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My LJ is my kick-it spot

Posted on 05.August.2030 at 22:59
[mood| Jubilant]
[music| Don't Stop Believin' - Glee Cast]

This journal is my kick-it spot.

Some posts will be open to the public especially if I'm sharing stuff like mixtapes, graphics and such. After which, they become locked posts.

I'm not adverse to letting you read things about my life. If you want to be my friend, just leave a comment on how you found me. I like making friends. Srsly. :)

You can also find me in these places:

LOL DeviantArt


cow tongue

Moving around Kathmandu

Posted on 29.November.2013 at 22:00
[mood| Sick]
[music| Ellie Goulding]

I'll never forget my first impression of Kathmandu: it looks like Baguio. You can't deny though that as you take a closer look around, the differences come into stark relief. There's a lot of infrastructure that still needs to be developed in the city. I'm not quite sure how old the main roads are, but they look fairly new (give our take sometime within the past decade?). Some of the other roads we encountered were not maintained (just like in Manila) and they can be very narrow, which I think comfortably fits one car. The road going to Nagarkot was actually a bit scary since we were driving up while it was dark and I didn't see a lot of guard rails.

We booked an airport transfer with our hotel because we weren't sure how to get to our destination since it's not in central Kathmandu. We also couldn't have arrived at a worst time. It was election day and the government imposed a transportation ban throughout the city. A lot of our fellow passengers who didn't book with a major hotel was stuck in the airport until 5pm, the end of the ban. We saw some people who hired a cart so they can pile their baggage there and walk to Thamel.

The next day, our tour guide suggested that we go to Changu Narayan first then come back to Bhaktapur so we can have a leisurely walk around. Our hotel arranged for a cab to take us there. I'm not sure how it would be with other hotels, but I think most of them can arrange for a cab for you to take you places. If you're adventurous, you can take the bus to most places. Just remember that their version of a bus is a coaster so it's small and there's no airconditioning. Same goes for cabs. Since Kathmandu is situated in a valley, the air gets trapped and does not go in and out of the area that much. It can be downright smoggy so best to have a hanky or scarf that you can put over your nose especially in traffic.

There's also no MRT or train system. Most people in Kathmandu have motorcycles or small cars. A lot of people also take the bus, taxi, and van (like our jeeps) to get around.

When we figured out our itinerary for the rest of our stay, we also knew we weren't brave enough to try their public transport system. We decided to make an arrangement with our cab driver so he can take us around for the duration of our stay. It proved to be a useful and made for a cheaper arrangement. We didn't experience the hassle of figuring out what mode to take since he would just bring us to where we wanted to go and wait for us until we were done. Granted, taking cabs is more expensive but if you're going with a group, you can split the cost. We also made sure that we gave some lunch money to our driver since we monopolized his time for 4 days. I personally think it's safer too if you're traveling alone.

Our chariot of fire and our cabbie, Rajkumar, patiently waiting while we took photos at a vantage point in Nagarkot.

I don't think cabs there have meters so before you get in one, tell the driver where you want to go and haggle for a price.

There's no such thing as traffic rules in Kathmandu. Everyone drives on the left side of the road. And while drivers follow the red light is stop and green light is go rule, it's more of a guideline especially in narrow roads. Everybody honks their horns too, just like in Manila. But if you think that motorcycles, buses, cabs, and jeeps drive you crazy here, you will actually think that they are quite tame compared to the drivers we've seen there. They're fuckin' fearless. There's also traffic! There were quite a few times when we got caught in horrible traffic jams and we got back to the hotel quite late.

I'm not versed on other means of transportation if you plan to go outside of Kathmandu. I know there's a bus that goes to Pokhara and if you plan to trek to Everest Base Camp, you'll have to buy a plane ticket to get to Lukla since there's no other way. There are tour groups that arrange everything for you like Trekt Himalaya (a personal favorite because the co-owner, Sandra, provided a lot of info about Nepal), but do your research.

If you have a bit more money, you can even arrange a morning flight to view the Himalayas. I would have totally done this if I didn't care about a budget.

So that's that for transportation. We had such a great time with our cab driver despite the language barrier that Bryan and Rajkumar (our cabbie!), bonded over Newari music haha! He even posed with us for photos before we left the country.

cow tongue

Peacock Guest House

Posted on 25.November.2013 at 19:07
Tags: , ,
[mood| Thoughtful]
[music| Yula's grumblings]

We didn't realize how lucky we were in booking our hotel. As we went around Kathmandu and saw some of the other hotels in their locations, we became aware of the fact that our little square in Bhaktapur, made us feel like we were living in a quaint Nepalese village.

Our host, Arun, showing us a nearby temple in Dattatreya Square

The building where our hotel is located is 700 years old. That's older than your mom, Intramuros, or the American Declaration of Independence. It's got 8 rooms along with a wood shop and bakery that are managed by our gracious hosts, Arun and Indra. It's located in the historic Dattatreya Square where the original royal palace used to be located. It was from our hotel that we were able to witness two rituals, one had to do with the goddesses and the other a male right of passage thing. It was pretty exciting because other than going to museums in Kuala Lumpur, we didn't see any shows or rituals.

Our room was fairly big with the exception of the doors which are small so you need to duck or you'll hit your head. The room overlooked the side street which is one of the roads that lead to Durbar Square. At dawn, the street starts to come alive with worshipers going to the temples to pray, make an offering, and ring the bell. This is guaranteed to wake you up. The vendors start to bring out their wares with meditation music playing in the background, and the smell of incense starts to permeate the rooms. It's a pretty nice way to wake up.

Yula in our very messy room.

The bathroom was small and bathing was an experience in itself. The water was freezing. I remember brushing my teeth and getting a brain freeze from the chilly water. Luckily, there is some hot water when you let the faucet run for a while. There were times when the water was only marginally warm and you really had to make do with that. I noticed that the really hot water was at night, right after the 3 hour blackout so I took advantage of that. Our beds are comfortable enough and I was really glad for the thick comforters that each bed had. Still, I had to wear some thick sweat pants and socks to keep warm.

I honestly thought that we would have a problem with the electrical outlets there but we were able to run most of our gadgets with our own plugs. We had more trouble in Malaysia where the outlets required you to have the UK square pin plug. When traveling abroad, best to buy the universal adaptors which you can find in hardware stores.

Power isn't consistent in Bhaktapur, and as mentioned above, has a 2-3 hour blackout which happens around 6 in the evening. We read that it's better to bring a small flashlight, just in case, but most establishments have small generators to power up their lights and TVs. We couldn't even tell there was a blackout. Our hotel had consistent wifi which was awesome because we had to add baggage allowance for Yula and do our web check-ins to make our trip home easier.

As for cost, Peacock Guest House charged us $35/night at the height of the tourist season. That includes breakfast that consists of toast, eggs, fried potatoes, juju dhau, and your choice of coffee or tea. Their bakery has Illy coffee so it was good for the coffee drinkers of our group, but I opted to drink masala since it was recommended by most of the blogs I've read. There is also a R1,100 entrance fee to Bhaktapur that is good for 7 days. It's a good thing the hotel accepts credit cards because we all ran out of rupees.

If you need help going around, Arun and Indra can be very helpful in planning your itinerary. They can also arrange for a taxi service when you want to go out. Just make sure to remind them of your plans so they know in advance and can plan for you. I recommend that you make an arrangement with your cab driver to ferry you from one place to the other for the duration of your trip. This is cheaper and easier. Just make sure that you give a tip to your cab driver. If you find yourself at a loss on having to nail down your arrangements, just ask Arun for help. He was very instrumental in helping us with our itinerary.

Overall, when I go back to Nepal (it's a when, not an IF!), I would definitely go back and stay there again.

Link to hotel: Peacock Guest House.


Stuck in Kathmandu

Posted on 21.November.2013 at 12:50
Tags: ,
[mood| Jubilant]
[music| Traditional Nepalese music]

We were already flying for 3 hours from Kuala Lumpur when the captain addressed the plane and said that we were approaching the Himalayan mountains which we could see from the right side of the plane. Yula and I were lucky to be seated on the right side after the flight attendant told us we could move seats.

After a while, he pointed to Mount Everest on the right. You could not have missed it from the air. It stood tall and proud, the object of many passenger's camera phones. You could feel the excitement building in the cabin. Everyone was excited to land in Nepal. Some of the passengers were first time flyers and the flight attendants were already getting pissed at them because they weren't following safety instructions. We were accompanied by other tourists who, I think, were going on to treks in the Annapurna and Everest areas.

We could not have arrived at a worst time in Nepal history. We arrived on election day when everything in the country stood at a standstill. No taxis, no open shops, no cafes. Most of the passengers were stuck in the airport since their transports were not allowed on the road. We learned earlier from our hotel that there was a transport ban put in place until 5pm that day. Our own airport pick up was only able to get us at 7pm that night.

We started talking about contingency plans in case we had to spend the night in central Kathmandu. A very nice man, from the only open travel shop in the airport, was kind enough to allow us to use his landline to call the hotel to verify the pick up time. The worst scenario we discussed was having to spend the night in Thamel at the height of the tourist season. Not good. Thamel was a good distance away from the airport and we had a ton of baggage with us. The only operating vehicles that day were from the 5-star hotels in the city.

I heard from some very gossipy Americans that Jimmy Carter was in the country to observe the elections.

While waiting, we were finally able to appreciate the cold temperatures of Nepal. Forget what you read in the weather forecasts. Temperatures here vary during the day and suddenly drops as the sun starts to set. The airport is nicely situated with a view of the ice-capped mountains so we were treated to a nice sunset.

We finally got to the hotel around 8 in the evening. We were so hungry at that point we asked for some food first before we checked in. Arun, the co-owner of the hotel, told us that we were lucky to have missed the bombs going off in the city.

Aimee, Bryan, Yula, and I were so tired that we immediately went to sleep, wrapped up in layers of clothes and blankets.



Posted on 29.April.2010 at 12:35
Current Location: Philippines
Woooooooot! Lj app for iPhone. Comment if you see this plzzzzzzz.

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