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Sophie's blog: Namaste Nepal

Sophie Johnson ... "coolest experience ever ... It was the closest thing I have ever had to flying." Photo: Sophie's blog

Pacific Media Centre, Sophie Johnson

29 April, 2011

Kia ora whanau

Kathmandu, Nepal, April 22-25SOPHIE'S BLOG 6 EXTRA: HONG KONG: We're now in Hong Kong airport, it is about 7am here (11am NZ time). We left Kathmandu at 11.15pm and went forward 2 and a half hours so we are pretty knackered. We are in transit for 9 hours and we are not allowed to leave the airport (sigh!).

Tuesday afternoon we took a rickshaw to the Monkey Temple and also went to Thamel, the area of Kathmandu famous for its markets. Lei was hopeless at bartering so I had to step in for her a few times! There is so much pressure for tourists to buy goods it can be quite overwhelming.

We woke early the next day for our flight to Pokhara, and lucky we did because that very day was a strike in the heart if Kathmandu against the ever-rising price of petrol. We had to take a special tourist bus and stop at all of the hotels so that people could get to and from the airport. At one hotel there was a driver who said he was afraid to go home because of what the crowds might do to him. Every day in Nepal reveals something new about the conditions that its people must undergo.

The flight was so short it barely felt as if we had gone anywhere. We had someone pick us up from the airport and take us to the hotel that was booked for us by one of the film festival volunteers. It was very flash, especially compared to our modest accommodation in Kathmandu. It turned out that our friend Denise was leaving for Brazil that morning, and the others had moved to another hotel. One of them had been quite ill, apparently suffering from a severe case of vertigo.

We booked for a city tour on Denise's recommendation, which took us around various places in Pokhara including the Tibetan refugee camp and Devi's Fall (named after a Swiss woman who fell from the cliff in the 1960s, the caves were so deep you could only hear the water). We also went for a boat ride across Pewa lake to a temple where several weddings were taking place.

In the afternoon, we went back to Pewa lakeside to do a bit more shopping and have something to eat. By the end of the day we were very tired, and before retiring to bed we booked our UltraLight Flights for the next morning.

This was the coolest experience ever. It was the closest thing I have ever had to flying. I put my hands out and whistled Morning from Greig's Peer Gynt suite as we floated alongside the Himalayas - total geek I know! The pilot asked if I wanted to try diving up and down and I nodded enthusiastically. Ten times better than the fear fall. I would definitely recommend this if you go to Nepal, visit for more info.

We came back and went for a swim in the hotel pool before packing for our flight back to Kathmandu. Lei got whistled at again at the airport for grabbing her bag without lining up and showing her bag tag. Poor Lei, she's always getting in trouble!

We arrived back at our original hotel and had a feed before packing for our long trip back to New Zealand. We said goodbye to all our bros at the hotel who were so welcoming and friendly during our stay. Even though the hotel in Pokhara was way more flash, I would totally recommend Hotel Ambassador in Kathmandu. It's modest accommodation with character, right in the heart of the city. And it equates to about $30NZD a night, including breakfast. Can't get much better than that!

And here I am, little ol' Sophie Aroha, complaining about the fact that I have to spend the whole day in Hong Kong airport. I think I'm going to grab a coffee and enjoy my last day out of New Zealand. Thanks for following me on my trip, catch up with you all soon.

Sophie xo

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About the authors

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Pacific Media Centre

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The Pacific Media Centre - TE AMOKURA - at AUT University has a strategic focus on Māori, Pasifika and ethnic diversity media and community development.

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Sophie Johnson

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Sophie Johnson (Ngati Tuwharetoa, Ngapuhi) is a postgraduate student studying towards her Master of Communication Studies at AUT University.


Hello Sophie

Nice to here from foreigner about beautifulness of our country. But very sad
as mentioned about the strike. But strike here sounds a load but doesn't/
possess more effect to any foreingners. Hope you enjoyed sitting in Nepal.

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