Saturday, 18 April 2009


As the title of this report may indicate, it's the bike who got wings and not me. We didn't fly up the hills, of which there were plenty - but we did fly downhill! From Kathmandu Leana and I cycled N-West through Nepal as far as Pokhara. This was my 50th birthday (see photo of "high fifty") - what a way to spend it! On that day we cycled up the gruelling 8 km climb to the historic hilltop village of Bandipur - off the main road (photo of village / photo of me in red shirt looking down to where we climbed up from / photo of Leana with Himalaya in background upon leaving the village). Pokhara is the second largest Nepali City (and also very touristy), just below the Anapurna Himalaya. One morning I cycled up the very steep road to the hilltop viewpoint of Sarankot (to get there at dawn) and found there was no view at all - hazy and cloudy in the direction of the mountains. From Pokhara Leana took a bus back to Kathmandu (she'd already cycled part of the route on her way into Nepal), while I spent 3 days returning to Kathmandu and staying over in some interesting places. Now for the real "Saartjie Gets Wings" story:- We flew from Kathmandu to Bangkok (Thailand) yesterday. (I didn't want to travel by air, and I hate to admit it, but it seemed inevitable - at least it's the first time so far). Cycling from Nepal to China via Tibet was not possible, and the few other options were discarded in favour of the one we chose. I am thankful to Leana for sponsoring my air ticket to Bankok (I certainly don't have that kind of money). My aim was to reverse the route from here through Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, China, and then Tibet back to Nepal - apparently easier that way around. I'm not sure what the plan is right now, as it is very hot and humid, and Leana seems set on the beaches of the South. On arrival in Bankok I was immediately semi-disorrientated as the place is large and a rather organised city (compared to where we've been recently). We landed at the ultra-modern brand new gigantic airport, where everything (immigration, baggage collection - including bikes - went extremely smoothly). Now Leana and I are staying in the tourist region of Bangkok (Banglamphu), where the action doesn't seem to stop (eating, drinking, and everything else you may have heard about this city). Distances cycled since first arriving in Kathmandu have been:- Mugling 115 km; Bandipur 34 km; Pokhara 80 km; Sarankot 26 km; Mugling 98 km; Galchin 63 km; Kathmandu 52 km; and Airport 26 km (someone clever is going to tell me that the airport is much closer than that - this distance also includes the airport recce of the previous day). Total distance cycled since leaving Cape Town on 27 March 2007 - 38645km.

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