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10/2023 Try #4 for Nepal was a charm

This was Try #4 for a visit to Nepal with a German friend, Jutta. She suggested this trip back in 2019, we think. We agreed, it was booked, COVID came along to cancel the trip in 2020 and 2021. Then chemo reeked havoc with the 2022 plans. 2023 it is! We flew from Bangkok to Kathmandu.

Everest from plane window. We were on the wrong side of the plane to see Everest so a nice guy from Arkansas used our phone and took the pictures for us.

The immigration hall in Kathmandu is chaos for figuring out where to go – DO you have a visa? Yes, we did (printed out) but we had to go pay for it. We had US dollar cash as stated on the website so we were pretty fast but the guy next to us tried to use a credit card. We finished before we ever found out how he paid.

We took the stamped sheets of pages to the immigration booth; he put a shiny visa stamp in our passports. Then we had to go thru security to get into the country before we could pick up our bags. Yes, they sent our backpack through xray. We probably should write down all the different security rules we’ve run into – take of/out -or not – belts, shoes, phones, Kindles, computers, liquids. Who knows what the rules are?? We just look for signs and follow what the person in front of us does.

We found a toilet before we headed to the luggage carousel. Took forever for Mark’s bag to show up. Walked thru Customs with our bags but they were too busy opening locals’ luggage to care what we brought.

The hotel didn’t have shampoo so we went for a walk to buy shampoo at Best Store.

Need Nepalese rupees? Just go to a money changer. They all have the same rate. Make sure you have unwrinkled dollar bills; the larger the bill, the better the rate. ATM’s worked, too.

Dashain was in full swing. It’s biggest festival in Nepal – 11 days of no work, pretty much. Anytime something doesn‘t happen “It’s Festival”.
400,000 people left Kathmandu Valley for the festival for their homes. Very little traffic, most shops and restaurants closed except for a few tourist shops. We even crossed the street with no traffic.
Jutta showed up the next day but missing her suitcase. It’s too long of a story for here but she did get it back the next day, no thanks to Air India.

The three of us had a tour guide and a driver for the next 12 days. Bhaskar and Gaya took great care of us and we saw lots! The trip spent 3 days in Kathmandu, flew to Nepalgunji and drove to Bardia NP, Lumbini, Chitwan NP, Bandipur and back to Kathmandu.

The food shops were open because eating is a big part of the holiday.

We flew from Kathmandu to Nepalgunji in the south. This is where the driving fun began! Bardia National Park was the first destination.

That’s an alligator in Bardia NP.
A few water buffalo crossing the river. These are domesticated.
Mark enjoyed a gin and topic along the river for sunset while we looked for “wild” animals.
Tea time during one of our safaris in Bardia National Park

Lumbini, birthplace of Budha and a center of Buddhism, was our next stop. Just a hint about the roads here. It took 6.5 hours to drive about 180 miles on the main east/west highway in the country. A little arithmetic and you realize we averaged less than 30 mph.

Countries are all building temples in the Lumbini Development Area – Germany, Cambodia, Japan, Thailand. The whole complex looks like Epcot! Then we walked to the canal, along the canal , over the bridge, past Cambodia temple to Myanmar temple where they had lovely western toilets in one row and hole in the ground in the other row. Even had soap!

Lumbini stupa
Buddha in Lumbini