Nepal/5

26Apr 2017 – Updating KTM – Pokhara

16-17Apr: 3extra nights@Hotel Marshyandi KTM. All flights out are totally booked for the week and looks like there will not be any chance to change tickets. Bought some books to pass time at the hotel courtyard while waiting for Calvin&Sam.

They got in safely and yeah and hats off to them. As a group again, we headed to Pokhara=pool or lake 900m, 30mins flight, 200k west of KTM – 1250hrs flight was delayed until 1515hrs! With a pop of 414,141 in an area of 464.24km2/179.24sq mi, far from the earthquake epicenter, and almost unaffected by the 2015 disaster.

Into our accommodations@Atithir Resort&SPA by 1600+hrs  and out exploring and dinning@Chilly Restro&Bar by Phewa Lake.

Tue 18Apr: up up up on hair-pin-bends on a van to Shanti Stupa/World Peace Pagoda (1999),  a monument to inspire peace, designed to provide a focus for people of all races and creeds, and to help unite them in their search for world peace.

Heading down to the lake was stressful on the knees on these narrow stone steps, need to concentrate on every step and good to have our guide Kumar to save me if i fall. How on earth did Dipak managed to walk is his city loafers??

The group in action, not the seniors! contributed with the peddling of the boat around Barahi Island Temple before heading to land.

Quite an amazing scene upon landing – vendors selling their brilliant colours accesories, women in their beautiful colourful saris were having the giggles with the life-vests on.

Bamboo-trees overloaded with birds.

A stroll thru’ town for a bite before heading back to the resort for a massage. Mural-painting, not too common.

Thank goodness, not a real snake. The fruit store is right opposite our resort and surprised that hand-made shoes are still in existence!

Dinner@Fish Tail Lodge, situated on a peninsula with the Fewa Lake on one side and a forest-covered hill on the other, spectacular views, like the idea that you need to pull a boat to get there!

Relaxing cocktails with Harry who knows his birds!  The panorama of Annapurna range and Mount Machhapuchre/Fish Tail were over-power by Mother Nature.

Wed 19Apr: the waiting game@Pokhara Airport where flight was supposed to take off for KTM 0930hrs, delayed flight but action going on with movie making of some teary departure scene. By noon the flight was cancelled.

With 3 extra passengers, we headed back to town for lunch@Thakali Kitchen. 1300hrs on the 200k Prithui Highway to KTM, arr after 2000hrs!

With the conditions of the road in addition on top of bad traffic, it is no wonder that it took 8hrs.

Thu&Fri  20/21Apr: a tourist in KTM.

The golden Swayambhunath Stupa, most commonly known as the Monkey Temple, is the oldest and probably one of the most revered holy shrines in all Nepal Its construction dates as far back as the 5th Century. Was not able to do the 365steps, coughing was bad.

Khokana 8k south of KTM, damaged by the 2015 earthquake was mainly known for the production of rich mustard oil since ancient time. It was also the first town in Nepal to be lit with electricity in 1911.

Durbar Square/Basantapur Darbar Kshetra in front of the old royal palace of the former KTM Kingdom is one of three Durbar/royal palace, Squares in the KTM Valley, all of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. 2015 earthquake destroyed many buildings.

Farewell home-made dinner hosted by Dipak&family. The most tender mutton curry eaten and the rabri rasmalai to die for. The best meal I have had in Nepal, thank you.

On the way to Kumar&family to say our farewells. Thank you for the Tongba तोङवा a millet-based alcoholic beverage found in the eastern mountainous region of Nepal and the neighbouring Darjeeling and Sikkim. It is the traditional and indigenous drink of the Limbu people of eastern Nepal. Have been wanting to taste this for some days!

2100hrs flight on SilkAir delayed to 2230.

Sat 22 Apr 0530hrs: S&S in SIN. Appreciations to Calvin for the evening celebrations@CC. Reflections and food will be updated. There are just sooo much info online and these are just short personal notes for the memory.

It’s time to say goodbye, but I think goodbyes are sad and I’d much rather say hello. Hello to a new adventure – Ernie Harwell

Nepal/4

25 Apr 2017 –  Updating Namche – Tengboche 

Sun 9Apr 0656hrs: Namche 3,450m/22,318ft – Tengboche 3,860m/12,664ft 12k. Leaving Namche with views of farms and the museum. Spectacular views of snow-capped mts in clear clear blue skies.

Ups and downs crossing more suspension bridges and the river, thru’ rhododendron forests.

Lunch break down the valley@Paradise Lodge&Restaurant, a newer place and nice to be able to take an early lunch and nap before heading by the water-wheels and check-point and then up up up for 4k.

Met someone playing the flute during a break and he had a nose-bleed. Gave him all my tissues and wet-naps supply for the day.

After the last 4k of ups ups ups (took me 4hrs) was finally@Tengboche Monastery&Hotel Himalaya 1600hrs, where we will be spending the night. Was sooo tired that all I wanted to do was sleep, but did pay a visit to the monastery first.

Managed to get a few shots before the sunset. Was even too tired to go outside to take this sunset scene, so imagine how bad a shape I was in to miss a good shot of the sunset. Oh well, even with the reflection of the window, Sagarmatha will hold a special place in the memory.

Mon 10Apr 0930hrs: after a poor night sleep with the heart and head not feeling happy, it would be wise to turn around here. As the Norwegian saying goes – det er ingen skam å snu. Looking at the itinerary planned, it would have been unlikely to make it any further and I needed to conserve some energy head back. Lum made the same decision as he was coughing. Calvin&Sam pushed on with Kumar and the younger porter. My fav pix of Sagarmatha and the closest I will ever get.

Feeling blessed to have been able to trek 33k to an altitude of 3,860m/12,664ft in perfect weather days was more than I would have hoped. Such spectacular views will remain as long as the memory is in tact.

Heading slowly with our older porter Samip and Lum from Tengboche to Kyangyump arr 1430hrs after 10k . still above the 3,000m for a night. Nice to have the time to take many Kodak breaks to cherish the moments. One picture is worth ten thousand words – Chinese Proverb

Tue 11Apr 0815hrs: proceeding to Namche arr 1030hrs after 8k where Lum was so out of it that I thought a chopper had to be called. Fortunately he slept for hours and felt better.

Wed 12Apr 0830hrs: Namche – Pkakding 1630hrs 7.4k where I first tasted green chilly sauce@Namaste Lodge where the owner’s son is studying in Dublin/Ireland.

Thu 13Apr 0800hrs: Pkakding – Lukla 1400hrs 9k staying the night@Tara Lodge.

Fri 14Apr: being in the Buddhist country, nearly forgotten that it is Good Fri. Checked into the airport and flight was supposed to take off after 0900hrs. A few flights took and then none after 0930hrs. Airport closed due to wind, but did not effect the choppers. Hiring a chopper cost anything from US$1,600+

Waited and watching life goes by was more affordable!

Left the airport to have lunch@Everest Mt Home, only a few steps away and has a view of the landing strip where I could see any plane or chopper landing. All’s well that ends well – the airport opened after 1500hrs and we were back in KTM by 1600hrs. Goodbye and thank you Sagarmantha.

Nepal/3

24 Apr 2017 – Updating Phakding – Namche

Fri 7Apr 0645hrs: Phakding 2,620m/8,595ft – Namche 3,450m/22,318ft 12k.

Still along DudhKoshi, up thru’ rhododendron, fir, Himalayan pine, cedar forest with the view of Kusum Kanguru/Kangaroo 6,369m/20,895ft & Thamserku Mts 6,623m/21,719ft.

Long suspension bridge, and wow! the first sighting of Sagarmatha/Everest 8,848m/29,018ft world’s tallest mt and I survived to see it with my own 2eyes!! (even when it is from a distance).  Another bucket list item accomplished.

Passing by the village of Monjo. Break@Buddha Lodge for lunch and to air my feet.

Long lines@Namche checkpoint, smart of Kumar to call one of the porters who had arrived@Namche with the group and our baggage. He came to stand in line while poor Kumar had to accompany me so that I could slowly but surely reach the ups ups ups to Namche by 1630hrs.

2 nights here@Kongde Lodge to rest and acclimatize.

Sat 8Apr: a visit to Namche Market and the museum before heading another 400m to acclimatize.

The group was flying their kites and scaring the birds 🙂

They proceeded on to Everest View Lodge while our guide Kumar, porter Samip and I decided to nap instead of climbing. Headed back to the lodge for another night.

Only pix I have of the whole group@Namche Bakery where the older bro Samip (24) so touchingly cut up the food for his younger bro (14). Clockwise: Sam, younger porter, me, Lum, Calvin, Kumar&Samip. Sam bought a pair of mittens and I, a pair of booties (booties pix credits to Calvin).

What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals – Zig Ziglar

Nepal/2

23 Apr 2017 – Updating Lukla

Tue 6Apr 0745hrs: KTM – Lukla 2,610m 35min domestic flight

to the world’s most dangerous airport –  the only runway 24 (in Cantonese it sounds like easy death!) not a good number for the Chinese, but hopefully for the Nepali it has other significance!

Into the land of Sherpa=Eastern ppl in Tibetan. Here a repacking process – pix credits to Calvin. We meet with our 2 young porters who will be carrying our luggage for the entire trek. To my Irish friends, this Irish pub is dedicated to you all 🙂

0845hrs: Lukla 2,610m – Phakding 2,810m 9k: along DudhKoshi River (Milk River), passing thru’ mt views, Tibetan words carved in rocks.

Over an hour lunch break@Mt Kusum Khangkaru Lodge&Restaurant in the village of Kusum Khola.

The reason for such long lunch breaks is that the preparations do not start until you order! First short bridge after lunch. Tkx to Calvin for stretching my boots to protect my bunion here. My admiration, respects and hats off to these Sherpa and porters who carry anything from 40-100kg up here. Am struggling with just a 5kg daypack!

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Beautiful ups and downs, exposed trek without my hat, many short breaks.

Heading to our lodgings@Tashi Ta-Gey Lodge in Phakding 2,620m/8,595ft. Got there by 1500hrs but too tired to explore further. Just sitting and enjoying company of Maria/Peru, John/Aus who lives in SIN, Travis/medical student from SIN (told him that I will haunt him if he ever resuscitate me 🙂 ) and watching life goes by – even a handsome horse-rider 🙂 🙂 🙂

4above pix credits to Calvin. Slight headache but hopefully due to the exposed trek today. Will sleep the night here and see how things goes tomorrow.

The effects of high altitude on humans are considerable. The percentage oxygen saturation of hemoglobin determines the content of oxygen in blood. After the human body reaches around 2,100m/7,000ft above sea level, the saturation of oxyhemoglobin begins to plummet.

High altitude: 1,524-3,505.2m/5,000-11,500ft.

Very high altitude: 3,500-5,500m/11,500-18,000ft.

Extreme altitude: above 5,500m/18,000ft.

Nepal

22 Apr 2017 – Updating Kathmandu KTM

Tue 4Apr: checked gears, gadgets and bought my first pair of hiking boots. Appreciations to CC for the use of 3-in-1 jacket, extra sleeping bag if needed and a duffer-bag to fit everything.

First experience to a country sandwiched by the world’s 2 most populated countries, India & China! Nepal’s pop 26+mil; 147,181 km2(56,827 sq mi), also the birth country of Gautama Buddha (563–483 BCE).

Wed 5Apr: SilkAir SIN-KTM 4hrs 45mins – full flight and a slight misunderstanding for the visa duration, otherwise everything went smoothly. The contrast from SIN airport to KTM airport is quite something!! From the airport to the Thamel where Hotel Moonlight was located would take anything from 15mins-1hr depending on traffic. Appreciations to Dipak from Adventure Tours for meeting us.

KTM, pop 1+mil; 49.45 km2 (19.09 sq mi) choking in dusty roads and heavy traffic. After checking into the hotel and a light lunch, it was time to explore the surroundings.

Had to buy a mask to continue walking – felt I was choking in the dust. The Garden of Dreams, also, the Garden of Six Seasons, is a neo-classical garden in Kaiser Mahal built in 1920.

KTM Guest House is a reminder of the colonial days, but the majority of KTM is still very much a 3rd world scene! Sadly the 2015 earthquake did some damages around.

Dinner at this new place that is so new that it has no name! The lanes were so narrow that it was amazing how the van could manoeuvre here without any scratches or bumps!! Good food but too much. Also entertained by local dancers. Calvin forgot about the red-dot and keep rubbing his forehead 🙂

Once a year, go some place you’ve never been before – Dalai Lama.

And so I did 🙂 🙂 🙂

An 80th Birthday Celebration

1 Apr – Goodbye Mar Hello Apr 


Mon: everything was unpacked and put to place before the end of the day. The love-hate feeling of packing, travelling and unpacking! Should have not unpack, but will be heading to different climate and places next week. Sometimes I do wonder it is only me who dread packing and unpacking??

Tue: @CC to check out gears. Dinner@Les&Ivy and many tkx for the tax-free goods. It will have to be a VERY special before I open this bottle of bubbles!!

Wed: shopping for Jo’s 80Bday gift and saw this cute Vesper with a side-car@Suntec. The sign hanging there states – Children Only. The Vespa is fragile. Please be gentle 🙂  I would have been more gentle with it than any child! Could not resist this vanilla souffle@Hoshino Coffee***but no coffee. Have to go back there for breakfast one day and then will have the coffee.

Pick up all my gears@CC tkx to Calvin.

Thu: after the sky opened up at noon, a lovely wet and cool afternoon. Shopped at the Daiso@City Square Mall as there is a better selection in that branch. More shopping at the airport and there one does not have to pay 7%GST. Easy to take the MRT with one change direct to the airport and no need to deal with the rains. Above 3 pix downloaded.

Fri: TGIF. Happy 80th Bday to sis Jo – proud grandmother with her grandchildren pix credits to David. Jo&her immediate family, Michael, Pat-Lynn&David, Lucas, Beth and Sue-Lynn.

Some of the siblings and their spouses. Left-right sitting: PohKit, Jo, Ivy; standing: Les, Joyce, Lawrence, Michael & me. Pix credits to David. The dinner party group – sitting from left-right: Lawrence, Michael, Jo, PohKit; standing: Joyce, Kiera, Pat, Pat-Lynn, Beth, Lucas, Sue, Clement, Alywin, me and David.

Thanks to Michael, Pat Lynn, David and Sue Lynn for a wonderful 80Bday celebration. A great time was had by all young and old@Imperial Treasure, Great World City****

Sat: time to pay respects to our parents@Mandai Crematorium and Columbarium Complex. 15th day after the Spring Equinox is the ChingMing Festival 清明节 Tomb-Sweeping Day making the place packed with ppl and smoke in the weekend.

Lunch&dinner@Les&Ivy. Appreciations for all the delicious foods from Jo, Les&Ivy. Good to have another family gathering before Lawrence flies off to KCH tomorrow.

Who needs April Fool’s, my entire life is a joke – hahaha 🙂 So today I can tell everyone that I am heading towards Mt Everest.

Irene Hoe: No lah, just say you have just made it to the summit. April 1 what!

Here cometh April again, and as far as I can see the world hath more fools in it than ever – Charles Lamb

Perth Part2

27 Mar 2017 – Applecross With The Leungs

Fri: TGIF from the delightful neighbourhood of Applecross – Stenocarpus sinuatus, known as the Firewheel Tree and Cassia fistula, known as the GoldenRain Tree.

The pelicans here have marked their territory on the lamp-posts and have made their landmark as sculptures on the roof-top of the gas-station.

Enjoy grocery shopping, so much new to see. Good idea and looks attractive too with these shades for the roof-top car-parks. Nice place this Waterford Plaza, with all kinds of International foods…

even my fav SIN Old ChangKee currypuffs!

Seafood shopping@Booragoon, a suburb of Perth is the Aboriginal name for the lower reaches of the Canning River.

A good fresh variety for shell-fish lovers, including a ‘Run-away Abalone’ – lol 🙂

Tkx to Les of a seafood dinner@Joe’s Shack in Fremantle with family: bros Lawrence, Les, nephew Larry, extended family: bro-in-law Michael and his nephew Robert, Gertrude&Geoffrey and their son Tony.

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Sat: heading out bright and early for the Farmers Market on Manning located on the campus grounds of Clontarf Aboriginal College. Most interesting flavourful native Australian limes.

One of the best breakfasts, Gozleme from The Turkish Saj with the unique sound of the didgeridoo in the background.

Perfect weather and ambiance. Could not resist buying honey, mushrooms, leather goods,

best grapes in this life-time so far (Les bought 6kg to take back to SIN), local flowers which I arranged for a center-piece. Peggy’s purchase covered all her kitchen counter as she will be preparing a retirement party for 20+ppl tonight.

Appreciate to meet up with YeeHong&MinFong, YeeSang&Frank (who had to take off before this pix), YeeChit&Angela – all of Peggy’s siblings+their spouses who were all coincidentally in town, and  that is not the usual case! Tkx for dim-sum lunch@Imperial Court****good food, but seemingly the owner has a different attitude where service is concerned!!

One of the world’s largest musical instruments, The Bell Tower (1999) houses the Swan Bells in a 82.5 metre high tower located within Barrack Square.

On level six – the Observation Deck, 360º views of the Swan River, Kings Park, City of Perth…

The view of the city from the other side of the river – South Perth. Tkx to YeeSang for the city walk.

Sunset walk@Kings Park, tkx to YeeChit& Angela.

Yummy BBQ dinner (King-prawns, steaks, lamb-chops and fish) prepared by the Ongs@Aurora. What a blast to be able to have a house-warming with the fireworks – time to pop the champagne with the cigars for the owner! Family pix credits to YeeChit. Those who know me also knows my love-hate relationship with fireworks!

A dim-sum conveyor-belt (yes, sushi – here is my first with dim-sum which was so-so). Ian ironing my blouse ( I would also stay married if I had a hubby like him 🙂 ). Annya, a dog who does not know how to eat a bone (she sadly carried it in her mouth crying, and this is for-real). Joel must have the largest most unusual cacti collection. All my shopping, mostly gifts for ppl!!

Sun: safe&sound back in SIN after a wonderful week in Perth. Tkx to Peggy&Ian for putting me up and for putting up with me; appreciations to the Leungs, Puddeys, Ongs, Wence&Chris, my 2 bros Lawrence, Leslie and nephew Larry.

The Leungs and our family go way back a long way, and we are also related by marriage. Mother’s bro-in-law Henry LEUNG is Peggy’s paternal grandfathers brother, ie her grand-uncle. Thus that makes her my niece! Pix from SIN 1954-57 – 5 Temenggong Rd. VanKleef Aquarium with Les, YeeSang (on my mother’s lap) Peggy, YeeHong and auntie June (before YeeChit was not even thought of!). The old Turf Club visiting father’s and uncle Vincent’s race-horses.

IMG_4012Front left-right: Peggy LEUNG, LEUNG YeeHong, me, uncle Henry LEUNG, uncle Vincent LEUNG; Second row: LOW YokeSau (2nd sis-in-law), auntie June, TSENG MayLan (mother); Third row: LAM KwokKiong (2nd bro, the first of the green generation to pass away)LAM TinYue (father), EU KengLun (a close family friend and the former Lee Wah Bank director and the Eu Yan Sang family).