Archive for the 'Himalayas' Category

Top 5 Scenery Photos

Over the last fifteen months since starting this travel blog I have shared a vast number of photos from my photo gallery. This gallery now has over 850 photos posted, 550 of them mine; the remainder have been taken by either my son or my wife.

I thought I’d share with you my five favourite photos of scenery.

1. Ama Dablam, Nepal

Without doubt my favourite photo so far would have to be this shot of the mountain Ama Dablam taken while on a trek towards Mt. Everest. This magnificent mountain dominates the path taken up through this amazing part of Nepal. I love this photo so much I have used it as the wallpaper photo on my computer.

Ama Dablam, Nepal

Ama Dablam, Nepal

2. Scene near Monjo, Everest region, Nepal

This amazing mountain was the backdrop from our lodge in Monjo, a small village we stayed in on our trek towards Mt. Everest. I don’t know its name and I haven’t the time to do the research to find out.

Scene from our lodge in Monjo, Nepal

Scene from our lodge in Monjo, Nepal

3. Yak and Yeti Lodge, Everest region, Nepal

This beautiful scene was photographed on our trek through the Himalayas last year. We didn’t stay in this beautiful lodge.

Yak and Yeti Lodge

Yak and Yeti Lodge

4. Mt. Lofty Botanic Gardens, near Adelaide, South Australia

This beautiful scene is typical of many such photos one could take in the Adelaide Hills and the Mt. Lofty Ranges near Adelaide in South Australia. I feel privileged to live just a half hour drive from numerous scenes like this. Readers of my blog Trevor’s Writing will recognise this photo because it has been used in the banner on the home page.

Mt Lofty Botanic Gardens

Mt Lofty Botanic Gardens

5. Waitpinga Beach, South Australia

South Australia, my home state, has a long coastline. Scenes like this one can be seen in many different locations.

Waitpinga Beach, Newland Head CP

Waitpinga Beach, Newland Head CP

Click on any photo to enlarge the image.

To view more of my photos go to my photo gallery.

Special note: This article was inspired by the Group Writing Project being run by Darren Rowse on his blog ProBlogger. This article is NOT an entry in the project; my entry can be found here on Trevor’s Birding.

UPDATE: I have also written an article called Top 5 Writing Hints on my blog called Trevor’s Writing.

On a clear day in Kathmandu

Himalayas from a street in Kathmandu

Himalayas from a street in Kathmandu

One of the downsides of visiting Kathmandu is coping with the pollution. Because the Kathmandu Valley is like a natural amphitheatre, pollution from the city tends to sit over the city for long periods of time. I found the atmosphere to be somewhat distressing at times, and a dry throat is one’s constant companion.

Sometimes a breeze comes along and clears the air. It is then that one can fully appreciate the stunningly amazing setting of this city. With a backdrop of the snow-capped Himalayas in the distance, this has to be one of the more beautiful settings for a capital city anywhere. It’s just a pity that the view is restricted to a smoky haze for most of the year.

Book Review: Against a Peacock Sky

Against a Peacock Sky written by Monica Connell. Published by Penguin Books (Viking) in 1991.

Monica Connell grew up in Northern Ireland and is an anthropologist who went to live in a rural village in Nepal. She lived and worked for two years with a Nepali family, sharing their celebrations, their hardships, their food and their hard labour in the fields to provide a subsistence living. One family took her in, sharing their everyday lives on a very personal level with her, allowing her to virtually become one of the family.

Monica witnessed first hand the villagers’ way of life. She learned how to care for the animals, how to plant and harvest rice and the best way to hunt a boar. She relates the significance of their many religious ceremonies, beliefs and festivals. She relates – without any hint of being judgmental – the importance of various customs employed to appease the local gods in order to have a successful crop or produce healthy animals.

This is a fascinating account of life in rural Nepal as it has been for many centuries and had remained largely untouched by outside influences. Here and there in her narrative, however, there are hints of change in their somewhat cloistered existence. Outside pressures were beginning to show. For example, one young man finds work building roads in nearby India, and he leaves permanently. The old ways were beginning to change, and I suspect if the author returned to that village today there would be many more changes apparent.

I would suspect that this book is now out of print. I bought mine via the internet as a used copy after I had experienced a touch of Nepali life when I went to visit there in 2006. To read more of my impressions of life in Nepal, go to the Contents on the sidebar, or click on several of the Categories, also on the sidebar.

Exhilarating journey to Kathmandu

After my brief visit to Royal Chitwan National Park in southern Nepal, we finally managed to get a ride back to Kathmandu. This was in a mini bus arranged by the manager of the hotel where we were staying. It was far more comfortable than the battered and cramped conditions of the small 4WD we had travelled in the previous day.

We woke early, well before dawn. We had a light breakfast before leaving. For the first hour or so the journey was slow. Not only was the road very pot holed, but the fog was extremely thick. There was no doubt that we would not have been able to fly back to Kathmandu, even if we had been able to get tickets.

At first the traffic was relatively light, but after dawn this increased markedly. Our driver was very skilled at avoiding pot holes, pedestrians, cyclists, animals, children, larger buses and overtaking ponderous trucks labouring through the hills.

As we began the climb up to Kathmandu the scenery along the road became truly spectacular. The highway follow a river valley so the road was rarely straight. I had no opportunity to take photos: I needed to hang on to the rail on the back of the seat in front of me to prevent myself from being thrown from one side of the bus to the other.

The river far below the road was boulder strewn and would have been an excellent white water rafting location. What worried me was the drop of over a hundred metres from the road to the river. There was little in the way of barriers between the road and the river. The few barriers that were there seemed very inadequate in my mind.

Added to that concern were the frequent – perhaps every hundred metres or so – road signs warning about falling rocks from the mountains above the road. Both of these concerns made me forget about the hazards of the road itself. The driver was very skillful at overtaking on crests, blind corners and at avoiding collisions in the face of oncoming traffic.

It was truly a “white-knuckle” ride.

Related article:

Travels in Nepal #53 Flight back to Kathmandu

The morning after the finish of our trek we were woken up early to catch our flight back to Kathmandu. Our lodge in Lukla was about a three minute walk to the airport terminal. We had breakfast – the little I could stomach – and then waited for the siren. I didn’t want to eat too much, anticipating the flight back to Kathmandu.

The return trip is just as adventurous as the flight in to Lukla, except this time the plane heads down the slope and is hopefully airborne by the time it reaches the end of the runway. The alternative is a plummet several hundred metres to the river below, not the preferred outcome.

This time I had a single seat two back from the pilots and was therefore not as squeezed in and I had a window seat. The flight back to Kathmandu was rough for the first twenty minutes but smoothed out as we approached our destination. On arrival we were soon back in the relative peacefulness of the Shangri La Hotel.

It was great to have a decent shower again, not to mention a comfortable bed for a change. Interestingly, on this day I only took the photo below. It shows the garden of the hotel from our bedroom window.

Related article:

Shangri La Hotel Kathmandu

Shangri La Hotel Kathmandu