A Travellerspoint blog

Bhaktapur

Honey lattes and king curd


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We took a verrrry local bus to Bhaktapur and as usual had no clue where we were when we got off. They must teach the locals here to be compassionate because once again a young local girl and her mother offered to guide us to our hotel. All they asked in exchange was a photo with us. We immadiatly forked over $15 and 2 passport photos to get our pass into Durbar Square for the length of our Visa. We went crazy taking photos and wandering the square. Along a side road a little boy approached me and asked, "Mango? Biscuit?" I thought he was asking to show me to his parents store, so I follow him. As Dominic predicted we wound up in a convenience store where he begged me to buy him cookies and soda. I agreed to one biscuit and juice. I had been conned out of 35 cents. It's also in these alleys that Dominic and I discovered "buff momo”.. delicious streamed dumplings that we ate in a small room with all locals.
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Later in the afternoon we discovered ”Beans", a glorious coffee shop fun by a great young guy who not only sings american sins while he works and plays with the tourists babies but also greets everyone with "Nameste, how are you? Where are you from? Anything for you-everything for you!" He is also the same wonderful person who introduced me to honey lattes and king crud which is made from yak milk and can only be found in Bhaktapur. He was getting off work soon so he showed us to a great local restaurant. The type of place only 5% of you would be willing to eat in but we are there twice and throghly enjoyed a liter of their home made rice beer.

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The next morning we woke up early to view and photograph the temples before the crowds were climbing all over them. Then it was time to pack and head for the hills... Nagarkot!

Posted by AlohaInAsia 20:25 Archived in Nepal Comments (1)

Kathmandu

The city of no sidewalks


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After finally gathering our luggage and getting to the Elbrus Home in the semi sketchy part of Thamal, we finally can start our adventure! Our place was very cozy. We had our own balcony and were offered delicious tea to enjoy from the roof top garden.

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On first impression Katmandu is dirty. Very dirty. It's hard to imagine until you are in it. The sun isn't visible through the smog, there's no trash cans to be found. Dogs, cows and goats freely roam the streets. It becomes harder to breathe the longer you are there.

We asked around and our hotel host suggested walking to Swayambhunath.. mostly known as the monkey temple. He said it was a 30 min walk. After 20 minutes of walking half in rubble half in the street dodging cars and motorbikes we were very lost. No one seemed to be able to read our map. Luckily a taxi spotted our look of desperation and pulled over. After one of the strangest drives I've ever taken on what should not be allowed to be called roads, we arrived! It was much bigger than I had imagined based on pictures I'd seen. Dominic unknowingly befriended a local man who sort of became our guide giving us information about the temple that may or may not have been true.

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We decided to walk down a very steep flight of stairs where there were monkeys. I bought a bag of peanuts for about a dollar and made my wildest dreams come true by feeding wild monkeys. It wasn't before long that a monkey smarter than me grabbed the whole bag. I screamed which seemed to delight the locals around me. After getting back to the road we found a taxi to take us back. Unfortunately he had no clue where our hotel was and gave up and dropped us off in a part of town we had never seen and insisted our hotel was "just down to road". It certainly was not. A sweet local guy saw our confused faces and walked us all the way back! We spent the rest of the night walking the streets trying to get the best deal on knock off North Face fleeces as it was very cold out. Turns out this is the best $7 I've spent as I have been living in this jacket for 2 weeks. Enjoyed a yummy free breakfast in the morning, then off to Bhaktapur.
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Posted by AlohaInAsia 06:09 Archived in Nepal Comments (2)

Sleeping in airports

5 planes, one hotel and two lovebirds


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In order to get to Nepal we had to: Fly to Oahu, find Philippine Airlines, fly to the Philippines, go through immigration, take scary car ride to hotel, sleep. Wake up to scary car ride to airport, fly to Bangkok, explore airport for 9 hour layover after huge hour long immigration line. Fly to Mumbai, explore hotel, contemplate sleeping during 8 hour layover from midnight to 8 am. Fly to Nepal. Cry happy years as you fly over the Himalaya Mountains.

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We made it! Let the adventure begin!

Posted by AlohaInAsia 06:51 Archived in USA Comments (2)

The Hardest Part

Saying goodbyes and packing lists

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We are less than 5 and a half hours from takeoff and although exhausted I think we are both too excited and nervous to sleep. We've been busy loading our tablets with apps, putting music on ipods and clearing space on SD cards. It's been hard saying "goodbye for now" to our friends and family here but it's awesome to know we have people who love us to come back to (not to mention jobs to return to as well)
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After lots of hugs came the dreaded part. Packing our life into 45 liters. Something I found most helpful were packing lists so I will include mine.
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The List:
Tops: 4 tanks, 2 tshirts, 1 rain jacket, 1 warmer base jacket (mostly for Nepal)
Bottoms: One knee length skirt for temples, leggings, soft comfy cozy pants for plane/air-con buses/keeping the bugs off, board shorts, linen shorts and denim shorts.
One dress!
Undies, 2 pairs of socks, 2 sets of pajamas
1 wireless bra, 3 sports bras
2 bikinis
2 pairs of sandals/slippers, 1 pair lightweight Merrell shoes
Odds and Ends: chargers for everything. bug spray, sunblock, pre-made first aid kit with stuff we already had, door stopper, metal mesh to protect our bags from theft. 3 months of contacts, clothes line, laundry detergent for sink.
Dive log book and PADI card!!!

Everything else is what you would expect. I did bring some makeup but just a tinted moisturizer with SPF, blush, eyeliner and mascara. I got bar shampoo to save space. I bought packing cubes and tons of other awesome organizing bags so nothing in loose in my bag. Both our bags ring in around 25 pounds. Mine expands to 55 liters if needed. If anyone wants any specifics let me know. I'm really excited to see what we are so happy we had and also what we ditch after a couple weeks.

There's no way I could explain how I'm feeling. So so very nervous but also very ready. It's hard to believe that we are finally going to see what all our hard work was for. Takeoff in 5 hours 15 minutes!!!

Posted by AlohaInAsia 05:17 Comments (0)

9 months ago...

the story behind the one-way ticket

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Nearly 9 months ago my best friend Andy returned from his adventure in Southeast Asia. It only look a few day of him living with us to see how much traveling had changed him. Dominic and I had mentioned to each other how we would love to travel so one day out of curiosity we searched for one-way tickets to see how much it would be to get to Bangkok. We stared in shock at my laptop at how cheap it was. After a very brief discussion and a shimmer in our eyes, we booked our tickets. As the months went by pieces fell together and next thing we knew we also had round trip tickets to Nepal and a return flight home.

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After 9 months of getting passports, backpacks, travel insurance, subletting our apartment, vaccinations, reading TONS of packing list recommendations, and saving every penny we can its FINALLY time to go.

Getting ready for this trip was so much more involved than I had imagined . After pouring over travel websites about people living out of 40 liter backpacks for months at a time, I figured it was an easy 3 step process: Buy backpack, get passport, board plane. If only. We've spent countless hours on the phones with airlines fixing crazy flight changes, tons of time reading up on the countries we are visiting and shopping for supplies all while balancing crazy 60+hr work weeks. It feels so incredible to be embarking on a journey that we both worked so hard to make happen.

"We start with 2 weeks in Nepal, then go back to Thailand to backpack though Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos." It's a sentence I feel like I've said a million times but never felt real until I was wrapping up my last hours of working knowing when I was done it would just be a couple more days until I would be boarding the plane.

Special thanks to our friends and family who have put up with me counting down the months, weeks and days. We look forward to taking you on this trip with us and hope you enjoy our photos and stories.

Posted by AlohaInAsia 00:23 Archived in USA Comments (1)

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