I've been staying with friends, aka my Nepali family here in Kathmandu for the last 11 days! I cant believe it's been that long. It's been wonderful, totally relaxing. They have also been stuffing me with home grown, not just home made food. Before leaving the states my housemate Chris said that it would never take 7 months to walk across Nepal, "so what was I really up to?" While that may be true, you have to take hospitality into account, after all it's not the destination as much as the journey that counts.
I was checking a guide book in a local bookshop for info and maps about the area I am going to be walking in. With great pleasure I found nothing. I did find a line in a guide book saying that the beaten path in Nepal is surprisingly thin. I couldn't agree more. I have yet to see a tourist in a public bus or away from the typical tourist destinations. It's wonderful. It's refreshing to know that as in my former wanderings in Far Western Nepal that I won't be coming across hordes of other travelers and the inevitable inflated prices for basic goods that such crowds generate. Apparently, in the Annapurna region, an immensely popular trekking region a basic plate of Dhal Baht (rice and lentils) the staple dish of Nepal costs 240 rupees. About 200 rupees more that it costs anywhere else in the country, which is fine if you are here for two weeks and suddenly find yourself in a comparatively cheap country. I of course in my typical overly frugal fashion have allocated about 300 Rupees a day for my entire trip. So far I have had no problem keeping within this approximately $4.80 a day. The other downside to the beaten path is the inevitable change you notice in people. As a traveler in such heavily visited areas you are first and foremost a customer. Everything becomes about the money. Your chances of stumbling into someones home as a guest vanishes. Tourists also tend to complain a lot!
As for my up coming walk, these are the larger villages I will be walking to over the next 150 miles and 20 to 30 days.
Good luck trying to find these on Google Earth. The last destination, Terhathum is supposedly a road head where I can catch a return bus to Kathmandu. Supposedly. Mud slides and general strikes have a huge impact on where the roads start and stop.
In another stroke of genius I just managed to erase all of the photos I have taken so far with one wrong motion of the mouse. I did manage to find some random photos of Kathmandu in this computer however, which I will try and upload now. Too bad because my photos were much better! Ah digital, easy come easy go.
Talk to you in a month or so.
The first 4 photos are in Kathmandu, the last one is a flooded Kolkatta. Ummmmm.