Razzu - the owner of Samsara - he made our Tibet and Nepal trips great
Well we made it through the night without any major bugs, barking dogs or other incidents and packed up ready to head back to Kathmandu after breakfast. At the restaurant, we met a couple of guys probably 50ish with their twelve year old sons who were on vacation. Yesterday, they had driven from Tingri to Everest Base Camp just in time to catch the snowfall, see nothing, then turn around back to Tingri on to Nyalam and finally to Zhangmu, in total about a fourteen hour day (with two pre-teens). And we thought we had a long day! The boys were pretty funny but not to excited about their breakfast of hot milk and soggy corn flakes.
Meanwhile, Tenzin found out that, rather than head home to Lhasa, he is picking up some tourists, probably Indian pilgrims, and heading out west for fourteen days to Mt.
Kailash. He asked his company to send some clothes with the new driver but neglected to call his girlfriend and tell her. Actually, he just got accepted to mountaineering school where he is going to spend three years learning to guide in the Himalayas and hopes to climb all of the big peaks. We have confidence in him - anyone who can jog up to Everest Base Camp while smoking a cigarette should be able to summit.
This is his website www.samsarajourneys.com
Tenzin neglected to tell us about how incredibly inept the Chinese immigration at Zhangmu and how long it would take. There were two big lines by the time we got there - one full of Indian tourists and the other full of westerner’s. All of the Tibetan guides were trying to jockey their tourists to the front of the line. It ended up that we had the bad luck to get in the line of the most retarded, slow, incompetent girl that the Chinese have ever hired for the job. No shit, for each ten people the highly efficient man let through, she let one, meticulously eyeing the passport and the person’s face and then two finger typing. I was ready to kill her. We ended up being the last people through.
Since Jayang had played the same CD over and over for most of our trip, I figured I would rip a copy to my laptop. Unfortunately, he gave me the wrong CD - one of Tibetan songs that is still cool - but at least now maybe Cindy and I can get the syrupy, pop songs out of our head (I type as my head chants “nah-nah-nah-nuh-nah-nah eating monkey momos!” which is what the words to one of the more catchy tunes sounded like…). Tenzin and Jayang dropped us off at the “Friendship Bridge” which is the crazy border crossing between Tibet and Nepal. We were picked up by a representative of the travel agency on the other side where we hoofed it across the bridge and far down a dirt road to the Nepalese immigration checkpoint. For some reason the immigration guy there gave us a 30 day gratis visa instead of the 72 hour transit visa. Perhaps we will see if we can extend our stay in Katmandu a day or two to kick back with good food, get laundry done and figure out what to do with the remainder of our time on the sub-continent.
We walked another ten minutes down the road to a bus that was going to transport us back to Kathmandu. The bus had come up yesterday filled with tourists but we were the only two headed back down to the valley. The scenery was really nice as we descended through the canyon. The guy who picked us up asked if we wanted to stop at this crazy 500 f00t where they have bungy jumping. I guess Nepal is as auspicious a place to die as Mt. Kailash but we said no. Everything was going smoothly until we hit the crazy traffic from Bhaktapur into Kathmandu which probably took over a noisy, smoky hour but we finally got dropped off and walked over to our little retreat in Jyata at the Kantipur Temple House where they upgraded us to a suite J
After settling in, we called Razzu and asked him to look into whether or not we could postpone our Delhi flight by a couple of days and made plans to meet him later this evening for dinner. Cindy went out for some last minute shopping while I checked e-mail. She came back drenched from the rain - guess the monsoon has hit Nepal too.
We met Razzu for dinner to which he again treated us and told him all about the Tibet adventure and gave him a CD of the pictures that I had burned for him earlier. He told us that all of the flights to Delhi were overbooked and that the fare had gone up so it looks like we are off back to the Indian plains in the middle of the monsoon. Should be interesting. We are still trying to figure out where to go and are considering Manali and a drive up to Ladakh from there. Alternatively, we are thinking about heading south to the beach, either Goa or Kerala for a change of scenery (even though it is wet and rainy because of the monsoon).