Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Internet by candlelight

A big thanks to all those who came to our send-off party. We had a nice cross-section of people from our lives in Belgium, and a few from our lives abroad. It was great to see you all one more time before we hit the road. Check out the pictures below:

Nadine, the Fort brothers (Kevin and Andrew), and Katlijn

Joris and Kim with our 10-year old party photographer, Lieselot

Dries and his Norwegian girlfriend

Opa Wifi

Helga and Ruben

Staf and Niels

Katleen with boyfriend and colleagues


Huub telling Andrew that Nepali burgers taste great [after 20 days of backpacking]

In true form, the subsequent events after our party consisted of eating chocolate coffee beans for breakfast on the floor of our empty apartment, hauling refrigerators down three flights of stairs, and submitting that last journal article sometime in the middle of the night. After some serious last minute banking arrangements early the next morning, we finally left Leuven to arrive 20 hours later in Kathmandu. A guy named Ram, who has arranged our 18 day trek through the Annapurna Circuit, picked us up at the airport. We had a short, but harrowing, car ride through the streets of Kathmandu to arrive safely, with all our gear, at a stinky hotel in the middle of the city. This was pretty much our plan.

We spent our first day being chased around by honking motorcycles in the narrow streets of Kathmandu. At night, the power went out which, according to the receptionist, is a common occurrence here. Thus, we used a few candles to find our way to the top of the hotel. We spent much of the evening together on the roof listening to the sounds of the city. Kathmandu sounds like people, honking horns, and dogs barking (it smells a bit like that too). Katlijn wants it to be known that she doesn't think our hotel stinks. But really, it is all relative, and I think she may have already been here too long. Here are a few images of Kathmandu:

Temple through the trees.

Beautiful Nepali woman with children

A square where the children play.

The children who wanted me to take their picture.

It's late. I'm at an internet cafe. I fear the power may go out again, so I will sign off for now. Tomorrow, we leave early in the morning with our winter gear to start our trek through the Himalayas. I understand there are some solar power internet stations along our route; sounds more reliable than the Kathmandu power grid, anyways. Until then, namaste !