Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Day 1, annapurna trek, nepal- the bus ride

Our plan:
To trek the Annapurna Circuit- an approximate 14 day journey.
Start: Bhulbule (2,700 feet)
Pass: Thorung La (17,769 feet)
Finish: Pokhara (2,713 feet)

This is not a technically difficult trek- no rock climbing or special skills.
However, threats from weather, land slides, and altitude sickness were constantly in the back of our minds.
The Himalayan mountains are no joke.
Mountains, real mountains, deserve respect and caution.

To them, I am nothing.

To me, well, they have changed my entire life...

Day 1: Bus ride from hell from Kathmandu to Bhulbule

To save $8, the fiance and I decided to take a non-airconditioned "tourist" bus to Bhulbule- the trail head.
This was a major decision.
I was on a budget of $30 per day,
so $8 was a pretty big deal.

We were told it would take approximately 6-7 hours to reach Bhulbule.
The bus was scheduled to leave at 7:30am,
...it didn't leave until after 8:30am.

Lesson #1 of the third world- timely schedules do not exist.

I was nervous about this long bus trip.
Something you probably don't know about me-
I pee a lot.
Long car rides make me nervous, 
so I typically pee even more.

Lucky for me,
the bus driver stopped at least every 30 minutes to have a smoke and tea break with his buddies.
Of course, this presented a new problem:
where to pee?

Lesson #2 of the third world- public bathrooms are extremely rare.

I peed in so many random holes in the ground, it became ridiculous.
Western toilets do NOT exist in this part of the world.
running sinks? nope
soap? in my dreams

I learned very fast how lucky we have it back at home.
Clean hands and toilet paper are luxuries-
something I will never take for granted again.

Due to traffic (honestly, the worst I have ever witnessed in my life), 
frequent social breaks, 
and emergency gas stops (where we never actually filled up with gas),
it took us over 10 hours to reach Bhulbule.

Worst bus ride of my life...
until Indonesia
(wait till you hear about that one...)

Thankfully, we were rewarded with a delicious dinner-
veggie momos and veggie curry.
Seriously, good stuff
(even if it took 2 hours to cook)

Side note-
thank you fiance for putting up will all my bitching during those 10 hours.
You only got annoyed once, and I don't blame you.

We stayed that night in the first available guest house we could find.
Unfortunately, I did not take any pictures.
Guesthouses in this area of Nepal are not hotels.
They are basic wooden buildings,
with tiny little beds (you sleep in a sleeping bag),
and maybe a little window.
Air conditioning and heating does not exist.
Bathrooms (ie holes in the ground) are outside.

Despite these factors,
I slept like a baby...

Pin It!


Alex Butts said...

You are so hardcore! I think this bus ride may make hte climb look easy...

Katrin said...

Sounds amazing! And you really are hardcore!

Alyx said...

Oh my gosh. I can't wait to hear about the rest - seriously, this trip sounds amazing.

Sadie Dear said...

What adventures! I've never been outside the States, but I'd love to really explore the world one day. Other cultures take some serious adjustment after living a life in veritable luxury!

nancy said...

oooh! good post! toilets are one of the things I'm most concerned about with travel... especially to South America!

that food... wow. sounds amazing!

Rod and Alex - aka: "Rolex" said...

Ha! My husband lived in Eastern Europe for almost five years in his early twenties and he ALWAYS carried toilet paper in his backpack. There are some places in this world that you can't count on hand-soap and toilet paper! Lol!
Despite these obstacles, sounds like you had an amazing experience! :)

Jenna said...

My latest obsession is to plan a backpacking trip around Nepal and incorporate hiking to base camp into it somehow. I can't wait to hear more!

ps How did you and your fiance plan these trips, was it one long around the world journey or were these trips broken up? How did you get off work for so long. How did you afford it, etc. Sorry for all the questions, but I'd really love to do a sort of extended around-the-world honeymoon one day :)

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry but I had to giggle... We just got back from India and I can relate. And, boy, people pee all over the place there! At least you had a great dinner! That looks delish!



Nicole Marie said...

hahah oh my gosh i pee so much too and i'm exactly the same way! the second i get in the car for a trip i have to pee every 15 minutes!

you are so hard cord i woul dhave been a raging biatch sitting for 10 hours!

Annapurna Trek said...

That's very true. whenever you travel to Nepal public transportation, and public toilet becomes the thing of major concern but still you can manage a wonderful and amazing trip out of all this insufficiency.