AnneMarie and Andrew

Annemarie and Andrew – Trekking Asia

Pokhara: Peace Pagoda

Posted on Apr 9, 2014

It’s been 9 days since we arrived back in Pokhara after trekking to Poon Hill and Base Camp, almost the same length of time as the trek, and we haven’t done any walking. In fact, we haven’t done anything noteworthy at all. So we decided it’s about time we stretched our legs. Especially as we start the longest and possibly the most difficult trek in a few days time. Overlooking Pokhara is the World Peace Pagoda. It sits on top of a hill which can be reached by walking around the bottom corner of Phewa Lake or by rowing across. We decided to take a rowing boat one way, climb the steps to the stupa, then walk down through the forest and back into Pokhara. This was also the first clear view we’d had of the mountains in about 3 or 4 days. The haze has gradually got worse as the temperature has climbed, but often big, white, fluffy clouds just sit on the mountains anyway. Pokhara had experienced a torrential downpour the afternoon before, 30 minutes I’d extreme rain and a massive thunderstorm. Overnight another two huge thunderstorms had rumbled through, along with a lot more rain. All that rain had emptied the clouds and reduced the humidity and removed the haze which had blocked our view for so long. As we left the hotel the air temperature was about 26° but because of the intensity of the sun it had a real feel of 33°. Hot! Getting the boat one way means we had a ‘rower woman’ to row us there and bring the boat back. This would have been great if she hadn’t nagged us quite a few times for a ‘dollar tip’. I kindly informed her that we’re British and don’t use dollars. We’d already paid 400NPR ($4/£2.40) for the boat so either she wasn’t getting a fair cut of the money, which isn’t my problem (I think that giving tips to low paid workers just exacerbates the problem and condones poor wages and treatment, anywhere in the world!), or she was getting a fair cut and just wanted more of my money. Either way, she understood what we really meant… which is more than Annemarie who was sat at the far end of the boat taking photos and didn’t understand what the woman was saying. From the shore to the stupa is about 1,000ft (330m) and is almost all steps. We’ve done this trip before, the day before we trekked to base camp, but it was about 10° cooler then. This time the heat made it a horrible experience. We were panting, dripping and...

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A Walk Through Kunming

Posted on Nov 17, 2013

After a few days of resting and planning today we decided we would walk to Golden Temple Park. We knew it would be a good distance but the buses just seem like s huge hassle here and aren’t much quicker. After a couple of hours walking we reached the park. The park had a huge entrance and ticket booths. Tickets to walk in a park, well I suppose there are a few parks and estates that you pay to walk around so that’s fine. The price at the ticket booth was 150 Yuan each. To put that in context a meal for two with drinks in a reasonable restaurant around here costs us about 80 Yuan. So this park was 4 times the price of an evening meal for two! £30 to enter the park was just too much, so we decided to walk around the edge, maybe we could see the golden temple from the side. Well… We walked quite some distance around the side but got no view of the temple and no way to enter without paying the huge fee. On the plus side we had a long walk which we needed to start building some muscle and acclimatise to walking at this altitude. In a few days we have to walk Tiger Leaping Gorge which is going to be tough and is probably another 500m higher than here. Another plus was this: On the way back we saw a small vendor selling fried potatoes. They looked so good we just had buy some. 4 Yuan (40p) bought us the best food we have eaten on this trip so far. Fried baby potatoes, dried chillies, coriander and something like paprika, mixed with a touch of water. Delicious and so simple. Our hostel tells us to save water (generally a good idea anyway) as there are sometimes water shortages in Yunnan and the water supply is cutoff. The water shortages are probably caused by these trucks: Which spray the roads with water. The roads around here do seem to get very dusty and the water will help, but just wetting the road is a bit extreme. A few days ago one of these trucks was driving up Beijing Road in Kunming spraying at full pelt, luckily the driver used the horn lots and we saw it coming, but we still had to run quite far and fast to avoid getting soaked as we walked down the side of the road. Speaking of water – today we drank 7 0.5L bottles of water. Luckily a bottle can be bought for 1 Yuan (10p). Slightly worried about water supply...

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