We’re boarding an aeroplane.. wait no, let’s just call it a horizontal helicopter, anyway, we board it and leave.. As soon as we take off I notice the amazing views around me, especially the other side of this uhmm.. helicopter.
Where I am not seated.
I manage to catch a few glimpses by leaning here and there while craning my neck, but it proves difficult. An older man on the other side signs at me that he’d like us to swap seats. I try doing the polite act and shaking my head, but curiosity takes over, so I end up saying ‘namasté’ straight afterwards and racing to his seat. It’s SO worth it. The views I have are not describable with words alone. We’re flying past the mountains of Nepal, their tops covered in snow.. It’s so surreal to be here, so beautiful.
sharing experiences above the Himalaya
I’m staring out of the window and get offered a orange concoction of some kind. Eugh. But nothing will ruin this magical moment for me right now. It’s like I’m in a dream. We’re 20 people in a small plane, flying over the Himalayan Mountains in clear weather. The man next to me notices me excitement and asks me the reason for my visit. I tell him what I do for a job and guess what? He’s been in the tea business for 25 years. We end up sharing experiences and talking a lot. This always stays one of the nicest things in my field of work, getting to know people and their stories. These people also have new locations and connections, thus helping my network grow too. We swap business cards. 45 minutes later we land on the tiniest airport I’ve ever seen. We get out of the plane, get our luggage, and leave. There’s no gates, arrivals or carousels. It’s as if I just got out of a taxi.
obey to the cow
Now it gets exciting. I have no idea who's picking me up. I walk towards the entrance and a young man starts waving excitedly at me ‘Kiona, Kiona! This way!’. Yay! Here’s to good service! This guy works at the plantation I already buy tea at and together with the driver we start the first part of our journey. It’s a 4 hour drive. I get in the car, roll down my window, put on my shades coz hey, I’m in Nepal! And I’ve got an amazing view! Everywhere I look there’s women in beautiful cloths, small stalls with merchants and a lot of retail in clothes and most important of all; food. Oh, did I mention it’s really busy? Especially on the road; everyone is racing and honking at each other. Plus goats and cows. Sometimes a cow (yes, like a literal cow) will decide to stand on the road, which means we obey and wait until it decides to get OFF the road. Yeah, long live animals.
a massive glass of ice cold coke
There’s massive Jeep-like cars too. They function as taxis for the locals. You know how you can fill up a car with lots of people? Imagine that amount of people and then double it. That’s how many people are currently seated in a taxi I’m looking at. Very stereotypical, yet really nice to see actually. Honestly, I really enjoy looking at it, together with the smell of spices and fabrics it makes for the ultimate experience. A massive contrast to Kathmandu, where I’ll be learning new things. But first, we stop at a small cafe where we eat Momo, a Nepalese dumpling. Amazing! The spices that accompany the dish are amazing too! Wow! To top it off, a (massive) glass of ice cold Coke. My previous guides in other Asian countries seemed to think sugar was the devil itself, but here, people couldn’t care less. Haha. We eat some more and after a while, leave in order to continue our journey.
ensure them i'm not crazy
Even though time seems to be going slow, it doesn’t take long before we start driving up the mountains. Slowly, the scenery around us changes. Colours, trees. And the further you go into the mountains, the more beautiful it gets. It's about a two-hour drive and I am thoroughly enjoying my view. However, if I’d be the one driving, I’d have put on some music, rolled down all the windows, and would’ve performed a -very- loud, amazing, fantastic duet all by myself. But, I need to ensure these people I’m not crazy, so let’s just hold off on my fabulous idea :)
all i need
We arrive and the owner of the plantation is expecting me. We walk onto the fields… Wow… it’s so beautiful. The pluckers are still busy, but it’s coming to an end, seeing that it’s about 4 o'clock. Everything is picked by hand here. I take a few pictures, and slowly but surely, we walk through the tea fields, to my hotel. It’s just been constructed, otherwise I’d be sleeping in an inn. It’s looks real good though! The Nepalese people are starting to do the European-vibed hotel thing which makes me very grateful. A shower and WiFi, that’s all your girl needs right now.
time to relax
I also have an interesting conversation with the owner of the tea garden. He’s a learned man, with a lot of travel experience and wisdom which he’s happy to share. Lucky me! He does tell me he’ll be busy for the coming days, so he won’t be joining me for dinner tonight. I’m secretly happy to hear this because it gives me time to catch up on work, and relax too. Conversations here, in my opinion, require more energy than normal; this is because you’re learning new things and sharing knowledge.
i ain't complaining
After the owner leaves, I go down to sit in the lobby and order food. Roti, curry, rice and vegetables. Love it. After dinner, several groups of people enter. My guess is they’re travellers too. I get invited to join them raise a glass to life (aka beer). Let me tell you something; after travelling alone for so long, it’s nice to be around people. You enjoy the little things more. These guys travel around the globe, in search for different bird species. We laugh, drinks and have philosophical conversations. After a few beers (read: pints), I decide to head back to my room. I’ve got to prepare some stuff for tomorrow. After having done this, I get in bed, still trying to absorb the new atmosphere I’m in. Also, there’s so many different sounds coming from outside my window. Animals, like cows mooing and dogs barking for hours on end. But hey, I ain’t complaining, I love it. Slowly I drift off to sleep..
This blog is about No.018 - Himalaya Gold