Well we've made it safe and sound...we've been here just over a week now but to be honest it seems a life time ago since we were in NZ! We've been non stop since we arrived. Our flight pales to compare to the long and crazy bus and train rides we've encountered!
Where to start??!! Arriving at Kathmandu airport (4am our body time,10pm local time), two little zombies on their feet, engulfed in the sticky humid heat! We ambled though arrivals to be greeted by Gen's friend Rishi (very soon to become our new best friend!!) He welcomed us with traditional Nepali marigold necklace/wreaths which we wore around our necks..prancing out of the airport feeling like royalty!!
The following day we explored the area but very soon ventured out of the tourist ghetto of Thamel into the local mayhem..we were back into the land where the most important item on any form of transport is the horn!! What a feast for the senses..you name it we saw/smelt/tasted/heard it..organised chaos..at least I think it was organised! Was very hard to get used to the heat (mid 30s) especially since we had to be fairly covered up we quickly learnt that black 'clearly' isn't a great choice of colour to wear!!
We left Kathmandu the following day and headed for Chitwan National Park, we took a local bus which was supposed to take 6hrs..now the fun begins!! 3hrs into our journey we encountered a road block due to the Maoist rebels causing trouble in a nearby village. We were in the middle of nowhere with no shade stuck on the bus for...6hrs!!! Don't ask us how we did it and to make it worse they played old tapes of awful screeching Indian music..thank god for Ipods..Axl and the boys managed to get us through!! When we finally started moving our driver felt the need to go like a bat our of hell to make up some time...only problem was, so was every other driver it was crazy! We were a hot sticky mess when we finally got to Sauraha (13hours later!) We got to our hotel and the manager insisted on us eating..out comes a huge dish of curry..when in Rome!!
The next day was much more exciting... in a good way!! We rode elephants bare back down to the river and went swimming with them..fantastic!! That afternoon we went on an elephant safari thorugh the jungle and ambled amongst the white Rhinos! Such a great experience.. It was great just to walk through the little village, by elephant and just watch the locals do..goats, cows, dogs, chickens and people and all ambling about doing their daily thing. Life there is very basic but they all seem happy doing what they're doing.
We are currenty in Varanasi India. It was a 24hr bus/train ride to get here..never been so hot and sticky in our lives!! Nepal is an absolute breeze to this place..there is no 'organisation' in the chaos it's just plain and simple chaos!! Varanasi is known as one of the 'holy' cities of the world. The Hindu people regard cows as holy (strictly no beef) therefore the cows are just roaming around the narrow alley ways coming and going as they please! They forage through the rubbish, along with the stray dogs, goats and beggars, I don't think they've seen a blade of nice green grass in their lives! It's really quite mind blowing. The poverty here is huge we are constantly being hassled by touts, beggars and anyone we look at really! As you can imagine we've perfected our 'Indian' voices.." Hello my friend, how are you come into my shop I give you good price, where you from....."!!!!! You seriously have to laugh otherwise you'd go mad! We've seen some amazing sights/spectacles..people bathing and swimming in the 'Holy' river Ganges (this is the most polluted river in the world). We've watched the burning ceremonies where the dead are burnt on piles of wood right on the river. It is scary how close you are able to get and how much you actually see..not for the faint hearted..we're still feeling a bit weird after it! We took a boat ride down the river and the little boat man pointed out a dead body floating past us..we didn't believe him, curiousity got the better of us and we had to look..sure enough, it was a child!! Horrible!! Most people are burned but children. pregnant woman and diseased people and weighted down and thrown directly into the river! It is really interesting learning the Hindu ways and beliefs..completly different to ours! In fact Varanasi feels like it's stuck in a time warp and we're back in ancient times 2000years ago!!
That's enough info for now..well done if you made it this far down!!
We take a night train tonight to our next destination Khajuroho.
Ma and Kots
PS We're not near Delhi so the bombs haven't affected us..all is good!!!