Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Happy new year!
Hey so i was talking to a friend this weekend who expressed that I kind of just left him at a huge cliffhanger w/ how my trip was going so i'm going to have to apologize to everyone! i've integrated back into Canadian life quite rapidly and am currently back in uni and studying/rock climbing quite frequently.

Currently I have been looking at the photos/video that I have taken when I was there, and I'm going to try and get my uncle's photos and try and edit a video w/ all the video/photos i've taken.

So ill leave you with another cliff hanger but also with a photo that i really like
It's of a Nepali cat at the beginning of the trek, in the jungle.

Sunday, November 7, 2010



Havn't really been feeling like posting a blog post lately, buttt I'm at a fast internet connection with a half decent keyboard so here I go.
At Varanasi we stayed at a nice guest house which was call Monu family guest house. It was rather small, with no hot water, but was clean and with no mosquitoes so I didn't complain. This is also where we met a lovely Spanish woman named Maria who toured with us during our stay in Varanasi.

The town is fairly interesting because it is along the river ganges, which is very important/ holy river to the Hindu people. Hindy people come here from all over India to die and have their bodies cremated and their ashes put into the river. People wash their clothes, bath and even drink this water. This is fairly unsanitary on two levels, 1. being that there are ashes from people in there, and 2. towns downstream from the city put raw sewage directly into the water.

Since there are so many Hindu tourists it was interesting to see how Indian people deal with the beggars. The beggars were the most intense we've seen on our trip so far, but with multiple no's and walking away, they are easily dealt with.
Every single night they hold a ceremony where they put on a religious show (I don't know what it is called or why they do it), but many people show up. Probably about 150-200 Indians and tourists alike.

Since the city doesn't have much to offer in terms of excitement ( no alcohol is sold near the banks of the river), so we did a lot of time just relaxing, which was very very nice. During one day we made a day trip to some small Buddhist ruins which are in Saranath. Which was quite amazing. They had a giant stoopa, and small remains of monasteries, that apparently held 1500 monks. This was a very serene place, and would have been great to spend some time there and just relax/think, but we had a bunch of other things to see.

Although Varanasi doesn't have too much to offer in terms of excitement , it's very holy nature, beautiful scenery, along with some good company it made a wonderful stay.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Mmm curry

Here in Varanasi it's quite busy like the rest of India. Surprisingly I've gotten used to it, although when i first got here I was pretty much like " :O holy sh*t". There are auto rickshaws everywhere, and the driving is similar to Nepal, but at higher speeds so it can be quite nerve racking at times.

At first following our driver to our hotel, I though I'd never figure out these streets, but I seem to have gotten used to it and am managing quite well. I should probably clarify that they really arn't streets, but more so of alley ways, narrow may be 10ft wide. This can be quite nerve racking because motorcycles, scooters, and cows all utilize these streets. Since the cow is holy to hindu's there are many cows everywhere. It's nearly impossible to find out who owns them, but no one seems to bother them (except for maybe the frequent obnoxious horn from a motorcycle) We are staying at a small but cozy hotel called the Monu family guest house, which is quite nice.

I have run out of time tho and i will try and finish this post before i leave Varanasi, so it's fresh in my mind

much love
- Jacques

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Durbar Madness

Here is a basic Summary of what I have been up to this past week (i'll specifically make a section about my birthday) and I'll try and post photos that I was referring to from other blog posts.
One of the first trips we took here in Kathmandu was a day trip, guided by, well our guide book. It started maybe 2km from where we are staying. It was very interesting because you get to see the street culture here in Kathmandu, but also many religious shrines,temples and monastaries. It's really amazing how many religious monuments there are here, it seems like you can't walk 100m without seeing a stoopa or a shrine.
And i don't think you walk another 1000m without seeing 10+ people praying to some sort of monument ( this mainly applies to Hindu shrines because it is the celebration of Dashain)

One large obstacle that you have to avoid is the Sahdu's walking around, trying to plant Tikkas on you, then charging you obscene amounts of money for it.
I got tikka'd and had to pay 300 ruppese ( ~4 cdn dollars)Although I was slightly embarrassed that I had gotten tikka'd i figured it wasn't that bad. Instead of wiping it off I wore it for the rest of the day, kind of laughing about it.

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I don't know how this little guy got here, but apparently this Buddhist temple has a pet turtle.
I really probably should know what they are putting on this shrine, but I'm under the impression that it's colored rice.
This is one of the amazing Durbar squares here in Patan ( pretty much in Kathmandu, but officially different). There are many Durbar squares ( three that I have seen), they were once main trading locations in the cities, and where Kings would make announcements and would be crowned. Today there is many shops, stands and people selling things, but is mostly a tourist attraction with a entrance fee.
Here in the Patan Durbar square there are many beautiful statues.

I have jokingly called our stay here in Kathmandu " Quest to document all Durbar squares" because it seems like every single day Mike and I have been going out to see another Dur bar square.
This Durbar square is located in Kathmandu. Very central location, near Thamel and Freak Street.
Although the Patan Durbar square is considered to be a better model of what a Durbar square is supposed to be like, I though the one in Kathmandu had more of the Nepali hustle and bustle feel.
Although the Nepali king no longer rules (He was removed in 2006), many reminders of his reign remain all over Kathmandu. From his face on much of the money to this king-throne-super-chair.
This is the most recent Durbar square I have seen, we went to see it today. I really should remember the name of it, but I don't :S. Everything starts to blend together after a while lol and if I wasn't doing such a mega post I'd probably look in my guide book, anyway. This Durbar square apparently was one of the nicest but was damaged greatly during an earthquake.
I thought this stone work was quite amazing. There are many buildings that have stone statues, but also made of stone themselves.
It's hard to imagine how much energy and man hours have been put into these old buildings, shrines, temples and monasteries. They seem to come in never ending numbers and each one more impressive than the last.

I doubt anybody will read this far, but I'm going to just keep going haha.

Birthday :)

I'd like to start off by thanking everyone that wished me happy birthday :). It's a nice reminder that I have a good life in Winnipeg with many friends, and loving family :)

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I started off the day with the standard bland croissant, and a small work out. Then we went to a holy river where Hindu people are cremated, right in the open along the river, then there ashes are pushed into the river. This is apprently a very polluted river, but you still see Nepali people bathign just down stream. Now i seen about 4-5 people being burned, and it was quite morbid and interesting. I didn't take out any photos out of respect, but my uncle did so you can just ask me if you want to see ( i know everyone will be asking me :p)
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In this photo you can see the man in the center carrying the hay that they put over top of the corpse and in the background you can see the smoke from the bodies. My uncle was walking into an area that was just covered in smoke, which I refused to go to because I knew that there was corpse in that smoke. He assured me that it was just like BBQ and I called him a sick puppy.
To make him seem like a little bit less of sicko the smoke isn't pure human body, but wood on below the body ( thick pieces of lumbar) then the body wrapped in an orange clothe, then some hay ontop.

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After that I was pleased to see some stairs, as it reminded me of my trek ( -.- ). At the top there were a few temples.

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Monkeys seemed to enjoy this area. It was quite enjoyable to watch them run around and play.

After we left this holy Hindu area we went to a Buddhist holy place. This was the location of the largest stoopa here in Nepal.
It's quite interesting switching from the Hindo temple to a Buddhist place, the energies are completly different. Since the Dashain festival is going on, the Hindu Areas are very busy and high energy, which is very interesting to sit back and watch, and hard to deal with when your trying to find your way through. The Buddhist stoopa on the other hand had a very strong energy as well, but a peaceful, relaxing, calm one.

Although I didn't really have a traditional, or exciting birthday, I had a very enjoyable one. Relaxing with my uncle seeing these sites is actually very rewarding, although it seems like everyday is the same, I look forward to seeing everything. I often forget when I am traveling how special everything is, and don't usually remember until I get home. I'm trying to take everything in, and appreciate the uniqueness in everything.

21 yo. Have i wasted the best years of my life, or are they yet to come?
Guess i'll have to see :)))

Much love
- Jacques
p.s sorry for the lack of detailed information, it's a alot to remember. With the amount that i uploaded it's hard to get alot of info in, especially in the amount of time I Have.

Here are the photos that really should be attached to older posts. ( I figure people are more likely to see them if I attach them here.)

Picture of the landslide that forced us to walk part of the road and transfer to a different bus, on the way down from Mukinath ( just after we had finished the trek)

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As a result of the landslide this many people had to wait for buses to come and pick them, it really slowed our descent.
On our ride to Pokhara sheep regularly blocked the road, often creating some pretty nasty traffic jams.

The next city we would stay in would be Pokhara ( Regrettably i never took very many pictures because I was quite tired) but here is one I took of the lakeside, which our hotel was located near.

As being deprived from meat for about 12 days ( harsh amirite? haha jk I'm a wimp.) Sorry animal rights activists, but it was unbelievably good!

While we were in Pokhara, the Hindu festival of dashain had begun. The traffic was a little bit crazier than usual with a high influx of people coming to their home towns. So of course we decided to go on a bike ride on these crazy streets! We rode our bikes to this temple where many people celebrating the festival. Suprisingly people were very friendly, instead of shunning us tourists they were planting tikkas on our head and trying to encourage us to dance! It was really fun.