Posts Tagged ‘insurance’

Trekking in Panchase

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

So. For the first time on my journey, I have backtracked, and am now back at the hotel rooftop in Kathmandu. My plan was, as you probably know, to be in Royal Chitwan National Park just about now, and head for the border on the 23rd, when my visa runs out. I am back in Kathmandu now, though, because I have a job interview here tomorrow. Kathmandu International Christian Congregation has offered me a two month job as a youth worker. The pastor is out of town for a couple of months, so if I accept, I’ll be living in his appartment. They will also pay for my visa, and give me 20 000 Nepali Rupees (1767 NOK) per month towards insurance and food. My travel insurance costs around 900 NOK per month, and if I eat cheaply the remaining 800 should almost cover food, so I’ll come out losing very little travel time.

Yesterday and the day before, I went trekking in the mountains. I took a bus up to the trailhead, about 1500 meters above sea level, and we then hiked about 11 kilometers up to ca 2300, and back down to 2200, where we stayed the night in a tiny village named Bhanjyang (or something similar.) Up there we got a beautiful sunset, lighting up the mountains in the Himalayan Annapurna range, after a rather hazy day. Yesterday I got up before sunrise, and got some more fantastic views of the majestic giants, coloured bright red by the rising sun. As the sun warmed up the valley, the fog from Fewa Lake down by Pokhara, together with mist from the trees and thatch roofs on the hills, rose up past the mountains, and we got a much clearer descent. Much of the path going there was “paved” in big slabs of stone, making for smooth walking on the few flat stretches, and some mean stairs on the steep hillsides. Much of the paving is paid for by communal guest houses where tourists leave their money, but it is not mainly put there for the tourists’ sake, but for the locals. In the monsoon season, the torrential rains wash away the path where there are no big rocks holding it together, and it becomes almost impassable. This is a big problem for the locals, who have to walk at least half an hour from their homes to find firewood every day, and then haul their heavy loads back. There are plenty of trees, but to avoid deforestation, it is not legal to use healty trees for firewood. I asked why they don’t do like the Tibetans, and gather up dung for the fires, since there are holy cows walking around and dropping it everywhere, but the thought was clearly too disgusting to contemplate… 😉

The trek was a welcome break from the noisy cities I’ve been to, with clean, warm air and the sounds and smells of hight altitude tropical forests surrounding us. My guide Harry, (“Jerry and Harry will have chicken curry, don’t worry” was his first words when we introduced each other) had however brought his Nokia N95 with over 500 western and hindi songs, and a battery powered loudspeaker, so it wasn’t quiet ALL the time… When coming back down, the rocks were wet from the night’s light drizzle, and the steps were treacherously slippery. On the most precarious parts, where the path just hung on for dear life to the green mountainside going straight up on our right and straight down directly to our left, I admit to making doubly and triply sure I had good footing before shifting my weight to that foot… I would’ve loved to take a longer trek, but my legs are glad they’re not moving much today. The ascent was hard on my thighs, but the descent was ten times as rough on my poor knees and calves. I was very happy to find that there was a clear mountain stream at the bottom, where I could cool down my aching feet and legs!

Today I allowed myself the luxury of taking the tourist bus back to Kathmandu, instead of the local bus. The main differences were that the seats were just far enough apart that I could fit my legs between them, there was no stereo blaring Bollywood love songs at 110% volume, we didn’t transport any goats, chickens or other livestock and the trip took about 8 hours instead of 9, as we didn’t stop at every one-horse-town on the way to drop off or try and squeeze in a few more passengers. The price difference, you ask? Up from 300 to 400 Rupees (from 26,50 to 35,40 NOK)

Relaxing in Vanse

Monday, October 20th, 2008

StipeIt’s been almost a week since I left Stavanger with the first load. I’ve spent the time relaxing after the move, playing with my parents’ dog, Stipe (named after the Croatian president Stjepan “Stipe” Mesić ) and sorting out what I’ll be taking in my backpack…

My eee pc 901 has arrived, and it took me a whole day (and most of the night) to manage to nLite and install xp on it from my usb pen drive, but I finally managed. I am quite satisfied with the end result, both in size and performance, especially compared to the wobbly giant that came pre-installed. It’s taking some getting used to, typing on a keyboard that small, but I think I’ll get there. I’ve never liked touchpads though, so I might pick up a small portable mouse for it. I’ve already tried using Skype from it, with my little sister in England, and I was impressed! The battery life is also decent, so I think I’ll be satisfied with the purchase.

I’ve also bought travel insurance, from the company named Gouda, mentioned in my post of October 3. BOY is travel insurance expensive! It costs a bit over NOK 30,- per day! I guess all it takes is a single mishap before I’ve made up for it, though…

In the days to come, I need to finish my preparations, and then I’m going to Arendal for a few days, to visit my grandparents. The last days before I leave for St.Petersburg will most likely be spent in Oslo, but I’m not entirely sure when that’ll be. I’ll know more when Privjet has had my passport processed for visas in a couple more embassies. Those things take their sweet time, but time is a commodity I have, now. 🙂 That’s a wonderful feeling!

I watched a horror show on TV this evening. It was about what might happen in a worst case scenario if the temperature on the planet rises by 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 degrees. The changes at 2 degrees were drastic, and at 6 degrees they were cataclysmic… If any of them are even close to correct, this is one of the last chances anyone will have to experience some of the things I’m hoping to do on my trip. In as little as ten years, much of it might have changed irreversably. This is partly the reason why I’m choosing to do so little of my travelling by plane. I want to see the world without contributing more than necessary to it’s destruction…