I'm sitting in my favorite Mexican restaurant in the Thamel, waiting for my chicken and bean burrito, when a young lady sits opposite me. She looks vaguely familiar, but I can't immediately place her. "Hi Grum. How's the trip going?" I must have looked stunned, because she continued..."I'm Mel. My parents run the Kakapo Lodge in Hanmer Springs. I did one of your first aid courses a while back, and am guiding here in Nepal. Mum told me you were in Kathmandu and to look out for you." Wow. Small world.
I spent a few hours at the Pakistan Embassy this morning. It looks as if I'm going to get my visa. Problem is, if they had given it to me this morning, it would have run out before I got to the India Pakistan border. I've got three weeks of trekking and four weeks of cycling to do before then. The other problem is, they are talking giving me a extended "transit" visa....two weeks. 1200km in Pakistan, on the Karakorum Highway.....In two weeks....might be a bit much for this old boy. A work in progress......
Weighed myself today. When I left Hanmer I tipped the scales at 83kg.... Today, after eleven months
biking, and just over a week of Belinda's cooking, I weighed in at 66kg. Hmmmm. More cake, bread and Mexican food required me thinks.
Friday, and I'm in the Indian Embassy. I submitted my application seven days ago. Today I submit my passport. I pick it up Monday.......such is Indian bureaucracy. Good news is I've got a two month visa for India. Bad news is, it starts today, the 17th April, even though I don't get my passport until Monday 20th. Makes things a bit tight. Ju and Pricey leave on 17th May. Tessa and I will leave Kathmandu on the 18th May, which gives me 28 days to cycle to Pakistan border. Might be some big days cycling.
Skyped Ju this morning. We are both very excited that she will be here Monday night. As I was skyping, Chris, the magician who built my trailer rang. The new pod is ready. Woohoo. Ju was just gone to pick it up. Great effort Chris from Works Metal Fabrication. Really appreciate your massive efforts to get Version II ready for Juliet's flight.
Ju also had new stickers from CanTeen, Bivouac Outdoors, Ems Power Bar Cookies, and was expecting some from Prostate Cancer Awareness Foundation. Thanks everyone for answering the
"help". She also has a parcel.....not to be opened....from the Lollie Pot in Hanmer Springs, and some new bottles of Squirt Lube. Wow, so many gifts.....and its not even my birthday.
And Ju is meeting our Samsung man at Auckland Airport on Sunday night to take delivery on a replacement Samsung Note. Woohoo.
Belinda and I went and did the tourist thing yesterday. We got a taxi down to Patan, the old city. Fascinating. I don't know why, but Nepal just fascinates me so much more than any other Asian country. I feel very comfortable here. A wonderful country, lovely people.
And that's why I was trying to convince the young couple from England that I met at the Indian Embassy this morning, that they should trek into Everest. There are so many places to trek here, but the Everest region has to be the plum in the pudding. Hope they do go. They've got limited time in Nepal, and were struggling to choose. My argument. ...are you coming back? Unlikely.....then aim for the best....you never know if you'll get another chance..... (A message to all.......)