Ok, I’m the first to admit it. I’ve been super spoiled. I’ve traveled everywhere and there’s not a day that I don’t reminisce and recognize how lucky I am. Here are some of the most amazing places I’ve visited:
My mom’s one of the only people I know who makes best friends with waiters and busboys. She became especially close with a busboy named Kharma Sherpa, who was from Nepal, and is, indeed, a Sherpa.
Actually Sherpa is a tribe in Nepal and Tibet, and it’s a pretty common last name. Since Sherpas live at the base of Mt. Everest they are used to the altitude. They became famous for helping the early European explorers trek that big rock.
As a whole, they are really friendly people who love to help whenever they can. Unfortunately Kharma was deported, but my mom promised she would visit within 2 years. My dad didn’t feel like taking the long flight, so when my mom asked if I wanted to go instead, I said hell yeah.
On our second day in Kathmandu we headed to a tiny airport and boarded a 20 person plane. We took an hour long flight around Mt. Everest and the Himalayan range. The beauty was almost too much to handle – I cried the entire time. I got to go in the cockpit as we flew around the peak. It was amazing to think that we were flying at an altitude of 25,000 feet and yet there were people who were still 4,000 feet above us!
In my opinion we spent too long in Kathmandu. It’s a crazy, loud, congested, city. The drivers are horrific, and you need to be vigilant at all times. It’s definitely worth seeing, but I wouldn’t spend more than 2 days there. All your senses are in over-drive. I would suggest spending a week in Times Square to prepare. And bring lots of Advil!
Next up Kharma drove us to Chimoio, Nepal’s jungle. The road there was crazy, and later on I watched a program called The World’s Most Dangerous Roads, in which they showcased this road. It was a windy path that would be considered a one way street in America, but there was two way traffic as well as mopeds weaving in and out. We drove past two separate, over-turned buses. Half-way through traffic, stalled. My mom and I got out and walked ahead to see the cause. There was a head on collision of two buses. No emergency vehicles could get through. Some people volunteered to help the startled survivors out of the buses. Other people were piling up stones along the cliff so as to create a make-shift lane for cars to pass.
In Chimoio, we stayed near the river where all the elephants went to bathe. I got to ride this fellow into the water and then wash him with rocks – that’s the only way to break up the caked on mud. It was only afterwards that we learned it’s illegal to bathe elephants in the river because too many people were killed by elephants who got overly excited in the water and rolled around.
Next, I went on a jungle tour with Kharma and a guide. My mom was too afraid of crocodiles so she stayed behind. The guide told us to be extra careful of hippos – they’re aggressive and unpredictable. Of course, we ended up stumbling upon four hippos sleeping in a giant puddle of mud. Our footsteps woke them (they have incredible hearing) and they started making their warning grunts. Then the tour guide whispered the last thing you ever want to hear, “Oh shit!” He told us to duck under the bushes. This scared me even more because I’m deathly allergic to ants and I didn’t have my epi-pen. I figured I was more scared of the hippos than ants so I ran. The bush was thick and we couldn’t see them anymore. Suddenly we heard them fighting and the ground shook as they started to charge. The guide broke out running, and we followed, not knowing if the hippos would chase us or not. Well, I’m writing this post, so to make a long story short, we made it out alive.
So let’s see, I survived the world’s most dangerous road, water aerobics with elephants, and charging hippos. Jumping off a cliff with just a glorified nylon blanket seemed like the safe next move. We headed to Phuket(a popular hippy town for backpackers) and went paragliding. I thought it would be terrifying, but it was one of the most peaceful experiences of my life. I felt like a bird soaring above the trees.