Saturday, 19 April 2008


Well we’re back from our adventure. We had an amazing and very tiring time trekking. We were away from Kathmandu for about 12 days in total. Kathmandu to Pokhara is an 8 hour bus journey, depending on how long it takes to get in and out of Kathmandu (we queued for 3 hours to get across one junction when getting back), although it’s probably only about 100 miles. So we spent the first day of our holiday sat on a bus.

Pokhara itself is a large town with a very touristy bit known as lakeside, unsurprisingly by the lake. It’s quite nice, as it’s much quieter and more relaxed than Kathmandu. We were able to chill out here for a day and a half before starting our trek, during which time we bumped into a large number of teachers and pupils from our school who had all escaped at the first opportunity.

Our trek involved a nine day walk, 5 and a half up and 3 and a half back down. Although separating the up and down so distinctly was certainly not our experience. We quickly learnt that going downhill in Nepal always involves some uphill, and vice versa. However after 5 days of mostly uphill walking, the seven of us who were aiming for Annapurna Base Camp (ABC), our 3 porters and our Nepali guide, Sam, arose at 5am to trek the last 400 metre accent to ABC.

Once we arrived at ABC the views were absolutely stunning. We’d all spent the preceding 5 days taking more and more photos as we grew closer to the mountains and the views improved, but they were all outdone by the pictures we were able to take that morning at ABC. The photo at the top is of our group there.

ABC is in a glacial valley and is surrounded by the peaks that make up the Annapurna range, including Machupucure, which is commonly known as Fish Tail (no prizes for guessing why). Even at 4,100 metres we were still only just half way up the tallest mountain, Annapurna One, which at 8,075 metres is the tenth highest peak in the world.

As we were returning back down-ish the mountain we started to hear news of the election. It had occurred on day 4 of our trek but as we were beyond the highest permanently inhabited town by that point we saw absolutely nothing. It had gone relatively peacefully and smoothly. The news that surprised us most was the initial results were suggesting a big victory for the Maoists. This is being confirmed as more and more results come in and it looks like when the final results are counted they could have a decent majority. If you’d like to know more about the election and what the results entail for the country check out the BBC’s very good coverage on their South Asia section.

So we’ve made it back alive, fitter than when we left and only half eaten by bugs and leeches! We survived despite avalanches (thankfully all at a safe distance) and the potential of falling of cliff edges (no mean feat, as any who know our respective sense of balances will appreciate) and altitude sickness (nobody in our group showed any significant signs although we did see a number of people being carried back down). Now it’s back to school on Monday.

back to school on Monday.body in our group showed any significant signs although we did see a number of people being carried bDan & Becky AKA Experienced Trekkers.

Dans Photos

Beckys Photos

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Please take a seat

I hope you are prepared for a shock as any of you who have ever sat next to us in church will appreciate this next piece of news is quite surprising. This Thursday morning the school is hosting its Inter-House Music Festival and both Becky and Dan are singing in it. We’re part of our houses (Go Black House!) set song. Basically all the pupils and some volunteer teachers in the house have to perform a set song and we turned up at the first rehearsal not really sure what was going on and expecting to supervise and were given the words. Before we could stop it, it had run out of control and we were officially part of the Black House Choir. Dan’s really enjoyed and even been practising at home, to Becky’s annoyance. Hopefully we won’t offend too many people’s ears on Thursday.

Friday is the last day of term in school and we have a two week break before the last term of the year. We’re taking this opportunity, along with a number of the other teaching staff to head up to Pokhara, the main tourist town outside of Kathmandu. Becky’s been there before, 4 years ago, but for Dan this will be the first time out of Kathmandu valley and we’re both glad of the chance to get out of the city, the valley and into the mountains. We’re going to do an 8 day trek with the aim of reaching Annapurna base camp. The Annapurna range includes some of the highest mountains in Nepal (although not Everest) and the trek should involve taking in some good views. How much of a rest it will provide us with before our first full term at school is as yet undecided.

While we’re away Nepal shall be hosting its first General Election for a number of years. They’ve had an interim government for a few years now, since power was handed back from the king and next Thursday (10th) the country has its chance to elect a new government. The build up has been quite uncertain and for a long time many people were unsure if the elections would definitely go ahead, however with only just over a week to go now it looks certain they will. There is obviously concern as to how they will go and how people will take the results. Please remember the country over the next few weeks. We shall be well out of the way, half way up the mountain when the elections happen so you won’t hear from us for at least the next 2 weeks.

The photo at the top is off a poster explaining the procedure for voting in the elections. It’s supposed to be clear even for the illiterate, but we couldn’t quite work it out either. We’ve added a load more photos to face book the link is below.

Dan & Becky

Dans Photos