Nepal, Day 2 – Nagarkot

Sunrise on a misty morning in Nepal Sunrise over the Himalayas

Behold the sun rising over the distant Himalayas. Taken from my balcony at the Hotel Mystic Mountain, 20km up the hill from Kathmandu on a rough and rocky road.

Looking northwest

The hotel spruiks its location facing the Himalayas to the north. Guests are exhorted to rise early to see the sun rise. My nice quiet Japanese neighbours on either side did….

Looking east

…and obviously so did I. I hadn’t necessarily intended to, still suffering as I was from a) that hideous early wake-up and b) jet lag, but there I was, awake, so I got up and pottered around till sunrise.

My room is behind that brown screen in the centre

Thence to brekkie along a walkway from which I took this shot. The Mystic Mountain really must have one of the most sublime locations on the planet, and certainly was one of the more salubrious-looking developments I’ve seen so far in Nepal. More often you see this type of thing, typical of developing third world countries: buildings going up without kerbing or drainage or roadworks, and building rubble left uncleared.

On the road to the Mystic Mountain Hotel

This wasn’t one of the worst examples, but it was one of the few chances I had to take a pic, given I’m usually inside a moving car when I see such sights.

The hotel is pretty isolated. It’s actually in some kind of heritage area along a hiking trail frequented by hardy trekking types, and you have to buy tickets to enter certain areas such as the short drive off the main road (depicted above) to the hotel. There are no towns or villages within walking distance and I wasn’t up for the spa or massage or meditation or reiki or Hatha Yoga sessions on offer – at extra cost of course – but before he left me to my own devices the night before, Azair had suggested I could walk up to the observation tower further uphill for a fabulous view of the Himalayas.

A rare bitumenised stretch

It should have only taken about 40 minutes but I found it hard going what with the steep gradient, the constant traffic and possibly the altitude – 2170 metres – although that hasn’t worried me before. I was fine going over the Andes for instance at heights of over 5000m.

Note the baskets attached to the pole. Some well-motivated but possibly over-optimistic person or authority has distributed these along the upper reaches of this drive. It might have something to do with the Nepalese Army training base nearby, because the roads and the rubbish aren’t as bad there.

I probably shouldn’t have taken this pic of the army base.

While we’re on the subject of the Nepalese Army, here are some super-fit young fellas running past us at Changunarayan on Friday.

Probably wasn’t allowed to take this one either.

But I only got as far as this spot, called Sunrise Point and a destination for school groups and young lads on motorcycles, none of whom seem to notice or care about the rubbish strewn everywhere.

School group at Sunrise Point

I found it all rather depressing.

Entrance to Sunrise Point

But the morning mist had cleared a bit and you could actually see the Himalayas.

I pushed my way in front of these kids to get the money shot, which I probably should have put in pole position at the top of this post.

Took me umpteen goes to capture one of the soaring birds.

But I was a bit hot and bothered and depressed by the crowds and the rubbish so I set off back down the hill where I was overtaken by this bloke galloping his horse uphill. By the time I whipped my camera out he’d got right past me!

Poor bloody horse!

I tried but failed to coax a smile from this solemn little girl sitting on a little stool outside her father’s corrugated iron hut. She was there on the way up and hadn’t budged an inch by the time I passed her on the way back about an hour later. Her father was smiling and happily gave me permission to take the pic, but I marvelled at the stillness and quietness of such a young child. Perhaps it’s lack of that constant stimulation and attention that western children get? Who knows. Certainly not me.

First posted 23.4.19