Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Nepal 6: stone steps from Naya Pul to Ulleri

Panoramic view from the steps of the World Peace Pagota at sunrise.

Woke up at 5:00 AM. Met Nim downstairs and took a taxi to the World Peace Pagota to see the sunrise. I don't know how these taxis can handle the roads. The roads leading up the mountain to the pagota were the bumpiest, turniest, rockiest, steepest roads we've been on. Amazingly we made it there in one piece. 
World Peace Pagota right before sunrise.

Nim told us about The World Peace Pagota. It's a Buddhist stupa that was built in 1998 to promote world peace between different countries and cultures. To go up the stairs of the stupa we had to take our shoes off and leave them at the bottom. The marble steps were kind of cold but thanks to my newly purchased warm warm socks I was fine with walking around shoeless.

Some statues built into the sides of the World Peace Pagota.

Three guys were walking around playing drums and chanting. Two other men at the bottom of the stupa looked like they were doing yoga of some sort. There were about 10 other travelers there waiting for the sunrise. I heard the first American tourist of the trip. It was a lady on the phone with an American accent talking about her sister in Boston. There was a little Nepali boy doing cartwheels on the lawn and annoying his older sister. The sunrise was amazing. 
Me and Steve right before sunrise on the hill of the World Peace Pagota.

 Headed back to Hotel Grand Holiday for breakfast. We checked our bags and hopped a cab with Nim to start our trekking adventure. The taxi took us to our starting point, Naya Pul. It was a little town area in the flood plains. 

Some girls on their way to school. Taken from the window of the cab on our ride to Naya Pul.

It was about 35 degrees Farenheit when we got out of the car. We grabbed our packs and followed Nim. At first we were walking through a fairly busy town. Tons of shops and people outside. Then the land emptied out to be more farmland and plains. The sun warmed up the temperature so we took a break to lose some layers. Nim told us about the trekking scene in Pokhara. He explained how around 2002 people (tourists) realized the trekking scene in Nepal was awesome so the industry grew to meet the bigger needs. People began building smalls hotels, shops, and houses along the popular trekking trails. It's not commercial at all, but people in the area cater to the trekkers in order to boost their lifestyle and economy. Nowadays the most common form of trekking is what we were doing called "Teahouse Trekking". Basically we trek in the mountains and at night stay in these little houses/hotels for meals and a bed to sleep in. 

A view we saw at the beginning of the trek.

Nim said when he was a kid he remembers the trekkers coming through his town. They would set up campsites and sleep in tents. Nim and his friends would try to get close to the campsites to see the weird strangers. They always used to wonder what food they ate and what they were doing in the mountains. Now Nim is a guide for these exact kind of trekkers!

A local woman carrying stuff down the mountain. We saw tons of people using this method to carry really heavy loads. Because the roads arn't drivable, everything the people need they have to hike up the mountains on foot.

Most of the day was just walking. The scenes were incredible and I wanted to take pictures every two steps. We had to avoid packs of mules heading up and down the mountain. Herds of sheep shared the paths with us as some points. We crossed two checkpoints and had to have our trekker forms checked. The trekking permits were included in our packet from the tour guide at the first hotel.
Steve and Nim.

Saw a group of people portioning out a bunch of red bloody meat on a tarp by the river. Nim told us that when town's people decide to kill a bull for meat, every family gets the same amount of every part of the bull. Every single part of the bull is used; meat, bones, intestines, hooves, marrow and scull. Nothing goes to waste. One guy just sat there and waved a branch at each pile to keep the flies away. This was one of the most fascinating scenes I saw the entire trek today.
People distributing out the parts of the bull by the river. I have a much closer up shot but I'm not trying to make any one sick while they're reading this. Sooo, I decided on this scenic more zoomed out picture.

Bathroom at one of the stops. 
Out of necessity, I got very used to this type of bathroom. 
Let me tell you, it's not easy.

We stopped for lunch at a small restaurant. I got this awesome mixed macaroni dish with eggs and spinach in it. 
Deliciou macaroni dish I had for lunch. 

Nim told us we had two choices at this point. To break it down we could either do the long hike today or the short hike. Eventually we had to tackle a huge set of continuous stairs. We decided to get them over with today so we kept hiking. 

Some local people sitting in a field.

The steps were pure PAAAAINNNNN. They never ended. We were continuously walking up these steps for 1.5 hours. It wasn't like a stairmaster machine either. There was no rhyme or reason in the placement or thickness of these steps so you had to really be on your A game if you wanted to avoid tripping and falling down the mountain. A lot of people were coming DOWN the steps and seemed so happy. I just glared at all of them because me and gravity were in a serious battle up that mountain. Everyone that passed by said the view at the top was worth it. I thought, yea, right, we'll see about that.

Just a few of the never ending stone steps.

FINALLY we reached Ulleri, the town we were staying in that night. I was so siked we had made it. We stayed at the Meera Guest House and Restaurant. It had a great view and hot water!!!! I was SOO siked about the hot water I was literally singing in the shower.

The Meera Guest House on the left and my bed on the right. 

The Meera Guesthouse had nice people, warm blankets and only two other tourists. We ordered dinner then sat around the fire an talked with Nim and this couple from Hong Kong (but the husband was from Australia). Had macaroni and chicken for dinner. We headed back to the room. I passed out and slept like a rock.

Some of the veiw from the Meera Guest House.

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