Mount Everest Here I Come! Oh Wait…No I Don’t…

Let’s start this off with a random photo from my trek in the Himalayas:

Annapurna Base Camp Trek_12 scary faces

Freaky stuff…no editing on this one, it was taken using a long exposure and a flashlight. Clever stuff eh?

After I left India (more on the rest of my Indian journey to come in future posts…) I headed on to Nepal. Christmas and New Year were approaching and so when I booked my trip I wanted to make sure that I was somewhere special to celebrate. And oh dear, what a disaster the whole thing turned out to be…

I had booked a trek to Everest Base Camp. So I arrive in Kathmandu a few days beforehand and I am instantly in love with Nepal. To be honest, I wanted to move from India to somewhere new. I wanted some different experiences with different cultures and different foods. And so wherever I landed I probably would have loved. The Nepalese people are known for their friendliness, and they really are a nation of lovely people! Here are some pics from Kathmandu:

Kathmandu Nepal_01 Kathmandu Nepal_05 Kathmandu Nepal_05 Wires Kathmandu Nepal_04 Kathmandu Nepal_03 Kathmandu Nepal_02Kathmandu Thamel Stealing A Rickshaw in Kathmandu

So I became a rickshaw driver for a day, looked at masks, mandalas, pigeons and wires. Yep. That about wraps up all of Kathmandu. You can click on these images to see them full size, lucky you!

So a few days before Christmas and I meet up with my group with whom I am going to go trekking to the base camp of Mount Everest…the tallest peak on planet Earth! How exciting! To get to the starting point of the trek we had to take a plane to a place called Lukla. Unfortunately this meant landing at the world’s most dangerous airport. It has a 350m long, uphill runway to slow the tiny planes as they land. There have been many crashes and deaths here. Here is a video I found on YouTube of a landing at Lukla Airport (plus exciting voice over man!):

This guy’s voice over cracks me up for some reason! Anyway, you get the point….it is short, uphill and dangerous!

So if wind speeds get higher than 8kmph (I can blow faster than that! No dirty jokes please) then the flight has to be called off. It really is that dangerous. So on our first day in the airport in Kathmandu I actually had no idea about any of this. I thought that we would just get in a plane and whoosh, off we go! But no. Day 1 (Dec 22nd) and the winds are too strong. We head back to the hotel so that we can try again the next day. That afternoon I head off to the Monkey Temple in Kathmandu (for the second time!) with some of my group. Here are a few photos from the temple:

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In the last photo, you can see a monkey that I sneaked up behind to try and take a monkey selfie, but he leaped out of the way in surprise right whilst he was taking a crap…sorry monkey!

On the way back I am hungry and so I buy some street food. I ate loads of street food in India with no trouble so what’s the harm in eating street food in Kathmandu? BIG MISTAKE! The streets in Kathmandu are some of the dustiest in all of Asia and this was at the end of the day so this food had most likely been sitting there for hours collecting dust and germs. But I think what the heck…In the words of Boris from Goldeneye, “I AM INVINCIBLE!”. An hour or so later as I am (viewer discretion advised) sitting on the toilet, crapping through the eye of a needle whilst simultaneously throwing up in the bath I realise that this just isn’t the case. The night that followed was highly unpleasant and by the next morning I didn’t really feel like climbing a mountain to tell you the truth! So when the flight got cancelled for the second day in a row I can tell you that I was actually rather pleased. Back to Kathmandu and to bed for Patrick.

The next day was December 24th – Christmas Eve! I still felt pretty crap and it didn’t feel like Christmas one bit. We head off to the airport at around 6am and are given the option to take a helicopter to Lukla instead. Oh great, I’ll take it! Oh wait, what’s that? It will cost me $550? Oh ok then, cheers mate but I think I’ll wait for this tiny breeze to calm down a bit and take a plane instead. The group that I was with though had other plans. Everyone else except me took the helicopter option so now not only was I stuck in Kathmandu on Christmas Eve…I was stuck there alone. To add to my loneliness, my hotel kicked me out because it wasn’t included in the booking. So I move to some other super cheap guesthouse which wasn’t very nice to tell you the truth. This is turning out to be the best Christmas ever!! Yay, merry Christmas to me!!!!

Christmas Day. 6am. Kathmandu airport. All flights cancelled. I’m still feeling pretty crap from the food poisoning as well. Around lunchtime I head back to Kathmandu and treat myself to a Christmas dinner of a chicken sandwich and chips. I think I even took a picture of it. Let me dig it out…

Christmas Dinner 2013

Well that certainly beats a roast turkey with all the trimmings…NOT! Who knows where I will be this Christmas Day and what I will be eating…

I Skype my family and am kind of wishing that I am back home in London for the first time in all of my travels. I treat myself to a cake from the bakery and end up watching a movie in my room. Merry Christmas to me!

Dec 26th. 6am. Kathmandu Airport. All flights cancelled. The wind is at like 11kmph. Bloody hell, that’s like hurricane speed isn’t it? They must all be holding on to their hats up there! God knows how they get by in such windy conditions. Pure madness.

I decide to cancel the trek and instantly feel a weight lifted of my shoulders. No more early mornings sitting in an airport. Yay! I move into a nicer guesthouse for the same price and book myself a new trek for about a quarter of the price with all food and accommodation included, a guide (thanks Khem!), and a porter (ummmm, thanks again Khem! Haha). My trek would be to Annapurna Base Camp. The base camp is at 4130m above sea level and Annapurna is the tenth highest mountain in the world. Many people say that it is a nicer trek than Everest anyway so I am pleased. Happy Patrick once again!

My trek for 8 days including all food, accommodation, guide & porter, plus the bus from Kathmandu to Pokhara cost $500 total. I booked it through Panda Treks which is based in Kathmandu. Here is their website: pandatreks.com. I can’t recommend them highly enough if you want to book something similar. The guy also sorted out my Chinese visa for me with no troubles at all as I had been having some issues. Top quality service!

I meet a Belgian dude on the bus on the way to Pokhara where I will start my trek. I spend New Year’s Eve with him and a bunch of his friends and basically just got drunk and partied. You know, the usual. I could have been anywhere to be honest! Haha. It was a fun night! The next day I start my trek to Annapurna Base Camp. Oh and btw, this is lake Pokhara:

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I could tell you all about the trek. But instead I will show you a video! I edited this in one day after I got back to Kathmandu as I had a few days to kill before I head on to CHINA (more on that in future posts!). Enjoy!

One thing that wasn’t included in the video was the fact that I saw an avalanche! Does anyone remember when I promised in my first ever post that I would tell you what happens when you are up a mountain and someone shouts “AVALANCHE” at the top of their voice? No probably not because no-one probably read it! Well I was at around 3700m or something, had just reached my guesthouse for the night and had sat down for some food, when all of a sudden a guy shouts avalanche. The first thought is “oh God, what the hell is it coming my way!?!?”, and then when you realise it is far away there is a scramble for cameras and photographers seem to pop up from everywhere all of a sudden. The rumble was crazy loud and you could actually feel the vibrations. Here is a photo I took of it. It’s not the best quality as it was taken on my phone in a rush!

Avalanche Annapurna One

Another thing that wasn’t included in the video was the fact that after the first day of trekking (which was pretty much the equivalent of climbing stairs for about 7 hours!), I was ill again. I was confined to my bed, shivering uncontrollably and feeling nauseous, unable to leave my sleeping bag. I didn’t eat that night, but the next day I was feeling substantially better and so the trek continued without any further mishaps. Very strange though, that same illness has happened to me a few times in Asia. Maybe it was sunstroke? Hmmmm, not sure. Has anyone ever had anything similar? Maybe I should consult a doctor on this one…!

That’s not really the best note to end on is it? Ok so I will give you one last story from Nepal to leave you with a more positive note… I got my second tattoo here at a place in Kathmandu. Is that a positive thing? Who knows!? Here are a couple of photos of me getting inked.

Kathmandu Nepal_Tattoo_01Kathmandu Nepal_Tattoo_02

“Argh, the paaaaiiiinnnn!!”….naaa, it wasn’t that bad. It’s only a small tattoo after all.

Here are some more photos from my trek to Annapurna Base Camp:

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I took so many epic photos on this trek, the scenery was really stunning. Plus lots of GoPro/GoPole selfies in there for y’all. The first sunrise photo was taken at a place called Australian camp which has an amazing view of the sunrise in the morning. You can also see that in the video. The old woman with the donkeys is one of my favourite photos. I saw old ladies carrying huge weights on their heads, really don’t know how they do it. A kid wrestling with a goat. Or maybe I should say a kid wrestling with a kid!? That was pretty funny to watch. Selfies at base camp. Selfies with randoms in the background, bridges, mountains and valleys! Love the prayer flags at night photo too. I met a Chinese guy on my trek up and that night I taught him how to take photos of the stars. He was amazed at how he was able to get some fantastic nighttime photographs…all it takes is a little bit of knowledge! Plus there’s me in black about to bum a cow. Oh and a really strange spider type thing…?! I am assuming that it is not a 7 legged creature, but instead an 8 legged creature with one leg missing. It’s a disabled spider! Poor thing.

And that just about concludes today’s blog post. I wish you all the best and if you enjoyed this then why not sign up to my newsletter!? Yes, I have one of those now! Crazy ain’t it! God knows what I’m gonna put in it hahaha. Jokes. It’s amazing! Sign up now either below or through the navigation bar on the right. Go on! Give it a try! You can unsubscribe if you think it’s shit. Which it won’t be. The end.

Patrick out… (Maybe I should start the next post with ‘Patrick in…’?)