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'Namaste my friend'
Nepal
'Mo Mo's for me'
Tuesday 16th October 2001 Kathmandu

... arrived at 12:30 at Kathmandu international airport, which is little more than a field and experienced that fastest customs check so far. We were expecting a barrage of taxi drivers offering lifts to there friends hotels. We were far from disappointed!!! Instantly we had around 20 taxi drivers swarming around us and pulling us in several directions. We dived back into the airport, so I could change some money, and had a word with the security guard about the best way to get a taxi to Thamel (the backpackers district of Kathmandu). 'No Problem I will get my friend' he said and led us out of the terminal beating all the taxi drivers with a stick to a waiting car (not sure if it was a taxi) which we pilled into and set off to Thamel. The drivers friend insisted that we stay at the Hotel Crown. I don't think we had much choice because they weren't going to drive us anywhere else. But we agreed to have a look. The hotel was great, very friendly, clean and cheap. We booked a room after Sarena negotiated an even cheaper rate and where offered Nepali tea (sweet and milky - just how I like it) given lots of advice on what to do in Kathmandu, Invited to the roof garden to consume loads of free Whisky and popamdoms and watch the many eagles circling the valley. We were given a great insight into the current (corrupt) politics of Nepal and and an emotional account of the recent tragedy within the Royal Family. We were told that a four day festival will start next week in Nepal and the Hotel Manager, 'Ram', Invited us to his home for one of the days.

I think I'm going to like Nepal!

Can't believe how many men ran up trying to get the both of us to travel with them to which ever hotel they worked for. I found it extremely frustrating as they swarmed around stopping us from walking and shouting frantically whilst trying to grab your bags, I started off by politely declining to becoming a demented mad woman within minutes screaming at them to leave me alone!!

I ended up by putting my fingers in my ears and humming loudly, I probably looked slightly odd but I was fast running out of idea's on how to get away until Toby grabbed my arm and dragged me back into the Airport. We then got a security guard to help us track down a taxi who then proceeded to beat with a large stick any other annoying taxi people, I started feeling a bit guilty.......

We ended up in a taxi taking us to somewhere we didn't ask to go just for 'a look' but we luckily liked the place called the Hotel Crown. I thought I did quite well by bartering a good price for the room, which we then descended on with great enthusiasm as it consisted of a decent bathroom with HOT water and a large room with squashy beds instead of the hardboard beds we had been using everywhere. We were then offered a welcome Nepali tea which we both found delicious - very milky and sweet, and got talking to the men who worked and ran this establishment. They were all such nice friendly people and we realised we were going to love staying in Thamal

We had a trog around the town for a bit and we both realised we hadn't stop grinning, the people were all so happy and the place had a great atmosphere you just couldn't help yourself. We sat up on the roof top of our Hotel that evening and ended up drinking whiskey and chatting to the group of people who worked there, had a really interesting conversation on politics and the their Royal Family. We were also invited to Ram's home (he ran the hotel) to celebrate the oncoming festival which we thought was very kind and agreed eagerly. Later we had some dinner at a local restaurant and I had my first decent bowl of soup and some garlic bread- oh dear some seriously good food to consume....... Went back and slept like logs for the first time since leaving England.

Wednesday 17th October 2001 Kathmandu

We decided that we should be in Kathmandu for the Diwali festival so I immediately booked us on a 3 day white water rafting and camping trip that took us to Chitwan National Park in the jungles of southern Nepal for two nights camping with the wildlife. Sarena has always stated that she doesn't like camping, but seemed very happy about this trip. We spent the rest of the day walking the lively streets of Kathmandu, filled with colour, incense and con artists. Our first stop was Durbur Square which is the original place of the royal palace and is still full of religious buildings. Then we hiked to Swayambuthunath Stupa (Monkey Temple) and saw lots of monkeys and temples!

The guy who had sold us our trip offered to take us to a traditional Nepali restaurant that evening. The food was very good, a lot like Indian food although I think with less meat. We had to leave for our trip at 6:30 so went back to our hotel after our meal.

Awoke quite early and went and had b'fast on the roof overlooking the amazing roof tops of Thamal then went and organised a 5 day excursion. I didn't really think about the camping side of this trip only about the fun we would have white water rafting. Spent the day walking around lots of temples and especially liked the Monkey Temple which had wild monkey's living on it. Found the whole place colourful and vibrant I can understand why our friend Joy loved it so much. The colour of the woman's Sari's were breathtaking and the shops were fascinating, I feel another shopping spree coming... You did see the poverty has well though, the beggars were always around along with the maimed and dirty children so you were always aware of other peoples misfortunes.

Went out to dinner at a Nepali restaurant and I can see why they are all thin - wouldn't feed a sparrow!! tasted good but with my appetite I left knowing I would be eating Western food for the duration of my stay.

Thursday 18th October 2001 Trishulli River

We left at 6:30 and stored most of our baggage at the hotel. I jumped on the back of a motorbike and Sarena had a rickshaw and we where taken to a waiting coach (via the jogging route of the Ghurka army much to Sarena's delight) and taken on a 3 hour trip out of the Kathmandu Valley to the Trishulli River to start our Rafting trek. We were joined by a very excitable, but funny American and Canadian who had just climbed Everest and two somewhat more subdued Germans.

We set of on our raft at about midday, The American was getting even more excited as he had been told that the rapids would be between grades 3 and 5. We were told between 2 and 3 so Sarena was getting a little nervous. The rapids weren't too bad at all but the American still whooped at every little ripple. The only real experience we had was of a dead body of a man left floating and bloated at the side of the river. He had either drowned or had been thrown in as the river eventually runs into the holy Ganges River in India were poor people are thrown into when they die. I don't think this guy would make it though as he was caught up on the rocks.

We got to our camp at about 4 and the American and Canadian got a bus back to Kathmandu. The camp was great just the 4 of us (the two Germans) and two tents on a beach next to rapids. Perfect!!!...

We split some clothes up so we could leave a load behind at the hotel and got picked up at 6.30am by one rickshaw and one motorbike, myself and the backpack went into the rickshaw whilst Toby went on the bike. It was a terrifying experience that seemed to last for hours as the young man taking me insisted on driving for the pedestrians at a breakneck speed before swerving at the last minute to avoid them, I'm sure he did this on purpose just so he could frighten me and listen to my frail cries of terror from behind ...git.

Anyway arrived in one piece at the coach we had to board and found ourselves sharing with 2 gunhoe Americans ( you know the type that woop at everything ) and 2 very quiet Germans. 3 hours later we arrived to the start of our rafting trip on the Trishulli River, kitted out and ready we boarded our vessel. The first day was fun and the rapids weren't so bad, quite exciting in fact until I saw the dead bloated body of a man caught on some rocks, when I enquired why was he just left there the instructor just said 'no one cares' .....

We stopped for lunch on a deserted beach which was beautiful and then set off again for the afternoon, the scenery was lovely and consisted of steep cliffs covered in thick tropical jungle with the intermittent waterfall cascading down into the river. We stopped at our next camp at about 4ish and set up some tents for the evening, the 2 Americans said there goodbyes and we settled down for the evening. Our tents were on a small beach right next to the river which was a lovely situation, wonderful scenery. They laid out a sheet on the sand and there we had cups of tea and a wonderful dinner provided by the rafting boys, we then played cards well into the night with the German guys lit only with candles..

Friday 19th October 2001 Trishulli River

...Not for Sarena though. It wasn't until the morning that I was reminded of how she hates camping. u-ohh only 3 more nights in a tent.

We where joined on the river by a bus load of more rafters which swelled our group from 4 people to 16. We had two boats (8 in each) one was for sedate people and one was for the crazy people. We choose the Crazy boat. Along with the Germans, Two completely mad Dutch Men and a Canadian who was infinitely more annoying than the American yesterday.

Anyway the rapids were no more fierce than the day before. But our guide on the 'Crazy' boat. Was in for tipping us out at any opportunity (which he did quite successfully). It was great fun, but Sarena was looking a little uneasy at the prospect of falling in again at every section of Rapids we approached.

We got to our camp again at about 4 and some of the 16 went back home (including the Canadian - whopppeeee!!!!)

Sarena had had enough of the rafting (and so had I), and she was feeling pretty ill, but we were told that it was just a couple of hours paddling to Chitwan tomorrow, and no rapids So we made a campfire and sat on the beach for the evening.

God I hate tents and can't understand the need for people to go out into the wilderness (or Sandy Balls campsite) and do this shite for fun.... I didn't sleep a wink due to the amount of the insects outside that insisted on coming inside, the zip on the tent door was broken so knowing that did not constitute a good nights kip. I insisted on putting up my mosquito net at some mad time in the night but found it wasn't made for a small tent and sleeping bag. I ended up in the morning wrapped up like a cocoon unable to breathe due to the amount of deet the net had impregnated on it, and was wet from the water dripping from the roof. I was not a happy bunny only having 30mins of sleep in the night and crawled out to find everyone else had a fab night!! We set off again at about 12.00 after another large crowd of enthusiastic rafters had joined us, our boat now consisted of the 2 Germans, us, 2 Dutch guys and a Canadian guy who again wooped in a high pitch every 5mins. The rapids were alot harder today and it seemed I was on the 'mad' boat whilst all the other sensible woman of all ages were sat quite contentedly on the 'safe' boat. Our instructor bloke insisted on hitting these large rapids side on so the boat would throw people out...mmm that was fun. I can honestly say it was one of the most frightening experiences in my life to find myself underwater in these fast rapids and not knowing which way was up and struggling not to get pushed further underwater. I broke the surface only to find i had drifted quite far from the boat and as much as I tried I could not get back to it, the current was far too strong so I had to wait for the boat to come and get me, not a nice experience as I had also swallowed quite alot of water and was coughing and spluttering by the time they had dragged me back into the boat.

I was now quite shaken by this so when the boat got flipped over completely and I found myself surfacing underneath the upturned boat I realised I had enough fun for one day!! the only consolation I did have was the Canadian guy who wanted more got thrown out at a really bad rapid and he was a very pale shade of green when we dragged him back in, were so nasty.

Camped up at about 4ish again and was pleased to hear that the next day's rafting was going to be alot easier. We went to bed but I awoke with bad stomach......

Saturday 20th October 2001 Chitwan

Sarena was feeling even worse today, but she managed to get back on the raft and paddle the two hours to Chitwan. From Chitwan we caught a bus to the island Jungle Resort and where accidentally booked into a lodge rather than a tent - Bonus. Sarena rested and I went on a bird walk.

Didn't see many birds, only the sight of local farmers clambering up a tree to avoid a charging Rhino that they were previously thrown sticks at to try and keep it away from their village.

We spent the evening with the two mad Dutch men (Robert & Johan) from the rafting. These two were a right comedy duo who managed to relate every observation or passing comment to either a comic book story (Luck Luke or Asterix) that they have read or a really bad 70/80's guitar rock song.(Marrilion or Yngwie Malmsteen). Johan seemed most occupied with the Telly Tubbies and was forever singing the tune or randomly shouting out one of their names in a fit of giggles... 'Tinkwinky' would echo through the jungle... no wonder we didn't see much wildlife!. The camp is ran off a generator which got turned off at 9 pm... a perfect excuse for an early night.

I felt bloody awful today, felt like I had been hit with a baseball bat and was very cold I don't know how I got in the boat a paddled for the next few hours, god I'm a trooper!!

We arrived in some village somewhere to get picked up by bus taking us to the Jungle Resort, it took a few hours which I can't much remember but found we were staying in the same resort as the 2 mad Dutch guys. Good news is we found ourselves in a cabin with our own bathroom instead of another tent with shared bathroom Toby had originally booked thinking that would be 'fun' and I slept for the rest of the day whilst toby went on a bird watching experience.

He came back stating he hadn't seen a thing where as I had got up to sit on the porch and saw lots of things, 5 mongooses and lots of birds and butterflies. We had an early night.

Sunday 21st October 2001 Chitwan

Sarena was feeling a bit better in the morning, well enough to go for an elephant ride through the Jungle anyway. It was good fun but we didn't see much wildlife. Just one one-horned Rhino. After Breakfast Sarena went back to bed and I went for a canoe ride to the Crocodile infested part of the river. Infested? We managed to get a passing glimpse of one Croc which was cool as it was more than most people saw. Spent the evening with the mad Dutch Men again and Sarena made me dance with the local Tharu tribe who visited the camp to show us their stick dancing.

Woke up feeling a bit better and eager to do the Elephant ride that was set for 6.30am that morning. It was great fun and we saw a wild Rhinosorus walking about, that was about it really? I then went back to bed and Toby went out on another walk, don't think he saw alot but I was so nice just to be staying in this wonderful jungle.

In the evening we watched a local tribe showing us a traditional 'stick dance' which I insisted Toby should participate in so that I Could video him, I was feeling much better...tee hee. I went back to the cabin at one point in the evening to light some incense which is supposed to get rid of the mosquito's only to walk in and tread on the biggest millipede I wish ever to tread on, this thing was 'orrible and as I shone the paraffin lamp around the room ( the rooms had no electricity) I noticed the amount of Insects that had crawled into our room..very big and hairy things.

 

Monday 22nd October 2001 Kathmandu

We left the camp at 9 and took the 6 hour journey back to Kathmandu. The Hotel had kept the same room free for us. So we just chilled for the rest of the day and checked our email. We were a little disappointed though as the post office was now shut until the end of the month due to the festival and we both wanted to pick up some parcels that Joy and Sylvia had sent to us.

Early start again and set off on the bus for our journey home, that was just as frightening as the rafting!! we were on very high and very steep road winding around the tops of these mountains on a bus going 100miles an hour very close to the edge of the road that dropped into nothing... this wasn't helped by us passing 2 or 3 very bad accidents where buses had gone around the sharp corners to fast and just tipped over or had collided with another mad bus.

I was gutted when we got back to our hotel and found out the Post Office was now shut for a week due to the festival and I was really looking forward to see if the parcels from Joy and my mum had arrived.

We decided to start updating our Website that evening and went down to check out our emails, good old mum had sent me loads again sending us her love and informing us of what's going on in the rest of the world and I had received one from my dad!! I'm so grateful for the Internet as I look forward so much to hearing from family and friends, I think I would find it harder if it wasn't for contact with them all.

Oooh harp at me getting all sentimental

Tuesday 23rd October 2001 Kathmandu

Slept late. Nothing planned so just rested (I'm getting good at that). Spent most of the day updating this website. It takes bloody ages, so I hope you lot appreciate it ;-)

We had arranged to meet up with the Germans from Rafting in the evening for a meal as it was Ouve birthday. We waited at their Hotel at the time we agreed but they didn't show up so. We decided to celebrate ourselves and visited the popular backpackers drinking holes, starting at Sam's bar and then onto Tom & Jerry's. We weren't in the mood for beer so spent the night testing cocktails and ended up very merry. We met up with Eddy and Paul, Two London Geezers that were on holiday and we met briefly at the Jungle Park. Played some pool with them and Sarena got onto her favourite drunken pub topic; 'FACT: Men can't do more than one thing at the same time so they are crap', which a few of you maybe familiar with. between my drunken sniggers Paul actually put up some good arguments.

Spent the morning updating our website.Then went out to a restaurant for dinner called 'Tom & Jerrys' bar and had a fab dinner with lots of cocktails, we also met up with 2 English guys who were at the Jungle Resort the same time and spent the rest of the evening with them - I got quite drunk....

Wednesday 24th October 2001 Kathmandu

Its the second day of Nepal's four day festival. Kathmandu is very quite as everyone goes home to their families, or on the roof tops flying kites. Only the tourist shops are kept open.

We have been invited to Ram's house for dinner tonight and he had rushed around in the morning to buy a goat for a sacrifice and our dinner (nice!). I rushed round and bought some simply gifts for him and his family.

Luckily we did not have to witness the sacrifice. Ram said he wasn't very good at it so they performed it at the butchers who then prepared various parts for consumption. What an interesting meal we had. Ram showed us his Wedding video from 2052 (its now the year 2058 in Hindu Nepal) and feed us a mixture of various goats organs and skeleton. Some was actually quite nice until it went cold at which point every mouthful had me reaching inconspicuously behind a sip of whisky, which did not relieve me that much. I thought both Sarena and I did very well to clear most of the food in front of us. But after the wedding video Ram switched to a movie channel which was showing Entrapment with Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta-Jones-Douglas and said 'Would you like to eat dinner now or later?'. Sarena and I looked at each other and we both mumbled as if a kind of madness had taken over us (maybe mad goats disease). I had no answer for this question but a timid 'Now' somehow left my lips. Dinner was the same as our starters except the meat was accompanied with Soup, Rice and some kind of spinach vegetable. I failed dismally at clearing this plate, constantly thinking of the state of my bowels in the morning. Sarena did very well, although I'm sure she slipped her food onto my plate when I wasn't looking. Then sarena , shaking, said I'm going to be sick, so I downed the rest of my Whisky and made the appropriate signals that we were ready to go home.

Ram very kindly got a taxi and rode with us to the hotel.We thanked him for his hospitality and kindness, and ran upstairs to the safety of our bathroom. Ram returned home in the same Taxi. I hope we didn't seem rude.

We spent the wandering around again as there is so much to see you just don't get bored, I spent some time updating my dairy whilst Toby went out and bought some gifts for Ram who had invited us to his house that evening.

We went out at 6.00pm to his house to meet his lovely wife and 4 year old daughter who was extremely clever and could write the whole of the alphabet in English, her handwriting was better than mine!! We have found though that all the kids we meet wherever we have been have all been very bright and alot more advanced than Brit kids, they are also all so well behaved?

Anyway as this festival consisted of killing goats we weren't surprised to be given a plate consisting of dried goats blood and cooked goat heart, liver, brain, kidney etc, mmmmmm. I sort of pretended to be eating everytime they looked at me but could not bring myself to actually try, I'm a bit of a woos.

We were then asked if we now wanted our dinner that his lovely wife had waiting for us, OK lets!! We now had a plate each that had cooked goat meat (still on the bone) lentils, goat blood, rice and lentil soup you poured onto the rice, both Toby and I struggled to eat this but knew we had to out of politeness. We both turned a shade green and when we were offered more we fell over ourselves saying how full we were..... We said thanks and left for home at 10.00pm, they were a lovely family.

Thursday 25th October 2001 Kathmandu

Spent all day doing laundry and updating this website.

Can't believe I sat on my glasses something I tried to be very careful about as I am generally a very clumsy person!

Friday 26th October 2001 Kathmandu

lazy day, went to the postoffice but nothing was there and to the opticians to fix Sarena's glasses that she had sat on. Dumb ass!

All is well with the world again as we found an opticians and he popped my lens back in again - I really need some contacts. We then went to the P.O but still nothing had arrived.

Saturday 27th October 2001 Kathmandu

Lazy day again. Went to the postoffice and picked up one parcel from our friend Joy - Thanks Joy. Met up with a friend called Ramesh who asked me if I would like to take 'Tika' (the red rice paint on the forehead) with him. I said yes so he bundled me on the back of his bike and took me to a family house where they fed me loads of food (no goat, thank god) and put a yellow 'Tika' on my head. Yellow meant that it was an anniversary of a family members death. And I got many sympathetic glances as I walked the streets of Kathmandu that evening. - A good way to stop the street sellers pestering you!

Received a package from Joy today - fanbloodytastic so we now have the India guide book, chocolate, toilet roll and some Harry Potter sweets!! We love Joy

Toby disappeared for a few hours and came back with a huge mound of yellow rice stuck to his forehead..... thought he would keep it on for the rest of the day !

We went out for a Mexican in the evening and I sat opposite someone who looked like he had a bad skin disease....

Met up with a couple of blokes we met from rafting and had a bloody good evening.

 

Sunday 28th October 2001 Kathmandu

Sarena has noticed a poster at the hotel asking for help for an Orphanage. It has been my desire since travelling to get to Tibet. So she suggested that I go and maybe she could help at the Orphanage. Jaya Ram, the director of the home, met us at the hotel and took us to visit the 40 Orphans that he was caring for. The Orphanage is amazing and he has big plans for the future. His biggest problem at the moment is that the home is currently being rented and he has to find 6 months worth of rent to house the kids over winter. We made the suggestion that maybe we could get some sponsorship for a trek to Everest base camp. So that's it, our fate is now sealed. We returned to the hotel and I set about organising a trek and trying to raise some sponsorship.

Phoned up an Orphanage today asking if there was anything I could do to help and was answered by a very enthusiastic Jaya Ram who insisted on coming to pick us up there and then to show us around. We went and met his 40 children who ranged from the ages of 4 -17 (roughly) and had a really nice couple of hours talking to the kids and then finding out what plans Jaya had for the place and what money was needed.

We realised that this place needed some cash quite badly to pay the rent and that is how we came up with the idea of doing the sponsored trek.

Monday 29th October 2001 Kathmandu

Spent the day creating the sponsorship website and database for our trek to Everest in aid of the Orphanage, sending emails and trying to book a flight to Singapore (from Bombay). I also booked an 8 day trip to Tibet for just myself as Sarena said she would stay in Kathmandu for a week and help out at the orphanage. Unfortunately the Tibet trip doesn't leave until next Saturday. So I have arranged for the bus to pick me up at the Tibetan border as we can then both go to a full moon party in a few days in that direction

I wrote a letter to send out to everyone explaining about the orphanage and what we were doing and Toby set about writing the database.

Toby then booked up for a week in Tibet whilst I stay and help out at the orphanage, don't know how yet?

We then found a leaflet telling us about a Full Moon party this week and decided to join in with the fun, seems they have a massive bungie jump!!

Tuesday 30th October 2001 Kathmandu

Starting to feel very lazy now. So I hired a mountain bike on my own why Sarena stayed at the Hotel and headed for the nearest high hill I could find. Once I had negotiated the awful traffic at the centre of Kathmandu the ride was very enjoyable if a bit steep. Kathmandu is at the centre of a Valley so every way out is uphill. I cycled through some very quaint little villages towards a hill called Shiva Puri. But near the bottom it got to steep and rough to climb (for someone as unfit as me) so I chained the bike to a pole and continued to the top on foot. The Top has been sealed of as a national park, they were charging a ridiculous amount to get in and claimed it would take another 3 hours to walk to the summit. It was already getting late So I turned around and freewheeled nearly all the way back to the Hotel.

I decided to stay at the hotel and write some of the website whilst Toby went off on a bike ride around Thamal.

Spent another day just mooching around and checking out even more bars and restaurants, also bought some more clothes which is becoming a bit of a worry as I don't think I can now fit them all in my rucksack.....

Wednesday 31st October 2001 Kathmandu

Took Sarena out on the mountain bikes today. And found a really good route out of Kathmandu. Unfortunately the persistent uphill took its toll on Sarena after a few hours, So I left her at a Cafe will I continued out of the Valley for a desperate attempt of a good view of the Himalayas. No luck just more lush green foot hills and rice terraces. Picked Sarena up and freewheeled back into the town and to the postoffice.

Hooray, there where finally a load of parcels waiting for us that our dear friend Joy had sent from England. Sarena got very excited and immediately ripped into them. As did I because I suspected that one of the parcels contained a fresh pot of Marmite. It did. Thank you Joy and everyone that contributed to the contents of the parcels. I got a vampire mouse with a birthday cake in my Kinder Egg!

My god I've become a lard!!

We hired some Mountain bikes and I followed Toby on a route he had taken the day before, but could not get up one of the hills for love nor money! I felt sick and out of breath straight away so I stopped in a Cafe to let Tobes carry on.

After my disastrous bike ride we went to the P.O and found much to our delight 3 packages waiting for us sent from Joy and my mum - hooragh. It was like Xmas all over again and couldn't stop myself from opening them there and then.

We finally got back to the hotel where I collapsed on the roof to investigate our parcels more closely, found chocolate, muesli, smash, drinking chocolate, cards, Marmite, peanut butter and some other bits and pieces. It was wonderful and I ate the chocolate straight away followed by some Marmite on toast.

Thanks peeps

Thursday 1st November 2001 Last Resort

Another early start and bumpy bus ride! this time the bus was full of party go-ers all heading to the Tibetan border for 2 days of drinking, bungey jumping, canyoning and rafting in celebration of the full moon (well why not). We got to a place called 'The Last Resort' by about midday. It resembled a little bit of paradise, lush green mountainsides, waterfalls and wooden houses. The resort was built on old rice terraces and on the flat land they were busy putting up tents for the party go-ers

We had no intention of doing any of the activities although the 160m bungey jump was very tempting, just a little expensive.

We met a great couple from Nottingham, Gary and Michelle and as the night grew in and the party started we spent most of our time with them. There was a cool band 'Cadenza' who played blues/funk/Jazz/Indian stylee music, lots of alcohol, a bit of nudeness, and drunken attempts at fire eating. You could see that the organisers where attempting a more hedonistic feel for the party, but not quite succeeding. By the late evening I was starting to suffer with a bad stomach (again) and by midnight was forced to retire back to my tent and toilet, trusting that everybody else could keep themselves amused without me.

Got up at 5.00am for a 4hr coach journey to the 'Last Resort' for the full moon party which was another hair raising journey at break neck speed around hair pin bends. The place is an oasis - garden plateau at the top of a mountain with tropical huts and plunge pools and sauna's. Only problem was walking over the bridge to get to the resort which was a metal suspension bridge over a massive drop into a raging river, made even worse by being able to see through the slat into oblivion below. I thought of my mother whilst crossing the bridge knowing if it was her she wouldn't put one step on the bridge!!

I was tempted to do the bungee jump off the middle of the bridge as it was supposed to be the longest free falling jump but was a bit worried about my back - that's my excuse! did look bloody good fun though.

We made friends with a couple called Michelle and Gary who we then spent the rest of the evening with drinking and enjoying the party and live band who sung blues/funk stuff. All quite mad especially when people started stripping off and dancing on the bar, the poor bar staff didn't know where to put their eyes.

Toby drifted off to his tent and a toilet again feeling rough so I stayed up with the other two until 3ish.

 

Friday 2nd November 2001 Last Resort

Managed to get some sleep and my stomach felt a lot better by the morning.Sarena, Gary , Michelle and I just chilled for the morning, reading. Then it was time to say good-bye to Sarena as she had to catch a bus back to Kathmandu. I was actually quite emotional as she drove off as I started to realise that this would be the longest time we have spent apart from each other in the last 4 years... back to my book!

Managed to get a free nights sleep and days food as I just camped out in a tent left over from the party. - Bonus!

Had a really relaxing day lounging about on massive cushions they had scattered all over the floor reading and eating the really nice food they had on offer all through the day.

I got myself ready in the afternoon to catch the bus back to Kathmandu and say my goodbyes to Toby.

Saturday 3rd November 2001 'Toby in Tibet' Kathmandu

Today's the day I finally get to Tibet. The bus was due to pick me up at 9:30am from the side of the road but didn't turn up until 10:45 (I was getting a bit worried). It took me up through the mountains winding around roads that have barely survived landfalls and are submerged in places by waterfalls. It finally stopped at the last village before the border, at which point we had to leave the bus and walk into Tibet. This gave me a good chance to meet the rest of the group who I would be travelling with for the next 8 days. There were 19 of us but two Australian women stood out straight away (Janice and Karen) as they were very kind and talkative.

After walking through the two checkpoints we had to jump into the back of a cattle truck for a very short and bumpy ride to waiting four-wheel drive trucks that where to be our home for the next 8 days. 5 in a truck I shared with two Welsh people (Susan and Steve) and two Austrian's (Christine and Wolfgang).

We then started our drive through Tibet...

...First stop was a tiny town called Nyram. We arrived in the dark and it was already pretty cold. The rooms were dorms so we stayed as the 5 from the truck and found a room to sleep in.

Spent the day just mooching about and buying some stuff for our trek like a thermos flask and some thermals!

Went out in the evening for a drink and some dinner and got proposition by a rickshaw driver ! mmm don't think so.

Sunday 4th November 2001 'Toby in Tibet' Kathmandu

After a night spent in the loo, we left Nyram at first light for a long drive to Tingri. On the the way we drove over the highest 'road' pass in the world, 5,220 metres (17,122 ft) and got amazing views of the Himalayas

We arrived in Tingri my mid afternoon. It is a very windy one horse town and is pretty high (4,930 m) some people where being affected by the altitude. Janice from Australia was very sick. Our hotel was basic, just a courtyard of concrete rooms. I shared one with 'Crazy Knute' from Norway. The toilet, however, had the best view. It was built on stilts above the rooms so that you had a 360 degree view of thesurroundings; to the north was a range of mountains, to the east the long road ahead of us, to the south a view of the North face of Everest and to the West a decapitated Yaks head that someone had placed on the roof of one of the rooms. - nice!

It got cold here very quickly so I retreated to the hotels restaurant to find it crammed with Tibetans crouched around the VCD player watching 'Shanghai Noon'. Not what I expected!

Rang mum and tried to ring my friend Tina but she wasn't in again!

Met up with Gary and Michelle in the evening to go and have dinner and a few drink and a bong - fantastic evening....

Monday 5th November 2001 'Toby in Tibet' Kathmandu

I slept surprisingly well considering the concrete box I had to spend the night in and the altitude of Tingri (4,930m). a few others didn't fair so well as they had headaches and two spent the night vomiting.

It was an early start as we had a long drive to a town called Shigatse. This was our first major town and although it has been overrun by the Chinese, there are still so old Tibetan streets that a few us discovered in the dusk.

The Chinese have not yet introduced street lights to Tibet and as we walked back through Shigatse to our hotel we very nearly fell into a sewer canal running across the side of the road.

Went to the orphanage and had an interesting day playing with the kids and talking to Jaya Ram about what things need to be done.

Played badminton in the afternoon with one of the boys and got completely thrashed!

Just stayed in and watched a movie and felt quite lonely!

Tuesday 6th November 2001 'Toby in Tibet' Kathmandu

That morning we heard news of 2 girls form another group that had fallen into a sewage canal last night and had suspected broken arms and legs - ohh dear!

We visited one of the most famous Monasteries in Tibet, the Tashilhunpo Monastery. It was quite amazing and was just a like self contained village. After negotiating twisting corridors and halls I came upon the monks chanting hall. It was full of 'em all sitting, swaying and chanting. An amazing sight just a shame I couldn't video it.

Now it is off to Gyantse. The main road (if you could call it a road) between Shigatse and Gyanste was being repaired so we had to do the entire journey along river beds and decrepid tracks. Occasionally calling up 4 wheel drive to get over river banks. This was a hard drive as it was baking hot and we couldn't open the windows due to the dust. It was very bumpy and I seemed constantly in need of a pee.

Gyanste is an amazing town. It is separated into two halves by a hill with a fort on. One half (with the Monastery) is still entirely Tibetan, totally peaceful and beautiful. The other half has been overridden by Chinese and is ugly, dirty and extremely noisy. The monastery 'Pelko Chode' was also the best looking one I've seen, probably due to the lack of Chinese buildings around it. After exploring the monastery. Myself and a 7ft Slovenian called 'Rok' decided to climb up the hill to the fort. On the way Rok split his trousers and at the top we found a Chinese man trying to charge a ridiculous amount just to climb the turret. There was also a 'Museum of the Anti-British' there as a historical record of when the British tried to attack the fort (and I think failed). We walked an easier path back into the town. Rok was pleased to find the first building housed a tailor who fixed his trousers and the young occupants of the tailors house where very amused to see a 7ft Slovenian in his pants.

We ate at a really good restaurant - They best Chinese I have had so far (just like English Chinese)

Woke up with a really bad back thanks to my badminton tournament with the 7 year old the day before.

Didn't go into the orphanage because of this and spent the day relaxing and then went down to the post office - received our driving licences today!!! great now means I can ride a motorbike, not that I would on these roads!!

Wednesday 7th November 2001 'Toby in Tibet' Kathmandu

Left early and made several more high mountain passes but as we got closer to Lhasa the road conditions got better until I could actually make out some Tarmac.

We passed a huge holy lake that was a magnificent turquoise colour and that I should of remembered the name of if these original diary entries hadn't of been deleted!

Eventually we arrived in Lhasa - the end of our epic road journey and were very pleasantly surprised to find that we had been booked into a very posh Chinese hotel that even had a bath. Cool, that will really cheese Sarena off! I took some time out on my own a wondered around Lhasa. Then bumped into Knute who explained that there was some kind of Tibetan protest against the Chinese going on. So with the two Germans (Toby & Mikhail) we went to investigate. The Tibetans where marching around a holy temple (Jokhang Temple) under the beady eye of Chinese police. We decided to join in the protest but after one lap decided we where hungry.

We ate at the 'Tashi Dele I' restaurant where 'Knute' from Norway got all excited over the 'Tibetian Girls' serving us and tried desperately to get them to sit on his knee.

Went into orphanage and played with the kids ( don't think they are learning much from me as all I do is muck around...)

Trogged into town later and bought myself a new cardie as the weather is starting to get rather chilly in the evenings now and then decided to go to Tom & Jerry's for beer and some company. Ended up meeting a couple of guys, Bryan and Keith who were sat at the bar and had done the Everest Trek, so we talked about that for a bit then ended up playing pool with Bryan and the local Mafia!!

Had a fab evening even if I did then go to a dodgy nightclub and embarrassed myself by dancing and getting a bit drunk (crawling in at 3.30am!)

Thursday 8th November 2001 'Toby in Tibet' Kathmandu

Our first tourist visit of the day was... wait for it... can you guess?... A MONASTERY. I am sorry but I can't remember the names of the monasteries now - hopefully I will fill in the names later. I was actually feeling quite lethargic today and the altitude of Lhasa was affecting my breathing slightly. This was the largest Monastery in Tibet and looked just like all the others except it probably had more steps.

In the afternoon we got the official tour of Jokhang Temple. This is a small place and not a monastery but a place of pilgrimage, so actually pretty interesting. We where informed that if we returned back at 7 pm we could watch the monks chanting... So I did.

We ate at the 'Tashi Dele I' restaurant where 'Knute' from Norway got all excited over the 'Tibetian Girls' serving us and tried desperately to get them to sit on his knee.

Not feeling so good today so went to the orphanage for just a few hours to show my face and check to see if any of the Companies had responded to my letters and emails.

Went out in the evening with Bryan but felt a little fragile so just had one and then went to bed - hotel rooms a bit lonely without Tobes

Friday 9th November 2001 'Toby in Tibet' Kathmandu

Last day in Lhasa. First of all we visited the Potala Palace, home to the Dali Lama before he took up exile in India. This was an amazing place although most of it was monasteries again, the actually living quarters of the Lama's where very interesting.

After Lunch we visited another monastery!!! but this one was different as we visited during the Monks debating session. Its an amazing site to see 200 odd monks shouting, clapping and slapping each other in the monasteries courtyard. I was mesmerised for ages.

Nearly the whole group met up for dinner (at the 'Tashi Dele I') that evening. Janice from Australia gave me her address and invited Sarena and me for a Barbie sometime. - COOL! And 'Knute' from Norway got all excited over the 'Tibetian Girls' serving us and tried desperately to get them to sit on his knee.

Went into the orphanage again and had my hand painted with Henna which is a traditional thing they do for celebrations etc. Didn't realise that it would then stay on your hand for the next couple of weeks to end up looking like I smoke 50 fags a day cause it turns your fingers yellow.

Went out that evening with Bryan and Gail and ended up going to a nightclub and getting a little intoxicated and then crawling home at 3.45am - ooooops

Saturday 10th November 2001 Kathmandu

Had to get up at 3:00am to drive to Lhasa airport back along the huge turquoise lake.The flight from Tibet flew right pass Mt Everest. It was a clear sky so we could see all along the Himalayan range - Amazing.

We landed in good time and I got back to the hotel to find Sarena blurry eyed and hungover. Not what I was expecting from a loyal and pinning girlfriend. Apparently she had disapprovingly spent a week on the tiles and had met a lovely couple called Brian and Gail who seemed very adept at feeding her alcohol. Although probably a skill that even a baby could learn!

After sorting some bits out to do with the Sponsored trek we were undertaking in a days time.I met up with these so called friends and discovered who funny they were and proceeded to get thoroughly drunk with them.

Had planned to wake early and greet Toby in reception with open arms and gushy words looking beautiful but only just made it out of bed before he came up to the room. I unfortunately looked like shite and stank of alcohol which wasn't my good side.... but was very happy to have Toby home again and gave him big huggles.

I hardly recognised him though as he now had a full beard and lost some more weight. Spent the rest of the day catching up and buying some treking stuff and then went down to a bar called 'New Orleans' to introduce Toby to Bryan and Gail then all ended up all getting very drunk and having a bloody good evening

Sunday 11th November 2001 Kathmandu

What a busy day today. Loads of stuff o sort out before we leave for Everest. Clothes to wash, supplies to buy and plane tickets to organise.

Spent the day rushing around Kathmandu whilst Sarena updated her diaries. Then we went to find Gail and Brian for the usual 'couple' of drinks. But they where too drunk from last night to remember that we had arranged to meet up. So we had a very pleasant Indian on our own.

Woke up with a nasty hangover which isn't the best thing before going treking..

I spent the day writing some more entries for the website as I am days behind now then we went to meet Ganesh our guide taking us to the Base Camp just to introduce ourselves and say hi.

We then packed up all our bags ready for our adventure ( Toby got stressed again) and then we went down to Lowlands to meet Gail and Bryan as we had arranged the night before but they didn't turn up! we found them in Tom & Jerry's having no recollection of saying they would meet us cause they had been so drunk.

Monday 12th November 2001 Phakding - Everest Day 1

We have to catch a plane (Yeti Airlines)- from Kathmandu to a place in the mountains called Lukla this morning at 6:40 am. Our Guide for the trek, 'Ganesh' picked us up from the hotel in a taxi at 5 am, but when we arrived at the airport Sarena realised that she had left her flight ticket at the hotel. This gave the taxi driver a perfect excuse to drive even more badly than he usually would. Needless to say he returned Sarena with her ticket to the airport by 6:15 (some driving).

The plane flight was fairly short (30 minutes) but pretty amazing. As we flew between mountains it seemed that the wing tips could scrap either side. The landing was the best though... Lukla's airport is positioned on the edge of a cliff top and heads straight towards a mountain, so there is no room for error. We had seats at the front of the plane, behind the pilots so we could watch the mountain getting closer and closer first hand.

Once we arrived we had breakfast at an alpine lodge, I was really buzzing after the landing and looking forward to the trek. Whilst we ate Ganesh went to find a Sherpa Porter to carry our rucksack (you didn't think I would let Sarena carry it all the way did you?) and returned with a tall skinny guy named Durga who was only 17.

We finished breakfast and started an easy days walk to 'Phakding' just 2 hours on from Lukla. This was where we would stay for the night. We met an Aussie called 'Wozzer' who had just returned from Everest. He had two useful phrases, 'F*#king cold, F*#king tired'. - My buzz was starting to fade a little. We also met an English couple, Tom and Sally, who didn't fly to lukla but had already walked 10 days from a place called Jiri - mad!

Wow today is the day......

Got up at 4.45am to be picked up at 5.15 but Ganesh our Guide didn't turn up till 5.30 so we were a bit concerned with catching the 6.40 plane to Lukla. When we did arrive at the Airport I realised I had left my flight ticket at the Hotel - everyone's worst nightmare!! so I dived back into the taxi and got driven 90miles an hour through crowds of people back to the hotel where I then retrieved my ticket and driven back to the airport at high speed again.

Not a good start to the day...

I found the flight terrifying as it was such a small plane we might as well been in a glider. The views were fantastic though and Toby found it highly entertaining seeing my knuckles had turn white where I was holding my bag so tightly.

30mins later we were in sight of the smallest landing strip I have ever seen in my life! it went straight into the mountain which is always a comfort to watch out the window... We had some B'fast in a wonderful Swiss looking lodge and then collected our porter for the trip, a lovely young lad called Durga and then set off for a couple of hours walk to Phakding.

It was actually quite hot so I ended up sweating like an old trout which was a bit of a surprise as I was dressed up like a Yeti....

The scenery - snow capped mountains, pine forests and the cleanest rivers, wow.

We only walked for 2hrs and stopped in our first lodge where we met up with a couple called Tom and Sally who were on the way up and met a young man who was on the way down who told us how cold and hard the trek was going to be...mmmm really looking forward to this.

Tuesday 13th November 2001 Namche Bazaar - Everest Day 2

Our first full day of walking, and one of the steepest! The morning was fairly easy but after some noodle soup we approached a steep climb of about 1000m to a place called Namche Bazaar. It took about 2 hours to climb but once we arrived, with wobbly legs, we felt pretty relieved to find out that we where staying here for the night.

There's not much to do in the Himalayas at night!, Ganesh has banned alcohol whilst we are ascending to the base camp. and the sun disappears behind mountains by about 4 PM and it starts to get pretty cold. On top of that Ganesh seems to be a bit of a card shark, but we spent the night trying to beet him.

Woke early and set off at 8.0clock for a 5hr walk which started fairly easy but started getting harder by the end as it was a constant steep slog which wasn't helped by the heat. We were both exhausted by the time we arrived and Namche at 1.30pm and starving hungry so we had a large lunch and spent the afternoon mooching around and reading.

Namche is an amazing place set high in the mountain on a crescent shaped plateau with lots of colourful houses, reminded me very much of Cornwall but with Yaks!

Wednesday 14th November 2001 Namche Bazaar - Everest Day 3

A day of rest already. We didn't think we needed it but Ganesh told us about the dangers of altitude sickness and that 5 people have already died on this trek this week (32 in the last 2 months!) from it. So we took his advice and spent the day exploring the Tibetan market and the Bakery and watching the Rescue Helicopters flying back and forth overhead.

That night Ganesh beat us at cards again.

Strange night as I kept waking up gasping for breath and having some kind of panic attack? found out this is quite normal from an Australian woman saying it was the Altitude - basically you stopped breathing in your sleep every now and then because of the lack of oxygen..... Also had really bad nightmares and woke up screaming the lodge down, must think I'm a right weirdo!

We went down into the town for a look around and was very pleased to find a bakery that sold chocolate doughnuts so I bought a few of these just to make me feel better! We had a walk around the Tibetan Market which was full of bright colours and very interesting, then went and bought myself a second hand book.

Ganesh told us of a few people who had already died this week from Altitude Sickness doing the same trek as us - shit my pants.

 

Thursday 15th November 2001 Deboche - Everest Day 4

Off to a place called Deboche today. Started off nice and easy again as the morning was spent descending into a valley. The problem was that by lunch time we were at the bottom and had to head back up again. We stopped at a lodge for lunch and met Tom and Sally again.

They both joined us for the slow walk back out of the valley to a place called Tengboche, where they stopped for the day. Tengboche had a great view and a monastery that opened to the public in the afternoons. I had had my fill of monasteries in Tibet so we headed on for another half an hour down again into a Rhododendron forest and to Deboche. I managed to get Sarena with the first snowball (well iceball!) and we played pool with some people at the lodge we where staying at on, apparently, the highest pool table in the world!

Got up early again for another 5 1/2 hr walk to Deboche on another wonderful sunny day. Started off well but soon realised you should have a degree in mountain climbing just to walk up some of the 2hr 90degree hills we had to climb!

Worst bits were the tiny bridges you had to walk over that spanned the rivers miles below, that was quite scary as you could see between the slats into the very rough river below and would sway uncontrollably because of the heard of Yaks that were coming towards you!

We met up with Tom and Sally again at Tengboche to have a quick breather and then we moved on again to our next lodge for the evening which turned out to be really nice - inside toilet is always a bonus!! Met up with some other guys and played some pool, I played bloody fantastic and Toby was a pile of shite ( must the altitude)

Friday 16 November 2001 Dingboche - Everest Day 5

Didn't sleep very well that night as the girl in the room next door was screaming, fitting and vomiting in the early hours of the morning. It was an awful situation as we didn't know if she was suffering from the altitude or suffering some kind of fit. Her boyfriend was very good, remaining calm and slapping her every time she stopped breathing. Later on we discovered that she had taken a regular dose of cough medicine but the altitude had turned it into an overdose (no more strepsils for me).

We didn't find out how quickly she recovered as we were back on the trail again and heading for a place called Dingboche. We where getting pretty high now as the trees had stopped growing and it was getting noticeably colder at night. But both Sarena and I had no major symptoms from the altitude, just a bit harder to breathe and I didn't have much of an appetite.

On the way to Dinboche we bumped into Tom and Sally who had sneakily got ahead of us so we decided to do the rest of the trek together. Plus they knew more card games than us!

Oh my God it was like the 'Exorcist' last night!

Some woman in the room next door woke up screaming and then having some kind of fit - foaming and dribbling and the making all these incoherent noises (pining like a dog?) then she went quite so I thought she had just had a bad dream and had fallen off again, but she had stopped breathing! and her poor husband was slapping her trying to revive her. When she did come round she then projectile vomited all around the room and made dog noised until the next morning?

Seemed it was the cough medicine mixing with altitude- never touching Vicks again.

Had a good walk even though it was now getting quite hard to breathe but had no other side affects. Toby had lost his appetite which is one of the symptoms and had lost quite a lot of weight - I in the other hand was still eating like a horse...

Met up with Tom and Sally again and decided to walk join up with them and then we shared a dorm that night, would have slept well if it hadn't been for the mice and the Germans.

Saturday 17th November 2001 Dingboche - Everest Day 6

Another day of rest. Tom and Sally took a walk to the next village to look at a glacier while we walked up the nearest hill to about 5000m to help us acclimatise. On the way back I managed to get a glancing glimpse at what seemed to be a Tibetan Terrier which had so eluded me in Tibet - just as elusive as the yeti! It seemed a lot smaller than my mums dogs, maybe we should check the official pedigree regulations on the breed!!!

Woke up early and had some Marmite on toast courtesy of our friends Joy & Spit, and bloody lovely it was.

Today was a day of rest to acclimatise but Ganesh said it would be a good idea to climb a small mountain that was perched behind the lodge so we could get used to even higher altitude - well of course silly me!!

Sally and Tom went off and climbed somewhere else for the same reason but came back looking exhausted and not feeling so good.

Sunday 18th November 2001 Loboche - Everest Day 7

Off to Loboche today. Again the morning was pretty easy but another big hill be the afternoon. At the top of this though where loads of memorials to people who had died on this trek or whilst climbing Everest. It made me realise just how dangerous this is.

We got to Loboche at about 2pm so I went for a wonder over a glacier, Tom and Sally also went for a walk. But Sarena did the sensible thing and rested at the lodge as we have a very tough day tomorrow.

Didn't sleep very well that night because Sarena couldn't sleep and was intent on asking me irrelevant questions all night.

Set off again early, destination - Loboche which was all up hill again but when we arrived at the top it was covered with stone memorials to all the people that had died doing our trek, which I found comforting.........

It's now starting to get very cold now and starting to get worried about the big day tomorrow, still haven't got any symptoms though.

We arrived at 2ish and found ourselves in another dorm like room with Tom and Sally so we dumped our bags and did our own thing for a bit - Toby went for a walk ( can you believe it?) and I rested outside in the freezing cold.

I got talking to an English guy who told me he had tried to get to the base camp the day before but had only been walking for 1/2hr before he was forced to come back again due to headache and nausea, now I'm really worried.

Went to bed early as we were all supposed to be getting up at 4.00am

Monday 19th November 2001 Everest - Everest Day 8

Bloody early start. We had to get up at 4am as today was the day we arrive at Everest. Ganesh and Tom and Sally's Guide, 'Andrew', wouldn't wake up though. They kept saying it was too windy. But as we where up dressed and packed we convinced them that it wasn't and managed to leave Loboche at 5 am.

It was very windy, and about -15 at that time in the morning. It was pitch black and we only had 1 torch between 6 of us as the cold had buggered everybody'sbatteries up. It started to get light by about 6:30 and we arrived at a place called Gorak Shep at about 9.

Gorak Shep is at the foot of a hill called Kali Patthar which we decided to climb as this was the place to get the best view of Everest and it overlooks the deserted base camp. There is also a sandy beach at Gorak Shep, which bizarrely everyone plays volley ball on, presumably when its not -15 and 50 mph winds!

I was really struggling today. Still no headache but was feeling pretty weak. Sarena, however, was annoyingly spritely and made it to the top of Kali Patthar singing.

We had made it, we were at the bottom of Everest and overlooked the base camp and a huge glacier that runs from the bottom of the mountain.- Photo time. It took about 30 minutes at the top of windy Kali Patthar before we where ready to start our walk all the way back to Lukla.

First we stopped back at Gorak Shep to try and eat some breakfast (and fail) then by 12pm we where back at Loboche for lunch and to Pick up Durga with our rucksack and then we walked another 4 hours to a place called Pheriche which wasn't too far from Dingboche which we had stayed at two nights previous.

'F*#king cold, F*#king tired' we where soon cheered up by the extremely Camp Sherpa who was running the lodge wearing a skirt apron thing. Andrew tried to explain in his best English that this Sherpa was half man, half woman. The Gay Sherpa the convinced the ever helpful Durga to put on a skirt apron thing and prance around the kitchen with him - very strange!

Didn't sleep a wink, don't know if I was just nervous or it was the amount of mice running around all night. I was now very worried as the lack of sleep was not going to help me climb this bloody mountain!

We walked for a couple of hours in the pitch black with just 1 torch between the 6 of us (included Andrew and Ganesh the 2 guides) It was hard going and very hard to breath, Toby was really starting to struggle and had gone a very nasty shade of white complaining that he felt very weak. We arrived at Gorak Shep at about 9 for cup of hot lemon before the biggest climb of our lives!!

We had to walk across a beach type place to get to the base of Kali Patthar which was a little bizarre and then start the assent to the top battling against very strong winds that made breathing even harder.

For some strange reason I found the day the easiest since starting and was surprised to find everyone else looking like death warmed up. Sally blacked out for a few mins due to lack of Oxygen and was getting quite panicky and upset and Toby had just gone very quiet. I for some reason was constantly singing songs from the film 'Greece' ??

When we had finally got to our destination we could stop and have a look around - and what a sight! surrounded by huge snow covered mountains and looking down on the clouds, fantastic. We took some photo's and started our decent down to Gorak Shep for some breakfast and then the long walk back to Loboche to collect our porter for another long walk to Pheriche (10 hrs ) in all.

We stayed at another lodge which was run by a gay cook, he was extremely funny and was very camp but I don't think our guides and porters new how to take him especially when he made poor Durga wear a skirt and help out in the kitchen.We were all very chuffed with ourselves and celebrated with some Yak cheese and a game of cards and then went to bed exhausted.

 

Tuesday 20th November 2001 Namche Bazaar - Everest Day 9

We parted ways with Tom and Sally as they have a day more than us before they fly from lukla and are going to take the walk back a bit more leisurely. We on the other hand have a 7 hour hike back to Namche ahead of us.

It actually seems a lot harder walking down than up, albeit quicker, as we constantly have to stop ourselves from slipping of the trail and down the side of some 2000 metre drop. Walking back though we seemed to be able to enjoy the amazing scenery more and a actually caught Sarena getting very emotional about the whole thing. We are very privileged to of been able to do this and experience this amazing landscape -ooooh I'm starting to well up too.

We were now on our own as Tom and Sally were taking a more leisurely trek back.

So we got up early and started a 7hr walk back to Namche which I really enjoyed, I felt fit and healthy and more alive than I have in a long time. I even started to get all emotional at one point when coming around another bend and just walking into another wonderful scene of Mountains, rivers, sunbeams and clouds i felt completely humble and very privileged to have the opportunity to see all this.

Strange thing is that Toby had walked ahead but had stopped saying he new I was coming over all emotional..... aagh that's love's intuition that is, or it could be he was thirsty and I was carrying the water bottle!

I slept like a log that night which was the first time since starting the trek and made a pact between us that we will never become couch potato's again and will do a lot more trekking in the future. I saw some 70year olds doing some of this trek and that's what I would like to be able to do at that age.

We arrived at Namche at about 3.30pm and bumped into an American woman who we had seen before and told me she had been carried back down due to the Altitude and then told us 19 people had died this month and 5 of them had been in the last week from trekking!! I jokingly kept telling Toby that my mother would kill him for taking her little daughter for a wonder in the mountain if she had known the risk...

Poor Toby!

Had ourselves a beer and a couple of whiskeys as our guide said we could now have some alcohol - unfortunately went to my head and could remember no more.

Wednesday 21st November 2001 Phakding - Everest Day 10

An easier day today. Just a leisurely walk back to Phakding and the same lodge that we stayed at on our first day. Its getting cloudy now, which is a bit of a shame as we have had perfect weather (a bit cold) for the whole of the trek so far - never mind.

Woke up in the night thinking that someone was tap-dancing in the corridor only to find out a cow had broken into the lodge and shat all over the floor.

We had a short trip to Phakding today but the weather is starting to get rather cloudy which is a bit of a worry as we can't fly our if it's too bad. The only consolation I had was seeing people walking the other way and smiling to myself knowing what a tough journey they had ahead of them, I'm cruel.

We stayed back in the very first lodge that we had stayed in before which I found quite incredible, seems to have gone quite quickly.

Thursday 22nd November 2001 Lukla - Everest Day 11

We walked pretty fast in the morning and arrived back at Lukla at 11 am, which was pretty handy as we discovered that the flights had been abandoned for the last couple of days due to the runway being hidden in a cloud and no one could find it. All the lodges where getting full but we managed to get one of the last decent rooms.

 

Ganesh got absolutely pished and started to fight with his cousin!

My shins and ankles hurt today walking back to Lukla so I was sooooo pleased to finally arrive at our final destination!! hoooragh we had done it.

Spent a boring afternoon watching the weather get worse feeling doomed to be dirty for ever. Hadn't washed for 11 days now which I thought was quite good going and thought of my friend Joy worrying about me before we left England cause she didn't think I could go without makeup for a week!

Toby had some more whiskey in the evening and Ganesh joined him which unfortunately ended up with him getting very drunk and talking absolute crap for the next few hours.

 

Friday 23rd November 2001 Lukla - Everest Day 12

A few flights made it in the morning, but ours was cancelled so we had to spend the day sitting around in Lukla. Fortunately Tom and Sally arrived for their flight tomorrow so we spent the evening trying to teach their guide, Andrew, how to play snooker. This was pretty amusing as he is only 4 ft tall (ish) and we where in constant fear of a ripped baize by his unotherdox method of striking the cue ball.

Didn't sleep so good as the German group decided to have some kind of dancing session in the room above us (wooden floors) ...

And then when we did go for b'fast we saw that the weather was terrible and realised we wouldn't be flying today - doomed. The good news was that Sally and Tom turned up all sprite and cheerful which meant we had some company so we all went off to play snooker and tried to teach Andrew, their guide how to play. Unfortunately he isn't the tallest man in the world and could only just reach the sides of the table.

Saturday 24th November 2001 Lukla - Everest Day 13

Clear day again today. Tom and Sally got their flight as scheduled but we had to wait until 3pm until the backlog was cleared and we where in the air on our way back to Kathmandu and a hot shower - our first wash for 2 weeks.

That evening we found our two friends, Brian and Gail, sitting in the same position that we had left them 2 weeks ago. They claimed to of hired a motorbike and explored Nepal whilst we where away. But I doughted this as they had managed to become the best customers of 5 different bars at the same time whilst we have been away, which must take some serious dedication.

They helped us celebrate our achievement with a juicy steak and a bottle of Vodka. Then we all fell fast asleep... A Job well Done!

Hooragh woke up to blue sky's and sunshine so we ran down to the airport hoping to catch an early flight only to end up sitting there for 5hrs before we finally crawled onto a plane/glider. I was sooooo please to be going back and have a shower and a decent beer that I didn't notice how scary the flight was on the return journey.

We demolished our room back at the hotel by just dumping all our bags and rubbish everywhere and then dived into the long awaited shower..... had to wash my hair times before the water ran clear - yuk

Went out in the evening to find Bryan and Gail and found them still sat in the same bar drinking a bottle of wine claiming that they had actually moved, promise!! So we all went off for some grub and we treated ourselves to a steak - bloody lovely

Sunday 25th November 2001 Kathmandu

Lots to do as we are off to India in a few days and we need to sort out Laundry, Post and the website which will now take ages to update as somebody has just deleted the last months worth of entries and it has to be retyped - Bugger, Bugger, Bugger.

We also have to sort out the sponsorship. So we met Jayaram and I agreed to pay the money into their bank account Tomorrow.

Rush, rush, rush now as we have got so much to do before we leave Nepal, really looking forward to Goa and sitting on a beach for a while but really looking forward to getting to Australia.

Ooooops just wiped out a whole months worth of work on the website/diary which means we have to sit down for a billion more hours trying to remember what we have been up to and typing it all back in, Toby seems very calm about the whole thing which is even more worrying.

Monday 26th November 2001 Kathmandu

We have managed to raise £930.50 from donations form our friends in England on our Everest Trek, for an Orphanage in Kathmandu, 'Children's Welfare Home', Jayaram, the director of the orphanage met us in the morning to take me to his bank so that I could transfer the sponsorship money to him. Unfortunately the technology for this kind of transaction doesn't seem to exist in Nepal. So we spent the next 4 hours scouring for the sparse cash machines and finally we could present him with 100,000 Nepalese rupees (about £940). Sarena however has spent the day in the hotel room retyping the last months worth of diaries that somehow disappeared!!!

Thanks to everyone that has contributed Together we have provided the Orphanage with enough cash to pay the rent of the home for 40 children for the next 6 months. We alone can say that we will keep them all warm over the winter!

I have spent the rest of the day rushing around like a blue ass fly sorting everything out as we are finally of to India tomorrow morning (via Pokhara). and there is still lots to do on this web site

Can't believe how generous everyone has been!!! Toby went off to the orphanage to take some photo's and try and sort out the bank transfer.

Finally got the money sorted out and then said our goodbyes to Jaya Ram who was over the moon with the generosity of people. I then sat down and started to fill in the days i had wiped out on our site!

Toby getting stressed again because he has to think of more than one thing at a time (not a mans best attribute) and saying we have lots to do before India, but as usual it all pans out ok.

We went and met Bryan and Gail for a drink in the evening and arranged to meet up with them in Varanasi as they had decided to get out of Kathmandu before it swallows them up.

Tuesday 27th November 2001 Pokhara

Caught the bus at 6:30. Not the one we were supposed to but we were told it was going to Pokhara anyway. It did. but due to 3 pretty major accidents along the so called highway it took 12 hours rather than 6! The road is pretty twisty and all three accidients where head on collisions between lorries racing around the corners. You would think that this would be some kind of warning to our bus driver but instead he speeded up to make time.

It was dark by the time we arrived in Pokhara, which was a shame as its situated along the edge of a lake shadowed by the Annapurna range of mountains. I had intended to treat sarena as I had pr booked a hotel room with a Bath! unfortunatley I didn't pre book any hot water, so it was all wasted.

Ate, then slept.

Wow what a crap trip......

We caught the 6.30 bus thinking we would be in Pokhara for just after lunch but didn't end up arriving till 7.00 that evening. It was quite a bad journey as all the bus drivers are dememted maniacs who drive a squillion miles an hour around hair pin bend with sheer drops into the oblivion..... I'm sure i'm starting to go grey

We saw 3 accidents and one overturned lorry balancing on the edge of the road on the side of the mountain into the river below. We just screeched pass on 2 wheels and carried on with not a care in the world (for the driver that is)

We arrived at our Hotel which i was very excited about - Toby had got a room with a bath which was something i hadn;t had since first traveling. We dumped our bags on the bed and then i ran into the bathroom to pour a bath only to discover they had no hot water.... gutted

We had some dinner in a cosy little resturant and then had an early night.

Wednesday 28th November 2001 Pokhara

Due to the delay in yesterdays bus ride we only had until 7pm to explore Pokhara. I woke early to sort out emails to all our sponsors for the orphanage trek and failed in getting some hot water for Sarena's bath. We had a great breakfast then hired some Mountain bikes to cycle around the lake.

Pokhara is a very peaceful place, at least compared to Kathmandu. But very touristy as its a base to many treks around the Himalayas. The cycle ride was very pleasant as there are hardly any cars (or roads fro that matter) around the lake. All very picturesque.

We got back to the town around 3pm I had a luke warm bath and convinced Sarena to try it then we spent the rest of the day in a restaurant by the lake side as we weher told our overnight bus to the Indian border leaves at 7pm. Got back to the hotle at 6:20 pm and where bundled into a car as they where now saying the bus leaves at 6:35pm. It did, we only just made it. Supprisingly there where no other tourists on the bus. It was full of Nepalese and Indians and the seats were supprisingly comfy.

Had the best b'fast ever in the world and even had some butter with my toast and jam for a change, then hired some mountain bikes to have a quick cycle around the lake. Pokhara was a fab place a much quieter than Kathmandu!! which was nice for a change and the lake was beautiful, supposed to be the second biggest in Nepal.

Then went back to the hotel only to find they still didn't have any hot water (which is where i had a huge tantrum and sulked for 5mins) and then went down stairs to reception and gave them a piece of my mind!!!

We went our for some food at a resturant overlooking the lake which had a very Spanish feel about it and had some fab food before rushing back to the hotel and waiting taxi. The bus station was a beehive of activity with not alot really happening, but we finally found our bus which was completely full of Indian and Nepalese people and found ourselves a couple of comfy chairs to sit in for the next 11hrs.

Thursday 29th November 2001 Sonulai

The bus stopped 4 km from the border at 5:30 am. I had managed to get some sleep on the journey so wasn't feeling too bad. We then had to catch a rickshaw in the pitch black and freezing cold for the next 4 km to the border town of Sonulai.

The bus to Varanassi in India was due to leave at 8:30am so we had breakfast. whilst we were eating I saw our friends Brian and Gail go past in a Taxi. They too had managed to tear themselves away from Kathmandu and were also heading for Varanassi. They joined us fro breakfast and then we crossed th border into India...

Did manage some snippets of sleep and arrived near the border at some god earthly time in the morning freezing cold. We caught a rickshaw to some snack bar where we had a cuppa and changed some money and then collected our tickets from a dodgy looking hotel. Off we went in the rickshaw again to the border wher we filled in the relevant paperwork then found ourselves in India just like that!!

 

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