Friday, November 26, 2010

Coonoor to Kathmandu, 4-9 November 2010

We had our driver Prabhu drive us to Mettapalayam to catch the train to Chennai, where we connected with a train to Delhi.
Since we left on Divali Eve, the streets of Mettapalayam were packed with people doing last-minute shopping.

Many people were shopping at sweets shops.

We had booked first class seats, and maybe because it was the holiday, we had a whole compartment to ourselves.  Sweet!

When we connected with the train for Delhi, we were again expecting to share our first-class cabin with other people.  But  no!  We had the whole compartment to ourselves!  So sweet.  Here's the very good tea they served us right away.

Gopal was in heaven because of the free newspapers brought to him.

Since I was a little gun-shy about train food, I was thrilled when good pongal, sambar, and vada were served.
 Here are some shots of India en route to Delhi (during daylight).

Pickpocket wanted posters at a train station.

Our train car (special paint job was probably in honor of the Commonwealth Games that took place in Delhi in October).

Train platform at Vijayawada Junction.

We arrived at Delhi train station, and almost got lost everything looks so different.  For the Commonwealth Games, they fixed all the streets and sidewalks.  It transformed the city. 
Gopal, Harsh, Suman, and Raju.  Suman is Raju's sister; Harsh is her 7-year-old.

Krishna's cousin Ashish brought his new baby over.  Here, his wife is helping in the kitchen.

Monday, the 8th, off to the airport for our flight to Kathmandu.

The Himalayas from the plane.

Approaching Kathmandu, which has really sprawled

Tilak's house
Empty lot next door (I'll show you this lot later in the pictures).

Tea with Paresh at Tilak's

Solar water heating system, common in Nepal.

Nandani, Puja, Durmilla, Tilak (I'm waiting for the names of the two ladies on the right).  The gal on the far right is studying environmental law.
That evening we went into Thamel, the shopping area for westerners, where a mandala had been created at an intersection.

Oil lamps were lit all around it as the sun went down.

Nandani and Tilak at a khukuri shop he used to own.  Khukuri knives are part of Nepal's identity.

Shopping for pashmina shawls
Buying North Face hiking shoes.

Early the morning of the 9th, we left Kathmandu for a tour of Nepal.

Here are Paresh's brother Siddhu and Gopal wearing masks to protect themselves from the Kathmandu pollution.

We had a mediocre lunch at this place which was closed, but she was kind enough to through something together for us.

We arrived at Chitwan as the sun was going down.

Here we are having dinner together.

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