Thursday, 25 February 2016

Random Jottings Asia 2016 - Plane Crash, Nepal, February 2016

Another Plane Crash in Nepal.

Sadly the Jomsom plane has crashed. Its a daily flight from Pokhara to the Himalayan town, popular as a starting point for various treks in the Annapurna region. Every morning that familiar drone of the DeHaviland Twin Otter plane resonates across Pokhara usually around 7.15 climbing up towards Jomsom. Today's flight however was late and the weather for flying was questionable too! Here are my observations from the ground in Pokhara.

8 am: The weather is overcast, misty with poor horizontal visibility and although with the near hills outlined, the far hills are completely obscured. The top of Sarangkot is only just visible.

9 am: A significant deterioration in the weather with darker skies moving towards Sarangkot from the Jomsom area.

9.30 am: Most of Sarangkot is obscured in heavy dark clouds with the cloud base continually lowering towards Pokhara.

10 am: News is emerging of a plane crash about halfway between Pokhara and Jomsom.   A few spots of rain begin to fall.

1115 am: Steady rain is falling across Pokhara which is now enveloped with clouds and almost nil visibility.

1 pm: The first stretcher bearing helicopter heads towards the crash area as the weather clears.

The above image was taken from the top of Sarangkot a few days ago  and gives a good representation of the area and its terrain looking towards Jomsom. The aircraft flies parallel to the Annapurna mountains before making a right turn towards Jomsom with flight routing between mountains. This kind of operation is extremely hazardous in reduced forward visibility with little room for maneuver between the mountains.

According to the local press a top level investigation has been launched into the circumstances of the crash in which all 23 occupants of the plane perished.

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Random Jottings Asia 2016 - This life in Nepal February 2016

A Hermit from Nepal

Plenty of these guys wandering the streets, smiling and nodding whilst mumbling a polite"Namaste". regaled in brightly coloured robes and other various garments presumably designed so that one can spot them from a distance enabling some time to dig out the wallet and pullout some cash in ruddiness of their inevitable visit to the lunch table. Described as hermits, perhaps even a modern day nomad except these guys are solitary people leading a spiritual life away from the complexities of a society riddled with inequalities. Or so we, the average Joe are are lead to believe! Loosely based on some Hindu malarkey i think were supposed to kind of feel sorry for them thus make a contribution to their cost of living. Being pretty skeptical about these ploys to gain financial rewards for nowt in return i have no hesitation in waving them on their journey to the next table. On this day however I lacked my usual discreet manner - I was spotted taking a snap of this old timer and thus the scene was set for a daily lunchtime visit. For the record, I paid 5 rupees for the above privileged photo! - This life in Nepal.

Fish on the Street

Nepalis are on their own and its qutie often a fight for survival. With practically no social security for most they are forced to eek a living any way they can, and often in the most deprived circumstances. The definition of hygiene in Nepal isn't the same that many of us in developed nations recognize and to the uneducated - no definition whatsoever! They spit profusely, routinely drop garbage and open air urination is quite a frequent occurrence. Since there is a distinct lack of honesty, integrity and tractability its a good idea to avoid consuming meat and fish products in Nepal. The image above shows a local fish seller slicing up her fish into salable portions, on the pavement, where locals are spitting nearby, where animals and men have urinated and where flies are happy to grab a feed - this life in Nepal.

Child's Play

Remember when we used to play outdoors for hours on end, well, its like that here in Nepal  The kids are out on the street for and hour or so before school and again after school. No play station, no Xbox, no MacDonald's and no getting fat! From traditional games like football, cricket and British Bulldog to makeshift rope and tyre swings visitors to Nepal will see youngsters at play everywhere. Very popular here is to kick around a bundle of elastic bands tied into a ball and the latest craze is skateboarding - all the boys want a skateboard! In this image kids are playing with little wooden spinning tops, skillfully picking them up again with those little pieces of string - this life in Nepal.

Sweet Talking Jewelry Seller,  Neisha

An innocent flutter of the eyes and some sweet talk as she displays here array of jewelry has netted this local about £2500. Scams are common place across Asia but particularly prevalent across the Indian sun-continent and Nepal usually involving some kind of personal contact. This is Neisha, age unknown and with a story revolving around her sick father needing blankets. Expensive blankets as she netted around £2500  in January from a New Zealander and a Chinese tourist - both single men of course. The Police caught up with her recently after a complaint of dishonesty was filed by Mr. Leon, the Chinese tourist. Perhaps gullibility come to mind and an attitude of fair game from the plod as Niesha is now back on her beat, chatting to tourists. Not an elaborate scam by any means but a timely reminder not to fall for even a pretty girl with a sad story - this life in Nepal.

Monday, 22 February 2016

Random Jottings Asia 2016 - Mountain Sunrise, Nepal February 2016

A Golden Glow....

I'm not usually one for very early mornings like this, well, not on holiday anyway. Its a necessary hardship if one is to catch the early morning sun with that golden glow against the Himalayas. A stomp in the dark down to Fishtail Lodge, the grandest and priciest tourist dwellings in all Nepal, The views from here are not panoramic as they are at Sarangkot but its the next best alternative if one isn't feeling inclined to rough it overnight or take that arduous hike up in the middle of the night!

So here are a few of the photos of the Himalayan mountains at dawn, and some of the sights around Fishtail Lodge.

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Random Jottings Asia 2016 - Sarangkot, Going Down.

Down, down, down,

Easily the worst meal since arriving in Nepal - Spinach with grit, plain rice all topped with some kind of very bland lentil soup. The tea was nice though and so was the organic costa - lot - coffee, reduced from 100 rupees to 60, and if I want to stay the night, 300 rupees.

Sadly those pesky clouds are forming, time to head back down, hopefully an easier journey than coming up!

Yes, altogether a more pleasant experience, working with gravity rather than against it and so lets now enjoy more Himalayan scenery.