the Nepal wrap up

So ends our Nepalese adventure, (holiday from India?), and while we only saw a small part of Nepal, I feel as though we got a good taste of what it has to offer.  We spent half our time hiking in the mountains, half of it riding Betsy to Muktinath and back, and the other three quarters just hanging out in Pokhara.

taken by SherpaG from his car as he drove away

taken by SherpaG from his car as he drove away

There we made friends with the staff at our three favourite restaurants, chatted to Dilli (the world’s greatest hotel manager), and generally took the piss out of DaveG, henceforth to be known as SherpaG, (more on that later, bear with me, this is a long one…)

On entering Nepal it was incredible how quickly the vibe changed as we crossed the border.  We left a frantic, staring, honking, dusty India, and even just at the Immigration booth, the simple act of being loaned a pen and casually asked where we’d come from and where we were going, then welcomed to Nepal… it was so refreshing.  You don’t remember you’ve missed somethings until they come back to you.

We arrived in Pokhara a day earlier than intended to find our planned hotel full, so we went next door to Hotel Stay Well where we were greeted by Dilli.  Dilli is a rare human being in the hotel industry, who actually cares more about making friends with people, than making money out of them.

He personally came with me to the petrol station to make sure I didn’t have to line up for fuel, he found me an extra jerry can, and then took me to the other side of town to find oil for Betsy.  He came out on a 2hr drive to welcome Sal and I back from the ABC trek, and was standing at the end with a can of cold beer in each outstretched hand!  He found SherpaG a motorbike to join Sal and I on the ride to Muktinath, he organised meat from the markets for a couple of BBQ’s we had in the hotel garden, and even put on a cake and candles for SherpaG’s birthday!  Quite amazing.

Sal inspects the prosecco we drank on SherpaG's birthday

Sal inspects (and opens) the prosecco we drank on SherpaG’s birthday

We were really sad that he had to go to Kathmandu for the last few days we were in Pokhara, but even then, he managed to intercept SherpaG when he arrived there in transit, and took him out for Momo’s and beers.

If anyone reading this ever goes to Pokhara, Stay Well hotel is the place to be.

Aside from Dilli, there was Suriya, who worked at the restaurant next door to Stay Well.  Suriya got our attention when he recommended to Sal that she should not have a glass of wine because the bottle had been open a few days, and the next day he suggested we might want some more milk for our coffee because it was all gone.  These might seem like simple things to you, but by Nepali standards, Suriya is a god amongst men.

We made friends immediately, and we all seemed to revel in the monotonous routine we quickly settled on.

Morning: Poached eggs for breakfast with plain toast, fried eggs for SherpaG.  One pot of black coffee, milk on the side. Salt and pepper, and Tabasco for Sally.  A second pot of coffee.  The bill please.

Lunch: Dahl with rice for Sally, Spaghetti Bolognaise with extra chilli for me, Carbonara for SherpaG and a plate of communal momo’s.  One beer, very cold, three glasses.  A second beer, and often a third.  The bill please.

Dinner:  Same as lunch, but with Red wine instead of beer.  If they were out of red wine, or the wine they had was too old, we were free to bring our own in.

For Sherp’s birthday, we even managed to organise a tray with the following ingredients…

3 shots of vodka

2 shots of kahlua

An ice bucket

A cocktail shaker

A bucket of ice

3 Martini Glasses

While that was being organised I ran down the road and got three espresso’s from a hole in the wall coffee place.

Any guesses??


Suriya videos the Espresso martini moment!

Suriya videos the Espresso martini moment!

Suriya was actually pumped that we were making cocktails in his restaurant, and took a video of the whole process!!

“This is like your home, anything you want, you can have here” with a big grin J

Then there was the old Tibetan lady running a little chinese restaurant where we would go either for a breakfast of…

Poached eggs with plain toast, fried eggs for SherpaG.  One pot of black coffee, milk on the side. Salt and pepper, and Tabasco for Sally.  A second pot of coffee.  The bill please.

Or Lunch of… Moms for Sally, a veggie Burger with added fried egg for me, same for SherpaG (hold the mayo!) and a plate of communal momo’s. One beer, very cold, three glasses.  A second beer, and often a third.  The bill please.

And finally, courtesy of SherpaG, there was breakfast at The Harbor hotel.  The most expensive place in town, where the bill was 4x Suriya’s, but the coffee actually tasted like coffee, so what the hell.  We made a few friends there too, one in particular who took a real shine to SherpaG, and actually looked sad when just Sal and I went in early to organise a cake for his birthday breakfast!  You’ve still got it Sherp’s!

birthday cocktails at teh Harbor restaurant

birthday cocktails at the Harbor restaurant

It’s ironic that one of the greatest things about travel is breaking out of our routines, and yet we settle so quickly into little new ones, and actually find comfort in them!

In this crazy travel life, sometimes for weeks on end, we sleep in a different bed every night – in a different city!  We spend hours looking for places to stay, places to eat, or to find somewhere to sit and relax for ten minutes – every day, every minute – everything is new.  No road is repeated, no town becomes old, and we revel in the challenge, we look forward to the next big push into the unknown and the thrill of a future unplanned…

In that crazy world, sometimes spending a week in the same city, with an old friend for company, visiting the same three restaurants for days in a row, waking up at the same time, eating the same food and finding the same smiling familiar faces, well… it felt a little like home and was actually really nice.

Anyway, enough of the soppy shit.  It’s making me homesick.

So we climbed to the Annapurna base camp in record time and we rode Betsy up to Muktinath and back.  We made some lovely friends, ate bbq, bought souvenirs, hung shit on SherpaG at every possible opportunity and then said goodbye to all and sundry and hit the road again.

Sally and I model some traditional Nepalese hats for SherpaG

Sally and I model some traditional Nepalese hats for SherpaG

Dave had been our parts mule into Nepal, bringing over some bits and pieces for Betsy (and hair care product for Sally!), and on the way home we utilised his expert carrying skills once more to ferry some items out of this corner of the world, and into a world where the postage system can be relied upon to actually work.  Hence the new moniker SherpaG.

(By the way Sherp’s, that hash is inside the bell we packed.  Feel free to smoke it now you’re safely home :))

Leaving Pokhara we weren’t really in a hurry to get to India (you don’t say!?), so we stopped in a small town in the afternoon and went for a leisurely walk around town, enjoying the last of the quiet, the relative cleanliness, and the lack of staring men that Nepal has to offer.

The following morning at 4am, I was woken by a soft knocking at the door… it was so soft we thought it was another room, but eventually I went to the door to find the owner mumbling something about bike…

“bike bike… you outside”

“Oh I see, I need to move my bike outside, now?! It’s 4am! WTF?”

“yes out out, bike out…” and he disappeared down the stairs.

I got dressed and grabbed the keys.  Downstairs I understood that another guest needed to exit, and Betsy was in the way.

Insert strong smell of petrol. Continue.

I unlock the steering and gingerly push her backwards over the door frame, and downhill into the night.  The other guest rides out after me and the owner starts talking again…

“Leave here, no problem, I watch, no problem”

Noting that his bike has remained safely inside, I pretend not to understand, and push Betsy back up the ramp through the door.

He’s a little miffed, but takes it well.  I point to the clock and ask

“When out?”



It’s around then that the smell of petrol has finally registered in my barely functioning brain and i point my headlamp to the floor to find a small pool of fuel.  It’s coming from the fuel tank…

“that’s strange, there aren’t any fittings on that part of the tank that can leak…”  hmmm

Now I’m really awake.  I pop the seat and get the tool pouch, then remove the side cover to get a better look.  The owner is genuinely interested and hangs out watching me work, oooing and aaahing from time to time.

Cover removed, i grab a rag and clean the fresh fuel, then watch horrified as a new trickle of fuel comes out the bare side of the tank.  There’s a crack in the tank, about 10cm long, quite close the the bottom, and it’s dripping petrol.

yes that's a crack in the petrol tank... quite an important part of the motorcycle!

yes that’s a crack in the petrol tank… quite an important part of the motorcycle!

(As much as I hate to swear in this forum, sometimes it’s necessary to convey the correct emotion).


That’s a custom tank, made in Australia, and we’re in the middle of nowhere in Nepal.


I get the kitchen scraps bucket and put it under the dripping tank, this makes the hotel owner happy.

Then we both return to bed. (so much for “I watch, no problem hey!)

Under these circumstances it’s impossible to sleep, so I’m still awake at 6am and head out to remove Betsy from the foyer, then start firing off messages to Paul back home to work out how the hell I’m going to replace that tank.

It turns out he has two of them sitting at home, (of course!), so it’s just going to be expensive, and logistically hard but not impossible.  In the meantime I check my spares to confirm I still have some 2 part epoxy, which might slow the leak for a while.  OK we can eat now.

We eat a breakfast of dahl rice and eggs, Sal skypes her parents for Easter and then we set out, petrol still dripping from the tank.

As the day warms up, and the fuel level drops, the leak slows down, and eventually seems to stop altogether.  I put a stick in the tank to check the level and it’s still well above the crack.  Very strange, but I’ll take it.  No leak is better than leak!

We pull up early in the day at a national park, eat some lunch and then decide to spend the night there.  This gives me the afternoon to remove the tank, drain the remaining fuel, apply several layers of epoxy and then put it all back together minus the fuel.

The following morning I refill with fuel and we hold our breath for the first few minutes while it doesn’t leak.  So far so good.

We set off, eventually arriving at the border around lunch time, epoxy holding on, and the grim feeling that takes hold when things go wrong is starting to ease… except that we’re going back to India again.


Safely parked after a long day…


We were both a little unsettled leaving Pokhara today, after all we’re headed back towards India… Shit.

The road down to the border is long and bumpy, but all the fuel stations were open so the fuel crisis was one less thing to worry about.

We stopped 60km out to dump the extra fuel we’d packed into the tank, it was almost perfect timing as 95% of it went in, so I hailed the next passing bike to donate the remainder.  He looked very confused, initially thinking I wanted his fuel 🙂

“I have very little petrol sorry”

It took some serious acting to explain…

“My tank is already full” via mime, and
“This little bit of fuel won’t fit” mime, and
“Please open your fuel cap” mime, and
“This is a gift” mime.

But the penny finally dropped and the 100ml of fuel made the guys day. Good deed done, we continued.

At the border we turned right and now plan to follow it for about 2 or three days and enter India as far west as possible.

That plan doesn’t include any fixed stops, so this afternoon we pulled up in a tiny town called Shitsville.

Shitsville has 3 hotels, all with beds made of stone and mosquito hatcheries in each room. Lovely.

One of said hotels has ‘off-street parking’ for Betsy…

“We have a winner!”

The owners looked anxious as I drove Betsy through the door of the hotel and parked at the foot of the stairs, but I managed not to break or scratch anything and now we’re upstairs in the hatchery, which Sal bombed with fly spray earlier, total mosquito genocide.

Tomorrow we’ve decided to stop at a national park called Bardia NP.  More later xoxo

Leaving pokhara

Dave has left 😔 we are all packed up with some extra fuel tied to the bike and starting out trip back to India… The furthest border crossing possible 😉

Feeling a little anxious and overwhelmed  with what we have ahead of us after our little holiday of relaxing, fun and cocktails… Oh well… Back to work 😬

The ABC trek

Its a little bit out of whack but I wanted to post some photos of the trek we did to the Annapurna Base Camp.

Day one!

Day one!

It was a great experience and we saw some amazing scenery. This trek was recommended to us by Casper who we met whilst travelling through Laos and to be honest if it wasnt for him we probably would have rode straight through the area in our usual fashion.  Trekking is such a big part of coming to Nepal and it would have been such a shame to miss this. Here are some of the hundreds of photos we took!!

One of the many swing bridges

One of the many swing bridges

Beautiful donkeys along the way!

Beautiful donkeys along the way!

Woodlands and a rare rest!

Woodlands and a rare rest!

Starting to get cold!!

Starting to get cold!!

Feet starting to get wet!

Feet starting to get wet!

DSCN0299 (Large)


Getting close!

Getting close!

Happy times!!

Happy times!!

We were pretty happy at this stage!

We were pretty happy at this stage!

Ready to go back down!

Ready to go back down!

Another quick rest for the old man...

Another quick rest for the old man…

Things start to warm up so costume chnges need to happen

Things start to warm up so costume chnges need to happen

Another swing bridge on our last day!!

Another swing bridge on our last day!!

Back in Pokhara

After a few days riding up to Muktinath we’re back in Pokhara.

The scenery from Jomsom to Muktinath will remain a highlight of our time in Nepal, I haven’t seen such huge expansive mountain views since the Andes.

Stunning baron landscape

Stunning barren landscape

The riding was rocky and bumpy, but not very difficult, which was a bit of a relief after the accounts we’d heard from other travellers and a bike shop here, that actually warned us against going up there.

Having said that, I managed to fall over once in some deep sand, no damage done but Sal was covered in dust from head to toe, hence the funny pic 🙂

Angry Sally

Angry sandy Sally

We took it relatively easy, usually stopping mid afternoon, which meant some long afternoons/evenings sitting on a rooftop soaking up the remaining sun or around an open fire in the restaurant talking about the ride or the spectacular views from the day.

Posing in the mountains

Posing in the mountains

Dave hired a Chinese 250cc trail bike, which while better than the alternative (an Enfield), was no match for Betsy on the rocky jeep track, it’s been a while since we did any off-road riding, but the way we could just eat up the rocks,  undulations and river crossings was pretty cool, Betsy just takes the hits and motors along happily, while poor Dave (and Sally!) was having the crap beaten out of him.



Snow capped mountains

Snow capped mountains


It was hard going and there were very sore bottoms and tired arms from holding on (Sally!) but it was so worth it! A big thank you to Jane for recommending this trip to us even though there were times I was hating her!

Dave is leaving tomorrow so that means we are back on the bike and heading back to India…! No more nice breakfasts in fancys places or endless cocktails in different bars… back to an occasional beer and dahl… and no doubt at lot of horns…!

Days 6 and 7 ABC

What goes up must come down, and in this case it came down with very sore knees and the desire to eat something other than Dahl and rice.

We did another couple of longish days to return to Pokhara, first retracing our path to Chomrong, then a new track back to Nayapul.

Arriving in Nayapul, our new friend, (hotel manager), Dilli, came to meet us with his driver, armed with cold beer and a big smile, it was a very nice welcome!!

Then back in Pokhara it was great to see DaveG again, and Dilli put on an amazing BBQ for us that evening.

More pics soon but suffice to say that the walk (hike?) was an experience we won’t forget in a hurry.

Eventually it took us 7 days to do the extended loop, walking from 8am to 4pm every day, mostly up or down steep  rocky paths, including a day above the snowline.

As is often the case, it was both satisfying and humbling. We made it to the ABC, but I’m left in awe of the people working or living up there, who carry 5 x what we did, every day from bottom to top, working fields with oxen, or kids riding to school 2hrs on a donkey, or carting firewood through the mountains on their backs.

Next adventure… On the bike to Muktinath.

Waiting for DaveG

As predicted last night, we’re all ready to leave but waiting for Dave to get organised.
He woke up this morning and realized he only has a 15 day visa, which expires in 2 days… There’s always something!
Dave’s at immigration now, hopefully we can get going soon!


Yesterday with some help from Dilli, (the hotel manager who knows everything and everyone) we found Dave a bike to hire, and this morning Dili found us 25lt of fuel to start with, now we just need Dave…

Day 5 ABC


After a long cold night we ate a staple breakfast of plain rice, Dahl and boiled eggs (also relatively cheap).
We learned last night that today we’d be in 10cm of snow all the way to ABC, this was concerning as we’re both in sneakers… Not ideal.

To avoid wet feet and frostbite, we developed the genius plan to use our stuff sacks (compression sacks) over our socks inside our shoes, and tied at the ankle.

Looking rather unprofessional amidst the other serious North Face trekkers we headed out into the frosty morning looking like two lost tourists who somehow stumbled into the area. (8am start Paul!!).

It was supposed to be 6hrs hiking to ABC, and despite the snow, ice and mud, we hacked it out in 4 gruelling hours.

Stunning mountain scenery, snow covered mountains and fast running snow melt streams took our minds off the stuff sack failure and the thin air, so it was actually an enjoyable “walk”.

Arriving at the top we took some pics before the mid day clouds closed us in, and ate a lunch of… Rice, Dahl and boiled eggs (every Lodge here has an identical menu set by local government, except the prices which follow the altitude).

It was a great feeling reaching the top, and just as good to leave as were finally going downhill… in the slippery muddy melting snow.

” have you guys been to the top already?”
“Yep, we even stopped for lunch” 🙂
“Is she wearing slippers? They look like dancing shoes” commented another guy on  the trail.
“She’s a moving advert for Skechers” I cheekily replied.

We luckily avoided falling over on the ice, which turned to mud then sludge, so no. 1 priority at the lodge in the afternoon was drying our shoes…

“Are they your trekking shoes?” Asked a sherpa… He was actually laughing at us!

Now we’re tucked into bed in all our clothes, sleep sheets, sleeping bags and three blankets. It’s freezing.

Tomorrow we hope to have a dry day and a hot shower!

Day 4 ABC

The guys in Pokhara told us it would take 9 days minimum to do the circuit we’d chosen, but we forgot that we only have enough money for about 7 or 8 days… There are no ATM’s up here, so we’re having to double time it.

Today we hiked from Cuilia to Himalayan camp, rated as ten hours walking plus breaks, but we made it in 6 and a half total. Pretty tired now!!

The two places to stay up here are both really tight, they charge extra to sit near the heater (it’s freezing inside, snowing outside), extra for a shower, extra to charge your phone and extra for WiFi that doesn’t work…

So as a result of our rather tight budget were going to bed dirty, cold, and this post will be uploaded some other day.

The walk has been really great though. Amazing high mountains in the distance and all the trees are flowering, stunning.

Tomorrow we reach the Annapurna base camp at 4100m, take a picture and get the hell out of there before the temp drops in the afternoon.

I’m carrying a very sore knee so wish me luck keeping up with Sal, she just doesn’t stop… 🙁