I write to you from
Upon arrival in
The next morning made the evening festivities seem tame. As soon as I stepped outside my hotel, I was confronted by an enormous mob of Thais waiting to nail the tall white guy (and boy did they ever!). For 3 days I was terrorized every time I stepped outside. I learned every back ally and walked through people's homes to avoid the chaos. I never made it out of
My friend Steve arrived as the chaos was abating and the next day,
It was midnight when we deplaned and there were few lights to help us see our way. As we stepped outside of the airport, 20 people surrounded each of us, yelling about their taxi, hotel, or god knows what else they wanted from us. Steve and I could hardly speak to each other over the roar of their pleas. Thinking I was being smart, I approached the only car that actually appeared to be a taxi and asked to be taken to Thamel (the backpacker ghetto). As we got into the taxi, one of the same people who badgered us ealier got into the front passenger seat. "Uh oh" we thought.
As the taxi (well, ok, it obviously wasn't a taxi) crawled through the streets, Steve and I were shocked by the remoteness of our surroundings. We crawled around pot-holes and dilapidated houses. There was no highway, or any signs of civilization in sight. The only light that guided us came from the headlights of the car. We grew somewhat worried.
Several minutes later (or was it an eternity?), the passenger started telling us about his wonderful hotel. So that's the scam we realized. Not too bad. When we arrived at the hotel, it seemed to be in the middle of nowhere. This can't be Thamel I thought! We saw some other travelers in the hallway and asked if we were in Thamel. Apparently, we had arrived.
In the end, we paid $3 each for the taxi and bed and everything turned out quite well. The next morning (today), we awakened to dogs barking and decided to go for a walk. We stepped out of the hotel and were careful to avoid the chickens and goat that walked by our feet. What a strange sensation! As we passed the bricklayers, running children and insane tuk tuk drivers, we began to feel at ease and understand the charm that is
Tomorrow, we take a bus out to the trail head of the Annapurna Circuit. I am not sure which towns along the way have power, let alone internet access. Assuming all goes well tomorrow, we expect to finish the trek between May 5 - 15 (or longer), depending on how many side-trips we do. If we find a connection along the way, you can count on hearing from me.
Otherwise, I will bid you farewell until I return. Nothing excites me more than the prospect of 3-4 weeks in the
Take care and may Buddha bring you luck.