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Our 5 Night/6 Day Tour #7

Napal Tour 0311st Stop: Pokhara 

Elisa Korenne Hundred Miles to Nowhere landed here!

Our tour consists of 3 stops in Nepal: Pokhara, Chitwan and Lumbini.  There were 2 hard parts of our drive.  1st one – Due to the holiday, was getting out of Kathmandu to Pokhara. The roads were filled with cars, buses, trucks, and scooters, packed to the brim, including animals.  We visited with a man at supper the night before who was leaving to be with his family.  He was going on an 18 hour bus ride, most likely standing most the way.  Kyung and William’s house keeper’s trip, would be 2 days driving and 1 day walking to be with her husband’s family.  The roads are not all paved smooth like America – it’s a JOURNEY of love – of being together with family.  We made it to Pokhara – kuddo’s to our driver, Kumar.  I’m going to be giving him lots of kuddo’s with this blog!  Amy went paragliding, it was a thrill for her – and a thrill for me to keep my feet on. the. ground.  We visited the Seti River gorge, temples and a cave.  We also enjoyed an evening boat ride on Phewa Tal (Fewa Lake), and stopped at an island with a temple.  We could hear the insects humming … Amy heard them from the sky when she was paragliding. The area we stayed was very low-key compared to Kathmandu and less dusty.  The shops were along the lake and it reminded me of a huge Nisswa, Minnesota!

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Our third day, Thursday, we headed out early morning for Chitwan National Park.  The 2nd hard part … It was a 7 hour drive – 28 miles of it was not paved, with many holes to dodge, dusty, and hot.  It reminded me of my grandson showing me an intense video game of dodging all kinds of objects and surviving!  The road is 2 lane with huge buses beeping, cars and motorcycles, flashing lights and horns – coming towards you, or passing you before the next on-coming vehicle misses you.  Women exquisitely dressed, with scarves flying in the wind or covering their faces to keep out the dust, children nestled tightly between parents on scooters/motorcycles, with packages tied to the sides.  The drive was an adventure of its own – with the mountains keeping you company – and Kumar expertly maneuvering every mile.  Chitwan is worth every minute of the drive – I promise!

We had a guided walk in a typical Tharu village, a jungle walk, seeing different species of birds, a canoe ride on the Budhi Rapti River and saw crocodiles, who were not interested in us, but watchful.  An evening walk delighted us with a rhino … and the next day an elephant back safari.  Our mahout was determined to discover animals for us and his elephant walked with ease through the jungle.  Lastly, a fun bonus … we enjoyed being with an elephant – and I think he enjoyed having fun with us – cooling us down with many, many sprays, before letting us down in the river.  What fun we had!  Santa was our guide and a brilliant man with a great sense of humor.  He spoke 6 different languages.

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I think we’re all having a great time – look at that smile on the elephant ; )                                He loved being in the river.

Our last leg of the journey was Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha.  We made it in 4 hours and the terrain changed greatly.  We were in the southern plains.  The temperature felt even hotter than in Chitwan. “Lumbini is one of the holiest places of one of the world’s great religions, and its remains contain important evidence about the nature of Buddhist pilgrimage centres from as early as the 3rd century BC.”

We first toured the international monastic zones and saw temples from different countries – China, Japan, Vietnam, Thailand.  Then we went to the Maya Devi Temple.  Pictures weren’t allowed.  I wish we could have spent more time here.  It was spiritually moving to me, and I’m so grateful to have experienced spending time in this holy city.

As we were leaving for the day … I looked up to the sky …

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A beautiful closing to our journey. 

We decided rather than drive the 8 hours back to Kathmandu, we’d fly – a 30 minute flight.  We were exhausted.  The bonus was being able to see the snow covered mountains – spectacular!  Kumar said “Ok” to a hug, and sent us off. What a great guy!  We had a driver waiting for us at the Kathmandu Airport – and delivered us to Kyung and William’s.  All was done with so much ease.  Shikhar, with Himalaya Expeditions, Inc, did an excellent job planning this trip for us.  He followed up on us periodically – details were taken care of and I highly recommend him for travel planning!

Words are difficult to express emotions, as they are felt with the heart.  This has been an emotional journey on so many levels.  I am grateful for the gift of life and the ability to be able to live in a time where travel can be done with such ease.  Most people on this planet are filled with kindness – it’s a wonder-filled world.

Our days continue in Kathmandu.

For now … I wish you love and peace.

Namaste

Kathmandu … Here We Come! #4

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We’re off!

First stop: Dubai

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The sun was streaming through the windows as we landed, so I was able to get a sense of the immense desert that ripples in the wind … and the intense morning heat.

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Flying into Dubai

About 34 hours after leaving Washington DC we arrived in Kathmandu.  The morning after, we enjoyed coffee and breakfast a few steps from the apartment: Top of the World Coffee is a favorite, already!

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William took Amy and me out on a trek around the neighborhood, across the river from Kathmandu.  People are kind.  Traffic is crazy – really.  USA metro traffic has nothing on these drivers.  Lots of horns, scooters, with sometimes 3 people riding, bicycles that are also used for various transportation of goods needed.  The streets are narrow, sometimes hard surfaced, sometimes not.  Shops line the streets, often the shop owners sit outside their doors to greet you when you walk by, with a welcoming, “Namaste”.

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Refrigerator being delivered.

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New construction – bamboo scaffolding.

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Amy in Thamel – Incredible Shopping Experience!

Thursday, we girls went to Garden of Dreams in Kathmandu. Words can’t describe the beauty.  Such a peaceful place within a bustling city.  Here are a few favorite pictures:

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We were encouraged by Kyung and William to look into a private tour package and are waiting for some details …. hmmm … I’ll keep you posted!

I could not have dreamed a dream this BIG!

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and best wishes …

Sending Love to All ~ Debbie

 

My Trip to Nepal ~ Journal Entry #2 … Planning

Welcome!  This continues to be the unfolding of experiences … and I haven’t even left home yet!

When Kyung  asked me to go to Nepal … the first image that came to me was the immersion of BEing in an ancient spiritual vortex, surrounded with kindness and joy.  The feeling was peaceful. I hang on to that, when I start to feel anxious or overwhelmed.  I’m a “Cancer” … home is where I nest … I’ve done limited traveling and never out of the country. The longest trip was 2 weeks. Generally I go for 4 days/3 overnights.  Now it’s for nearly a month and far, far from home.  I’ve been amazed at how Synchronicity/Spirit has played a part in the easing of concerns that peek through the corners of my sometime, overactive brain:

  • No vaccinations needed.
  • I thought I’d be travelling alone alone to Nepal.  Recently, Kyung was told she needed to attend a conference in Washington, DC in September.  So … in a delightful message, I was told I’d be travelling back to Nepal with her and William.  Yay and whew!
  • My daughter, Jessica, works in the travel industry.  She’s not able to come along, but is delighted to do my travel bookings, getting details about insurance, being my personal drop-off/pick-up service at the airport, shopper extraordinaire regarding “William’s List”, and all around support system.  She and my niece, Ana and friend, Leslie, have been fabulous ; )
  • I was sharing with a younger friend about leaving work and home and everything familiar behind for an adventure.  She said, “Wow, if you want a travel companion – I’d go with you!”  Really!  Kyung said they had room for a guest, and after sending her flight details with my only request being she be on the same flight home with me … she’s booked, nearly packed, and a very seasoned international traveler.  She’s about my daughter’s age, with a “Why not!?” attitude, and easy-going.  I look forward to getting to know her better … she’s going to be so good for me!  Her name is Amy.

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  • William wrote out a list of suggested items to bring.   He’s going to be awesome to spend time with.  Huge kind heart, and already knows so many people in Kathmandu.  He’s athletic.  I’m not. so. much.  He’s excited to share places to go and says we’ll take it slow and easy.  Especially with higher altitudes and me having a heart attack a couple of years ago.  (Gold Star – GO – from Cardiologist!)  Here’s “William’s List”:

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  • A totally fun and amazing story:  Knowing there will be many, MANY hours in-flight, I wanted a great book to read.  A real one.  One to hold on to, turn the pages, fold the corners, pause and think about.  Easy to carry and take me someplace else – other than on the airplane.  I thought, “I’d love to get my hands on Hundred Miles to Nowhere – An Unlikely Love Story, by Elisa Korenne.”  Her just released book was popping up on Facebook, she’s local AND a musician.  I made a mental note to purchase it before leaving.  A few days later, before going to bed, I checked my email and there was a note from the husband of one of my Book Club Gals. Earlier in the afternoon, he had put a book in my blue post mailbox.  He had met the author a few years ago, and included a couple of CD’s … perhaps the Book Club Gals would enjoy it, too.  Yes, indeed, it was THE BOOK!  Elisa was going to be at a local event through the Crossing Arts Alliance.  I went and met her, and through subsequent conversations, realized she knew and sang with my brother, Jake Endres, now with The Rose Ensemble.  “I had the pleasure of performing with him almost ten years ago, and fell in love with your niece Annabelle. Something she said actually became the title and chorus of my song “Keep It In My Heart”. Say hi to Jake from me when you see him!”

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So … along this journey, you will see Hundred Miles to Nowhere, propped up, set down – here and there – following me in my travels.  What fun for both of us!!

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… Starting the Journey … In my own back yard!

It also became very clear to me, that I will be totally taken care of throughout these few months of prep and experience.  Synchronicity and Spirit have been wonderfully reassuring!  (As well as friends and fambly!)

xoxox ~ Debbie