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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

WELCOME TO 2069!

QUOTE TO GET US STARTED

"To travel hopefully is better than to arrive." - Robert Lewis Stevens. [I agree with this unless you are say freezing to death and heading toward one of those hiker cabins in the mountains.]



HAPPY NEW YEAR, BITCHES

Nepal has four different new years. The one that took place on April 12th puts the year at 2069. I am now living in the far future according to the Star Trek timeline. Unfortunately, that means the horrible 'Enterprise' crap is still upcoming. Long wait till we get to the good stuff.

In Nepal, the natives celebrate by getting drunk and or high then having gang fights. I had no idea about this but oddly I was out after dark. I got in pretty quick because I had a bad feeling about being out and about. I'm glad to see that my 'street sense' or 'sixth sense' is still working.

With so many new years every year, fear of entering a wormhole runs high.



BEWARE THE CHINESE

In speaking with Nepali, it seems that the Chinese are working on ecomically taking over Nepal. There are several Chinese owned hotels and businesses springing up everywhere. The Chinese wanted to turn Thamel (the tourist district) into a Chinatown. Although this was initially blocked by the businessmen of Nepal, the Chinese are still working on doing it. They are paying double for many businesses just to snake them out from Nepal control.

I'm really quite neutral on the business and political aspects of this. Bluntly, it's not my country. If the corrupt Nepal government wants to allow this, the old saying that people have the kind of government they want and deserve comes to mind. I can't help but wonder for the tourist who come to Nepal - welcome to Chinatown! Not really sure that's why they came to Nepal instead of...well...China...

It seems that there are a lot of Chinese tourists that come here. Instead of wanting to eat Nepali food and such, they prefer Chinese food. And hotels. It will be like they never left home.

But they do come in large packs.



BIT O BUDDHISM

Monks are called 'rim-bo-chey'. People buy scarves for them called 'katas'. These are long scarves, cheaply made. These are given to the monks as a sign of respect (?) when the important gift - an envelope with money in it - is given. I'd asked what the monks do with all of these katas. I was thinking they probably accumulated quite a few but it turns out they are 'recycled'. The amount of money given is interesting. One hundred NRS is not considered a good gift but one hundred and five NRS is. They don't like to end the amount with a zero. I'd pressed them on why but the people I was talking to had difficulty explaining it. It seems to be that ending the number with a zero is an 'empty' number or some such. Very interesting stuff. Although there is no upper limit to the donation, even small amounts (25 NRS) are appreciated.

I had been thinking about getting the kata and an envelope for the money (yes) but then I saw the line and decided against it. This is also something a lot of tourists like to do.



RAFTING

I discussed rafting with a very cool guy at "Adventure Aves Nepal". He felt that it is better to try a one day rafting excursion before signing up for the longer (up to four day) ones. This sounds like good advice. I'm thinking after Matt gets here and murders a couple prostitutes we'll try the one day rafting. If we both enjoy it we can always sign up for a longer one if desired.

Some people would say "But you can white water raft in your home country - why go to Nepal?"

There are a couple reasons for this. First, what Nepal has most going for it is scenery. River travel should hopefully give us some good glimpses. Second, it would cost a lot more to have three guys in two different rafts with us. Even if there are just the two of us, they send out all of that. Good luck finding that for $45 per person per day in the USA. Including transport there, back and meals. Third, it should give Matt something to talk about at work. "Oh, I was rafting in Nepal." Not a normal thing, thus good. "Oh, I went to Nepal to watch TV" would be kind of pathetic. Oh - wait...



TASTES

According to Jason P., Logan has "simple yet unpredictable tastes."

It's an apt summary.



RESTAURANT REVIEWS


Everest Steak House

Warning - there are a lot of places named 'Everest' something or other - be sure to find the exact name.

Once I find out about something, my mind keeps going back to it. If left untended for too long, it gets annoying. Obsessive. Since my mind works like a wheel, it keeps coming back to the same thing until it's resolved.

So I had to go to the Everest Steak House.

Decent seating. Smoking upstairs, non- downstairs. Fine, I can live with that.

When the waiter (minimal English) saw me writing in my notebook, he went to have another word with the kitchen staff while they were preparing my meal. I don't know what sort of alterations - if any were done. He did have a fairly horrified look on his face like he'd seen me making a note "After eating, murder staff." I'd have enjoyed having a translation of that conversation.

You get a lot of meat. It is good quality though the cooking isn't very skilled. I'd asked for medium rare but got 'rare' in the middle. Heck, maybe I just don't know how to order steak. I fully accept that is a possibility. That's a bit upmarket eating compared to my usual.

Prices for all of this can be found in the prices section, below.


Lotus Restaurant

Located on the second floor. The sign for it is not where the entrance is.

The food is cheap (under 200 NRS) and pretty decent though I'd avoid any meat but chicken as they cater for the Nepali taste which gives the consistency of meat flavored gum rather than 'tender'.



TRAVELER'S TIPS

When asking a native for something 'cheap', specify your price range. In poor countries, the natives have a very skewed view of what tourists consider 'cheap'. This is because some tourists think nothing of dropping $50 USD on a meal.



STATISTICS

For those interested, here are some statistics on Logan's Voyage blog.

For all time readers, the top ten countries in order of readership:

United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, New Zealand, Australia, Czech Republic, Ukraine, Georgia and Romania.

So, if your country appeared on that list, you can feel a vague feeling of national pride. Or, national shame - depending on how you look at the blog.



FROM FACEBOOK

Thanks to Adam B for bringing this to our attention. Note that once you allow it to track your physical location, you get some very interesting results. If you don't, it doesn't seem to work worth a crap. Not sure why.


America was founded by people not seeking to escape religious persecution but people who wanted to move here so they could persecute others. Worth remembering and it is obvious that influence is in some of the sex laws which are still on the books.



FROM STAND UP COMEDY

Quote from Frankie Boyle: "I like storms. I like lightning. What I like to do during a storm is to f*ck my girlfriend and pretend that we're taking part in the conception of the Anti-Christ... Oh, she hates that joke... Especially since we had the baby."



PRICES

Everest Steak House, Kathmandu: Average meal of steak (why else go there?) 650-900 NRS. Beers at a hefty 300-400 NRS. Deserts are around 200 NRS. The fries (chips for you English) are pretty good.

Prostitutes - initial asking price reportedly 5000 NRS. This can be beaten down. Failing that, beaten off.

Small shop rental - reportedly 10,000 NRS/month.

Kata, 80 NRS.

Getting literally anywhere in Kathmandu by taxi, 200 NRS or less. If you are paying more than that, you suck at bargaining.

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PICTURES

{{2011}} London, GB | Rail N Sail | Amsterdam, Netherlands | Prague, Czech Republic | Budapest, Hungary | Sarajevo, Bosnia | Romania | Chisinau, Moldova | Ukraine: Odessa - Sevastopol | Crossed Black Sea by ship | Georgia: Batumi - Tbilisi - Telavi - Sighnaghi - Chabukiani | Turkey: Kars - Lost City of Ani - Goreme - Istanbul | Jordan: Amman - Wadi Rum | Israel | Egypt: Neweiba - Luxor - Karnak - Cairo | Thailand: Bangkok - Pattaya - Chaing Mai - Chaing Rei | Laos: Luang Prabang - Pakse | Cambodia: Phnom Penh | Vietnam: Vung Tau - Saigon aka Ho Chi Minh City

{{2012}} Cambodia: Kampot - Sihanoukville - Siem Reap - Angkor Wat | Thailand: Bangkok | India: Rishikesh - Ajmer - Pushkar - Bundi - Udaipur - Jodhpur - Jasalmer - Bikaner - Jaipur - Agra - Varanasi | Nepal: Kathmandu - Chitwan - Pokhara - Bhaktapur - (Rafting) - Dharan | India: Darjeeling - Calcutta Panaji | Thailand: Bangkok - again - Krabi Town | Malaysia, Malaka | Indonesia: Dumas - Bukittinggi - Kuta - Ubud - 'Full Throttle' - Gili Islands - Senggigi | Cambodia: Siem Reap | Thailand: Trat | Turkey: Istanbul | Georgia: Tbilisi

{{2013}} Latvia: Riga | Germany: Berlin | Spain: Malaga - Grenada | Morocco: Marrakech - Essauira - Casablanca - Chefchawen - Fes | Germany: Frankfurt | Logan's Home Invasion USA: Virginia - Michigan - Indiana - Illinois - Illinois - Colorado | Guatemala: Antigua - San Pedro | Honduras: Copan Ruinas - Utila | Nicaragua: Granada | Colombia: Cartagena | Ecuador: Otavalo - Quito - Banos - Samari (a spa outside of Banos) - Puyo - Mera

{{2014}} Peru: Lima - Nasca - Cusco | Dominican Republic | Ukraine: Odessa | Bulgaria: Varna - Plovdiv | Macedonia: Skopje - Bitola - Ohrid - Struga | Albania: Berat - Sarande | Greece: Athens | Italy: Naples - Pompeii - Salerno | Tunisia: Hammamet 1

{{2015}} Hammamet 2 | South Africa: Johnnesburg | Thailand: Hua Hin - Hat Yai | Malaysia: Georgetown | Thailand: Krabi Town | Indonesia:
Sabang Island | Bulgaria: Plovdiv | Romania: Ploiesti - Targu Mures | Poland: Warsaw | Czech Republic: Prague | Germany: Munich | Netherlands: Groningen | England: Slough | Thailand: Ayutthaya - Khon Kaen - Vang Vieng | Cambodia: Siem Reap

{{2016}} Thailand: Kanchanaburi - Chumphon | Malaysia: Ipoh - Kuala Lumpur - Kuching - Miri | Ukraine: Kiev | Romania: Targu Mures - Barsov | Morocco: Tetouan | Portugal: Faro

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