend to everyone opinions, so more so when it's FOC. A big clap for Lil as this is her 2nd successful organized trip and the 3rd on its way! I won’t do it for a fee, so for FREEE, that's looks a bit retard for me…

Anyway… back to the Nepal trip

I don’t expect Nepal to be a bed of roses but I didn’t expect her to be this bad. I expected her to be a little bit better since there are lot of hikers and mountain lovers. Blessed with 8 out of 10 tallest mountains in the world including Mt.Everest, She should have blooooom with tourism.

We gotta fill 2forms, an arrival forms and a visa form…

what so dulan about this visa form is that, you gotta produce a passport size foto, but our travel agent didn’t inform us so each of us gotta paid 230 Nepali Ruppe for 2 foto on the spot.

Everyone was so happy to see so much greens after spending our working life in a desert but The 230rupee changed everyone mood. 230 Rupee is about 13dirhams for 2 foto, that's ridiculous, expensive in a country with a GDP of USD 324! That's 13% of one month income for Nepali so 5 of us paid 65% of that photographer one month salary.

all this things makes me look idiotic but nothing much I can do as it’s a foreign country, that's why I hate travelling becoz I hate to look like an idiot!

Then each of us gotta paid USD25 for a 15day visa which is a month income for the Nepali…

It pretty obvious their economy depends on tourism but their immigration staffs attitude make me felt like I owe them.

Learn to Smile… Smile…. Smile… Idiotssss

Can you smile? I pay for your smile… If not for me you might still be eating grass! What so diu about this Nepal airport staffs is that, they think its perfectly alright to cheat your money.

I change USD200 to Rupee and the exchange rates was suppose to be USD 1 = Nepali Rupee 68

So USD 200 = 13600 Rupee, but I was given 13200?????

Only when I asked, did he said the 400 is commission or service charges which is fucking ridiculous!

I am not sure if it’s a rules or simply his OWN COMMISION, this country is Chaotic!

Really proud to be Msian because Sandakan airport is in much better condition that Katmandu International Airport.

Most of the airport toilets were stuck… that's why getting use to those super clean Dubai's toilet can spoiled you!

I didn’t have a good 1st impression of this country bcoz of those airport staffs poor attitudes not because of those broken toilets.

The best things about following a tour is that, I don’t have to worry a thing after I stepped out of the airport as all are prepared for us.

Greeted with flowers' necklace and provided us with a Van that is consider one of the very best in Nepal, I said a well spend USD350 per pax.

At least, travel agency personnel CAN smile!

I felt like an arrogant billionaires making everyone smile at me by throwing money at them. wakakaka…

The journey from de airport to our hotel took us less than 30min but the journey was magnificent. I see the Indian sub-continent driving, 1st hand exp!

I was sceptical when an Indian colleague complained that it took him 11tests to get a Dubai License as he drove perfectly well in India roads which has no road line, no traffic signal at junction, cows, humans, bicycles, motorbike and cars move barely a finger distance of each others but through this journey i know he was telling the truth, Kathmandu is at least 10x less congested than Bombay but even so, driving around Kathmandu takes a Schumacher’s skill.

The Himalayan Hotel wasn’t bad for a 4stars hotel but it was a bit old. The bell boy insisted to carry our bags, so I know this bugger is after the tips…

Do I look like a walking wallet?

So I gave him 100rupee, not sure if it’s enough? Dun wanna over pay or under pay him to give him a good impression of Msia!

After resting for an hour in the hotel, the tour guide took us to visit the temples around town. Not my cup of tea, but still goes see2 look2 and tried out my Canon 450D…

Buddha Park is a small park with 3 statues and I'm not sure who those structures are but they look BIG! What amaze me are not those wishes rollers or those big statues but their scaffolds!

Bamboo scaffolds that's barely stable and looks like it gonna fall anytime but workers still stand there as there isn’t going to be any mishap.

Next is the Monkey temple which looks more like an open zoo as there are so many monkeys, pigeons, birds and dogs there! Monkey temple is just the tourist name and this temple is about 1500years old.

Old, but still one of the hottest spot in town.

On the way up to the main area, I spotted a pair of birdmen! I hate this people because they will trap these birds once more when you free them, just like a repeatative kidnappers. I find this kind of salesmen very irritating and I would love to kick them in the groin if given the chance.

Nepali generally is friendly peoples, they like their pix to be taken but I never buy any stuff from them as those are useless stuffs..

Today mark the start of the women festival, where women are dressed in red and fast for a day so that their husband will live a long life. It’s a 3days festival…

I was made known that Nepal has festival all year round because of Hinduism where there are lotta Gods and they are worshipped specifically in different time of the year.

Patan City is an ancient city with some really interesting Kama Sutra Sculptures, Tiger with Human, Horse with Human and multiple partners! These stuffs are few thousands years old, that’s why erotics magazine can never penetrate Indian Sub continent market because SEX is not ‘IN’; in fact it’s very ‘OUT’, out by few thousands years old.
a 800 years old water fall still functioning still today... amazing engineering!
An eight years old girl using an eight hundred years old water fall!

Then we go to a temple with 2 lions, a male and a female. It was pretty obvious which on is male and female, also Men tend to attract to the liones and Women to the Lion!

We met the God-boy (not sure how to call him), one boy is chosen every month to stay in the temple and not bath for that month. not sure if he play dirty but he looks happy?

we also met mr.tortise which got strange color on it, my bet is that it has been under heavy make-up every time there are festival in that temple. The God of Wealth... Choi San!

Then our driver dropped us at Tamil, known as the “IN” place to be in Kathmandu. There are lotta Dance bar some with Shower Dance, not sure what were the show but not really interested because we are hungrrrrrry!

Our first meal in Kathmandu cost us 2000rupee and that's looks expensive but in actual it's just slightly more than 100dirhams which is Verrrrrrrrrry cheap for 5pax.

We're surprised to find STEAK on the menu because Cow are suppose to be the Holy and National Animal of Nepal, killing a cow is equal to 6years in jail!

I found out that all beef are imported! No wonder those steaks are harder than my muscle, not fressssssssh!

After dinner, we bought some stuff from the supermarket and glad to notice MILO on the shelves. We bought lotta *sealed bottled mineral water* as we dun wanna spend the rest of our holidays squatting in the shit hole.

It was around 9pm when we finished shopping, I was planning to watch those Nepali Shower Dance but the Girls were getting nervous as they saw lotta army in blue uniforms around Tamil, most were holding Rotans and a few with rifles. Those rifles are like 4to5feets longs which you can only find them in museum.

I think it was a pretty normal night routine to make sure Walking Money (tourists) are safe but since the girls insisted of going home and we'll need to wake up early tomorrow for the journey to Pokrara, I agreed lol.

I was advised by our guide that a taxi from Tamil to our Hotel will cost us around 150 to 300 rupees and that's 50rupees per pax.

Is he idiot or what? How are we gonna squeeze 5 fully develop human excluding the taxi driver into a Perodua Kancil sized vehicle.

I managed to negotiated 2 taxi for 200rupee each, not bad la, since the range is from 150-300rupee for foreigners! Actually, at 1st those taxi driver also expect 5of us to get one taxi, it will definitely be more exciting than a roller coaster.

We ended our day in HIGH notes… as this Taxi ride is much more *sai lei* than the one I took in Istanbul. super bumpy roads, uncountable pot holes, no street light at all, bicycles, people, dogs, goats, cow and a Taxi that's felt like it gonna break into pieces anytime.

Mr.Taxi driver sped towards our hotel like we are being chased by t-rex!

There were few almost accidents incident, where taxi almost ramps into bicycles, cars and etc. he was so fast I cant recall what happen. as expected, The Woman did *ADVISED* him to slow down but to no avail, The Woman nagging just make him wanna reach the destination faster to drop us off and stop the nagging!

In my room I found a dead cockroach and I wonder who is the murderer? Without giving much thought about that murder in my room, I went to sleep…

Few hours later, I woke up to pee and saw this spider as big as my palm crawling on the wall.
I took my camera, snap a few photos be4 I revenged for the Siu Kiong!
Good Night!!!!

Nepal 2.0 -WATER-

We started our day in a very IDIOTIC way…
I Woke up 5.30 to pack my stuff so that we can be on schedule for "The 6.15am breakfast" followed by "The 7am Van to Pokhara", The Schedule was arranged by the Travel Agency. I reached to the hotel restaurant at 6.15am to find breakfast was still being prepared and the waiter told me it will be ready in 10mins. So I go jalan2 around the hotel garden for 10 mins, and then return to the restaurant

10min after 10min after 10min, finally breakfast server at 7am. *Ah Cha Timing* is always like that; 45mins late is nothing in Ah Cha Land.

A fren told me that it's normal for Ah Cha to come 12pm for a 8am appointment or maybe not coming at all. I had deal with lotta ah cha in Dubai and they are exactly like that, irresponsible!

10 minutes can mean anything from 30minutes to not coming at all. In chinese "Catch Ghost also Agreed", meaning they will say yes-yes-yes but never do!
0ne of the most extreme stroy I heard from a fren was that once his fren, an Ah-Cha wanna meet up with him.

2pm - Tan suppose to meet up with Ah Cha.

4pm - 2hours pass but that Ah Cha still not there, so Tan called that fellow up, ah-cha replied "On The Way"!

5pm - Ah Cha face hasn’t arrived yet, so Tan called again, Ah Cha replied "10 minutes"!

6pm - Ah Cha still no where to be found, Tan called again, Ah Cha Replied "Let's meet another day!"
Most of Nepali are actually ah-cha, that's why they arranged the timing according to ah cha time.

We took off from Hotel Himalayan at 8am, exactly an hour late or we still on time if ah-cha time is taken as benchmark. It was the first time I seen an elephant on the street, amazingly urban elephant.

When going downhill along the "highway" towards Pokhara, we met Nepal's Lance Amstrong, better, stronger and also took a passenger, 60km/h! I done this before in Sandakan hill, very exciting but this Nepal Kampung Highway got lotta potholes.

The road is so tight, two vehicles can hardly pass the same spot. Usually the distance between two passing vehicles are less then a feet.

After 2.30hours of travel, we reached the spot for River Rafting, which was scheduled so that those princesses don’t feel ass pain for sitting too long in the van. The so called River Rafting Centre was nothing more than row of kampung houses, it more of a personal business for Captain Shankar!

I don’t mind if it’s a small or big company but I do mind wait-wait-wait! Shouldn’t he get everything ready before we reach? After all we reached that spot around 10.30pm, which is fucking late for a Nepali! I didn’t pay all those fucking money to wait! So more so to wait under the h0t sun which I got more than enough in dubai!

There were lotta toilet and those were magnificient toilets, remind me of my younger days in Grandpa place.

one shall make use of his time instead of just complaining like a woman!
as a construction man, what interest me most is structure.
Roof full of Rock-weight to prevent those Zink Sheets from flying away, that's Innovatives
Open steelbars ready for future vertical expension, that's good planning!!!
There are lotta hanging bridges along the river and what is most amazing are those trolley use for transporation across the river.
I didn’t manage to pix those trolleys but its an amazing because everytime I saw someone use it, I felt like watching a stun!
I was pretty bored when the crews pumped up the those plastic boats but I'm pretty sure the princesess were pretty excited watching the super fit nepali guy jump-pumping in brief! After the 2boats were fully pumped up, we were given a brief about rafting. I dint give much attention as I was told the rafting programme is more like a picnic. we must had waited for around 45minutes for the whole setup. Oh! This country need some real management…

So off we go into the river… row…row…row the boat… I feel more like boat romancing in the lake than rafting although we dressed up like tekwando exponents with the head protection and life-jacket. we even manage to snap a few photos as we romance along the river… learn a few nepali words from the captain and teased all those nepali women along the river bank. This rafting was as easy as ABC, most of us were wet but that's only because we play water throwing with the captain and the other boat.

The captain said the next part will be hard but I saw the other boat passed easily, so I thought it was some scarecrow tactics by the captain. we were told to row hard, I did row but not very hard because I was still trying to sychonize with eric rythmn. suddenly the captain shouted us to squt inside as it was taught during the brief, so did we.
I was pretty sure then, he was just fooling us around just like he asked us to row fro and back for nothing. a second later, I was thrown outside the boat and into the water. for 5-10seconds I was under water spinning without control push by river current. there are nothing I can do, I drank some river water which tasted like soil. I was spinning so fast, I wasn’t even sure which direction was for the surface. I knew I wont die but I don’t want to knock fainted and get a mouth to mouth first aid by the moustahce captain shankar.

I emerge from the water about 10m away from the other boat, they throw me the rescue rope and I grapped it with all my might. Oh! What a relieve. I started to look around for the others and I saw capt. Shankar, eric, pink and lian on our boat about 50m away from the boat I was clingging to. I saw eric specs still with him so I assumed that they didn’t fall into the water.

mean while I am still inside water with my hand holding to the safety rope along the side of the other boats. The crew onboard still looks very nervous, my guess was that they are still others in the river. One of the crew tried to pull me up from the water to no avail bcoz I am too heavy lol. I drifted in the water with the boat for about 10minutes before they manage to pull me up. I saw Jess being pulled up to the boat I'm on with teary eyes, she is the last one rescued.

At the end nobody lose their life, we lose two unopen 0ne-litre mineral water, Jess' pair of Nike slippers. We recovered Eric's pair of slippers, Eric's half full bottle of water and our camera safe inside the water tight seal cling to the boat.

me & jess climb back to our own boats and proceed with the rafting. capt. Avoid surfing the waves again as Jess broke down.

I learnt that, our boat capsized and I was the first one thrown out as I sat infront of the rising side. Jess & Lian briefly trapped under the boats that scare the shit outta Jess but Lian is stronger. the capt. Turn back the capsized boat by tiying himself to oneside of the boat and standing on top of it then jump into the river in the opposite direction. Eric, Lian & Pink were the 1st one to be rescued.

These 3teenagers are the one who pulled me out from river.

Do you know why our life is always Half-full or Half-empty (depends on how you see it)? Because a full bottle sink and a half-full or half-empty bottle floats, that's why we cant have everything in life so that we can life on.

Is hard to get angry after such exciting adventures, although we gotta wait again for capt shankar to prepare lunch for us. Pink like it, its all ORGANIC and it being prepare fresh! LOL!

I felt like Zoo animal when all the villagers come and look at us, so we give them some food too. One is so cute, look like Tarzan!
Contrary to the desert where I came from, Nepal has unlimited Water resources but they still need to bath in the public. Count your blessing, men!

As a City-zen, we cant take natural water because it's full of micro organism which our digesting system can take it. Iodine was used as antidote for the lunch water, sometimes I feel ashamed comparing myself with all those villagers because our body has grown weak by all the luxurious in the city.

The whole lunch things took us about 1.5hours as Nepali like it slow and easy. Continue the journey after lunch, a typical Nepali Bus will be fully loaded. Fully LOADED!
Really packed like Sardin, even for a long journey... AMAZING how this people can live in such a crowded community!
We stopped over at a empty petrol ksiok to pee. Due to changes in Nepal Political Landscape, there are problems getting fuel from India. When news that a certain Petrol Station has fuel, the que can be as long as 4KM! How blessed are we in Msia although the FUEL prices are sky high now.
found a Nepali shit inside the toilet and it doesnt sting like ours because Nepali eat organic food! LOL!
We pass by a Nepali Stadium where the Semi-final of Nepal Cup was being played. Football is Nepal no.1 sport and yet they stadiums are only as good as our kampung field.

we reached Pokhara about 4pm, there is big lake there and lotta trading going on around the lake, mostly to cheat tourist? I guess...Checked in The Bahrari Hotel, bath and business resume as usual thanks to... The free Ipod Touch from my company... wakaka, such a cool gadget!
I found shuttlecock's feathers inside my trousers pockets; it must be there because I always picked it up from the court to prevent slipping. Candles? Matches? Seems like a SM dens to me :p
Spotted a very big Snail about 10 to 15cm long, in fact this is the biggest Snail I ever seen! A big way to start Pokhara-ing!

After 30min nap, we went to have lunch at restaurant the driver recommended, a True Nepali Food. So WAIT again, although the driver order for us at 5pm, we reached there at 7pm, still gotta wait! It was peak season so foods prepared yet. Nepali foods are similar to Indian food. Eric love the food so much, he declare that's the best grilled chicken he ever had. He must be very hungry! LOL!

After dinner, we went to walk around Pokhara Street which is a tourist spot. I feel so Sabah in Pokhara because they have regular electricity cut. This street is long but not crowded as tourist season only start in 2weeks time. Yeah! We were 2weeks early to skip the "traffics" as we got enough of that in Dubai!

most shops have generator, just like Sabah generator must be one of the best selling items in Nepal. Pink and Jess went to cyber café, Lian and Eric bought some bags and later we went to drink in m00ncafe!!! m00ncafe is one of the most western like cafe in Pokhara!

Tasted Nepali, Himalayan & etc tea… all the same to me! Nepal teas are alright but not their coffee, tested a bit weird for me.
I spotted a Malaysian Flag among all this badges! kekeke...

We back hotel around 9pm to get ready for next morning 4.45am trip to see Annapurna Himalaya Range Sunrise!