|6. January 2000 - 2056|
|After mountainbiking around the
forests surrounding Pokhara for hours and seeing only gum
trees and jungle plants, Rupert almost gave up hope. But
then he found it, standing all alone was the tree he was
looking for. He took a branch and brought it
home......our christmas tree. At last it felt like
Christmas, without the snow, lebkuchen or gluhwein
stands, but at least a christmas tree.
The 25th came and the christkind and Santa Claus did find us and brought Yannik amongst other things a bright red tricycle! So after we'd celebrated Christmas in Pokhara, we left for Kathmandu to bring in the new millenium. We thought as there were so many tourists in Nepal, mostly in Kathmandu there would be something happening......
Crowds of people wandered through the brightly lit streets of Thamel (the tourist centre of Kathmandu) whilst Nepalese men wearing painted wooden masks danced their way in and out of the crowds. Then everyone moved aside as a band came marching past playing very strange instrumens and making an equally strange sound.
With two Dutch friends, Elsbeth and Eduard, we watched all this happening from the window seats of an Italian restaurant. As another set of dancers jumped their way past like frogs, followed by a different band playing the same music, we thought....wow.....it's only 8pm and alreafy there's so much happening.
What's it going to be like at midnight.
We would find out soon enough, but first we saw what the rest of the world was doing on our hotels T.V. After seeing the millions of people in the worlds capitals we were quite happy to be in less crowded Kathmandu.....or so we thought.......Then at 11pm we went back out onto the streets.
What had happened to all the colourful lights?
Maybe it was a power cut?
And where had all the food and drink stands gone?
Maybe they'd all sold out?
But wait a minute, where are all the people?
Maybe our camel watch is wrong?
No it was really 11pm but all that was left of the crowds of people, dancers, bands and excitement were a few drunken Nepalis singing drunken Nepali songs. Although what they were celebrating we didn't know, they're already in year 2056!
In less than 1 hour our new millenium would begin and Kathmandu had the feeling of a city the morning after. A new plan was needed so we shared a bottle of wine with our Dutch friends and said hello to the new millenium in very different surroundings to the rest of the world. Sitting in a Lucky Luke camper van!
Already it seems so long ago as so much has happened since. We drove to Nargarkot, a small village near Kathmandu, famous for it's view of Everest. With perfect weather we did see Everest and also 7 of the worlds highest mountains.
Afterwards we left for the Royal Chitwan National Park where we encountered a wild rhino as we walked through the jungle (don't panic Mum, we had a guide!) In the afternoon we took the easy option and toured the jungle by elephant. On tour we saw another 7 rhinos, only metres away as the elephants can walk closer with no danger. It was an amazing feeling seeing the wild rhinos so close uo.
But after 3 hours of being shaken about on a wooden seat on top of an elephant we were also experiencing other feeling like ones of pain. Will we be able to sit down again?
Now we've left the elephants, rhinos and Everest and we're on our way through India once more. But we've taken many memories of Nepal with us. One memory which will stay with us was the confused look on our hotel receptionists face as he watched T.V. and saw people dancing for the first sunrise of the new millenium....on an island near New Zealand??? But he said in a puzzled voice, we have the first sunrise in the world because we have the highest mountain - The Everest!