Well, here I am, at the Hotel Ganesh Himal after a solid 24 hours of traveling from Madrid. Not much sleep there, as you might imagine, but I have a wonderful clean room here with my own bathroom and a fantastic view of the neighborhood. I met a bunch of really cool Spaniards on the plane who are going trekking as well, I hope to see them on the trail!
Today I met Niraj, a Nepali guide who was going to accompany me on my circuit through the Annapurna mountains. Very very unfortunately his grandfather died two days ago and he will not be able to come with me until I get to Pokhara at the end of the trek. He is very very good at English, very kind, excited, knowledgable and giving. I really really would have liked him to be my guide but all things have a reason, and now I will be walking with Pancha Rai, a small man with very happy crinkles at the corners of his eyes. It seems he likes to laugh. I'm not sure how much English he speaks, but I'm going to try to learn as much Nepali as I can.
I'm flipping out with excitement about the trek. Niraj has assured me an excellent price (which I got, making sure Pancha is also paid fairly) and sternly told him that I was going to try to carry my own pack, but if I got tired he had to take it for me. We'll see...stubborn Colorado girl trekking...haha!
Niraj is taking me around the muddy, potholed streets of Kathmandu on his motorbike, driving extremely carefully and honking incessantly as seems to be the way to do things here. They drive on the left side of the road here, which I didn't know before but it doesn't seem to matter much as cars and motorbikes, pedestrians and bicycles are all weaving around each other through the narrow streets.
We visited a monkey temple where there are tons of apes running all around. Apparently they can be little robbers and steal jewlery and purses. I managed to escape unscathed. They even have a monkey swimming pool they leap into from 20ft above off tree branches in the summer time!
Then we went to Durbar Square which is a UNESCO world heritage site and full of tons of people, pidgeons and cows wandering around. Wow, Kathmandu is always bursting with people, shops and energy! I can't wait to get on the trail in the Annapurnas.