The Au-Chews go climb a mountainPosted: August 25, 2013
So sometime last year, we (read: Jet) decided to go Nepal for a trek. yes just like that we decided to do it. Our friend Jenny who was also keen to go, told us it would be fun.. FUN! we just needed to train a little bit before we went (read: go climb bt timah hill or walk from bt timah to and back every week for the months leading to the trip –____-). So on 27th April 2013, after about 6 months of “training”, it was time to fly to the land of the yaks and mountains.
The trip started with us flying into Kathmandu in the early afternoon. First impression: OMG it’s so hot!!.. And dusty too! Met Jenny’s friend, Tenzeng (who was also the owner of the treking company we had booked with) outside the airport and he brought us to check into the guest house. We stayed at International Guest House and it was super nice and clean!
While waiting for the hotel porter to bring up our bags, we realised we forgot to do one important thing. WE DIDNT HAVE ANY LOCAL CURRENCY ON US. We ended up giving him 5 usd as a tip –_____-. Lesson one of the day: always change money first!!
We had some R&R time before meeting TZ and our guide in the evening so we quickly went out to change money (HA!) and do some shopping at the touristy district Thamel. The shopping expedition did not start off too well as we were harassed by a local when we were at the money changers. He wanted a “commission” for “bringing” us to a money changer even though we walked in to the outlet ourselves. Jet told him to bugger off but he continued to follow us. At this time, Jenny showed her dark side and gave him a stern warning, telling him that if he kept it up we were going to go back to the money changer and demand a refund. He left us alone after that. Lesson two of the day: never piss off Jenny, esp when she’s on holiday!
We wandered into a bookshop cause Jen and Jenny both wanted to get postcards. Jenny was sending two back to her friend so I decided to do the same.. sent one the Mom since her’s was the only address I could remember. haha.
We continued walking along the touristy shopping district as Jenny and Jet were also looking for some trekking pants. After going to a few shops, it dawned on me that the two of them did not know the exchange rate even though they had just changed money earlier on. So basically they were going around asking how much this and that were without any clue how much the shop keepers wanted to charge them. -_________-. And when they attempted to calculate the rate, they both got it wrong cause according to them, the shop keepers were selling a pair of pants for 680 sgd.
Luckily the shop keeper realized what they were doing and told us he would help us check the papers for the rate. At the same time, I decided to calculate the rate myself and realised the rate was 1sgd to 68 rup.. Jet’s calculation was the opposite.. And he works in a bank! Then it dawned in us how cheap things were. One “genuine” North Face pants was about 20sgd. I also found a shop that had dresses in lovely prints like Desigual.. Guess who went mad in there. Lesson three of the day: calculate the bloody exchange rate before going shopping. SIGH you’d think this was our first time travelling anywhere ever.. SERIOUSLY.
Then it was back to the hotel to wash up and meet our guide, Lama and TZ. Guide is very young and good looking! asked Jet if I could do a one for one exchange. Cause he was also clearly as cute and young like the guide. He wasn’t too impressed with my idea.
Lama had a climbing competition at the Astrek Climbing Wall before dinner so we went along to cheer him on. The climbing wall is housed at the Belgium Consulate and there’s even a cafe there as well. OMG those people are mad crazy. The way they went up the wall, you think they had all been bitten by a radioactive spider or something. The climbing community also had a very island life / carefree feel to them. It felt like I was back the dive shops in Tioman.. Then it was time for dinner!!
Dinner was fantastic! We had a traditional Nepali meal Dhal bhat (which literally means rice and lentil / bean curry) but with all the bells and whistles. it even came with a cultural performance during dinner. Dinner started with an appetizer sample set consisting of a really spicy chicken dish, millet rice, mo mos (dumpings), pickles and nuts.
the dhal bhat consisted of Aloo Gobi, chicken curry, wild boar, spinach.and of course rice with dhal! It was really yummy. And I think I liked the wild boar the most.. Wild boar fat is damn nice..mmm. They also had is drink a shot of raksi which is some potent liquor that tastes like vodka and sake. that is supposed to keep you warm in a cold night. We also had some local beer which made Jenny and Jet very happy. HAHHA