Safari on the Subcontinent

Wildlife photography is hard! That is something we learned long ago. But it is also extremely challenging and incredibly fun. One of our goals here in South Asia has been to see and photograph as much of the wildlife as possible.

Over the last year and a half, we have explored some of the regions best natural attractions including national parks, reserves, and remote wilderness regions. The explorations have been made on foot as well as by jeep, canoe, kayak, camel and elephant.

To recall our adventures, we have put together a pictorial, a sort of photographic trophy wall to share a tiny bit of the regions diversity with you. All of the animals included were photographed by us in the wild. Since we do not have a 600 mm lens and a fifty pound tripod, that is much more challenging than it sounds. While the big game may seem the most impressive, one shot in particular should be considered our ultimate trophy, the photo of the two camouflaged nightjars. Believe it or not, they were actually spotted by our guide from a moving jeep!

10 Highest Mountains

We’ve managed to get our first view of phenomenal Kangchendzonga, the third highest mountain in the world. Although we are still 74 km (46 miles) from the mountain, it looks massive towering over the valleys of Sikkim.

Seeing Kangchendzonga is also a milestone for Thomas and me. This means we have seen 8 of the top ten highest mountains in the world. The remaining two mountains, K2 and Nanga Parbat, are both located in northwest Pakistan, and we obviously won’t be heading there right now.

To celebrate the eight, we have put together our own pictorial list of the world’s ten highest mountains, respectfully leaving blank spaces for K2 and Nanga Parbat. We’ll get to Pakistan some day!

The Traveling Honeymooners

Where did you go on your honeymoon? When Jeff and Jennifer are asked that question in the future, they are going to have one hell of an impressive answer. “Oh, we went to Fiji… and New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Bhutan, Myanmar, Vietnam, Nepal, India, Austria, Hungary, Israel, Jordan, Turkey, Croatia, Slovenia, Italy, France, Spain, Brazil, and Argentina.

Yep, that’s right, a 13-month, 26 country extravaganza to celebrate their nuptials. Yikes, that puts pretty much everyone to shame! They have so many stops on their around the world ticket, they couldn’t use Continue…

Kathmandu Pictorial

Well, during the past year, we’ve ended up spending quite a bit of time in Kathmandu (about two months to be precise). Whether it has been to take care of bureaucratic processes or rest up after long treks, we’ve come to feel quite at home in the city. Yes, it’s polluted and chaotic and many people hate it, but I would go so far as to say it is one of my favorite cities in the world. Layers upon layers of culture lodged between the crumbling brick buildings. So isn’t it about time that we put together a pictorial on the city? Absolutely! Click here to view the pictorial.

Musical Koreans from Hell

They came marching into our beautifully quiet hotel, an army in baby blue. A hundred singing automatons goose-stepping through the lobby singing a series of bizarrely militaristic tunes.

Grand pronouncements were made by their supreme leader. The army clapped in wide-eyed jubilation. The females squealed and bounced in titillation at their leader’s perfection. Euphoria.

Hotel guests retreated to their rooms and watched in horror as Continue…

Northfield Cafe (and Tortoise)

Breakfast in Kathmandu means the Northfield Cafe. And after the forced vegetarianism of India, I’m ready for my steak and eggs special. (I’m a practicing carnivore again!)

Just as I was starting to sip my bottomless cup of coffee, I felt our little friend, the Northfield tortoise, bumping up against my foot under the table. He’s the restaurant mascot/comic.

But don’t worry, if he wanders past the security guard out of the Northfield gardens into the dangerous streets of Thamel, he has the restaurant’s address clearly written on his shell, so he can be safely returned to his home 🙂

Trash Strikes Kathmandu

When we arrived in Thamel this time around, we weren’t greeted by the oh-so-common smell of incense, but rather by the stench of rotting garbage.

There are mountains of trash 100 meters (100 yards) long and 4 meters (12 ft) wide along the congested road leading to Thamel. Kids are playing in it, and beggars are digging through it fighting dogs for anything edible. It’s quite shocking!

But trash strikes are not out of the ordinary. When we were in Nepal last time, a strike ended the day we flew to Lukla to start our Everest trek. To get rid of it all, people set the heaps of garbage on fire, and from the air, it looked like Kathmandu was burning.

For the sake of my lungs, let’s just hope for rain this time.

Back in Kathmandu

We left India screaming our lungs out at the Jeep driver who had been racing one of his buddies on the busy road to the border. As we were stepping over the invisible line into Nepal pursued by Indian rickshaw drivers and touts, the Nepalese border officials welcomed us with a big and knowing smile. It was good to be home.

Unfortunately, the ugly reality of bureaucracy quickly caught up with us when we went to renew our Indian visa in Kathmandu. Continue…

Jonathan and Rebecca Reloaded

Jonathan and Rebecca

When we mentioned Contemporary Nomads Rebecca and Jonathan last September, they were just about to leave Lhasa and bike across Tibet to Kathmandu in Nepal while Tony and I were going on a Jeep tour to Mt. Kailash. Because we are traveling so slowly and have spent so much time in Nepal, they eventually caught up with us in Kathmandu where they volunteered as English teachers just outside the city for a couple of months.

Becca told us over dinner that the bike ride was one of the hardest things she had ever done. Continue…

Thomas Steals Bananas…

Riding Elephant, Sauraha

… from an elephant.

One of the highlights of Chitwan National Park was our incredible elephant-back safari. What I at first dismissed as a touristy gimmick, turned out to be a real adventure once our elephant pulled away from the crowds of tourist-laden elephants and found its own piece of jungle.

Our elephant was a MAMMOTH towering four feet above other elephants – unfortunately, this meant we were continually Continue…