Category Archives: Himalayas

ARE BUDDHISTS BETTER LOOKING? – Nepal

Thupten Chholing monastery, Nepal

Why does the sight of a buddhist priest or nun always fill me with an irresistible urge to pull out the camera? There is no scene, whether in a crowded city street or in pristine wilderness, that won’t be enhanced by including a robed figure with a shaved head. Continue reading

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KATHMANDU, NEPAL – faces in the street

Tourist town Thamel

Kathmandu is big, busy, dirty, noisy, touristy, disorderly, sweaty, confronting and generally unpleasant. It’s the people that make it fascinating… Continue reading

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GARMIN 500 GPS – does it work in the Himalayas?

Navigation in the Himalayas is not difficult, at least, not when following the ‘Everest Highway’ in peak trekking season. Just follow the yaks, the guides, the porters and the Germans and you’ll be fine. It’s not a road you’d want to divert from anyway. A step or two off the beaten track could leave you several hundred metres lower in a matter of seconds. Continue reading

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AUSSIE RULES FOOTBALL comes to Nepal

We’ve been doing our bit to help the march of the greatest game on earth – AFL or Aussie Rules football – across the planet. I can reliably report that it was football played at the highest level – 3880 metres in fact, with Mt Everest as a backdrop.

The Thyangboche Yaks are fearless, agile and incredibly fit, but they still have a way to go in developing basic skills in kicking and hand-balling, and their ground needs a bit of levelling. When the ball goes out of bounds on the western side of the field, the boundary umpire needs to scramble down through the bushes, clear cows out of the way and grab the ball before it winds up in the river.

Once supercoach Kevin Sheedy has finished setting up his new team in western Sydney, he could do worse than head for the hills of Nepal to give the Yaks a few pointers. A Nepali premiership-winning team may be some years off, but we can assure Sheeds he’ll have a good time.

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NEPAL – in praise of Sherpas

If the buddhists are right and I get another life, I want to come back as a Sherpa. Not that I want to do their work; I just want their strength and endurance for my next hiking trip.

Sherpa porters are expected to be able to carry twice their body weight. I feel comfortable with about 20kg – sadly less than a quarter of my own bulk.

Sherpa Gopal is a head shorter than me, and half my weight. I’m carrying two litres of water, a rain jacket and a camera in my day pack. He’s carrying two folding tables, sandwiching six folding chairs. All are made of steel. Gopal tells me he’s forty years old. Continue reading

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HIMALAYAS, NEPAL – why a chopper is the best

Due to bad weather, flights to Lukla have been cancelled for the three days. We’re only going to Phaphlu, but there’s a such a backlog at Kathmandu Airport that we’re unlikely to get a plane there for another two days. ‘Two possibilities,’ says our guide Ang, ‘we could take a helicopter tomorrow, which will cost an extra $450 each. Or we could take a bus and walk to Phaphlu from there.’

Our group discusses this for a while, before someone asks, ‘Just how long is the bus ride?’

Ang considers this for a while. ‘Maybe eleven-twelve hours.’

‘And we can walk from there?’

‘We can walk, yes.’

‘How far?’

More thought, then, ‘Maybe four days walking.’

‘We’ll take the helicopter please.’

It turns out to be money very well spent. A forty minute flight, with views of the Himalayas that we’ll remember forever.

The writer was the guest of World Expeditions.

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