Friday, September 28, 2012

Grateful to still be in Kathmandu.

When booking our flight to Lukla, I requested the first flight out on Sita Air at 6:00 am to get an early start. However there weren't three seats available, so we were booked on the plane's second trip at 7:30 instead. Thank you everyone who has prayed for safety on this adventure. We have been rebooked on another airline tomorrow. For those who already saw the news, there is no need to worry about me, but perhaps you'll join me in praying for the families of those on the first flight.

Thursday, September 27, 2012


I've been in Nepal for two days. I've mostly spent my time in Kathmandu working out all the logistics for our first trek and preparing. Everything is ready though and we head out early in the morning. I should have a couple of days to just spend exploring in between the treks and after.

Katmandu is a very different city than any other I've been too.
Almost everyone speaks english, but I learned to politely say "hello" and more importantly, to say "no thank you". 
Not usually the most exciting thing, but I was really happy to see this bed the first night.

The all important and slightly difficult to find Free Individual Trekking TIMS permit. 

I don't know if I'll do any posting the trail, but I hope I'll have good pictures to share in a couple weeks. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


I’m sitting on an A330 as it flies north across the outback. From 30,000 feet it’s hard to tell it’s not eastern New Mexico down below me. But if I look closer I can see thatI’m on the far side of the world. A lot of things felt that way over that last seven weeks. I think I could live in Australia for a while. I would stay another month and go see the west coast if I had the time. Nepal beckonsthough and I am really looking forward to seeing it. Goodbye Australia, I hope I’m back before too long.

The last couple of weeks were a little less exciting than the first few were. I was back in Sydney for a couple of days before I fully recovered from whatever I caught on the way to Melbourne. The main reason I wanted to see Melbourne was an article I saw a while back listing it as the “most livable” city in the world. It is nice as cities go. I can see how it won that listing. It is still a big city though and I’mhappy other people like living there…

I spent a lot of my sick days sitting next to this fire in a cafe. 
Just in case you didn't notice the actual train... 
I spent my last couple of days in Melbourne looking for a ride to Sydney. I hoped to see some of the countryside in Victory and New South Wales. But time ran out and I bought the last cheap ticket I could find to Sydney. Which at least added Tiger air to my list of airlines. I got a good price on the ticket, but public transportation was a bit of a shocker. Getting to and from the airport was more than ½ the price of the plane ticket.

Once in Sydney I spent two nights in downtown. The highlight of my downtown stay was seeing the iphone5 launch at the Sydney apple store. No I didn’t stand in line to buy one, I was mostly there to use the fast free WiFi for updating my OS… But, it was pretty fun to watch the queue. The last couple of days were spent with friends inAshfield. Thank you Philip, Kim and Fiji for hosting me at both ends of my time in Australia. I look forward to seeing you guys again sometime soon.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

It's all fun and games until someone loses their voice...

Being sick is never much fun. But it's always worse on the road. Melbourne seems to be a nice city as cities go. But I've spent most my time inside drinking hot tea and coffee. I felt a little sick the first couple of days here but figured it would pass. Then I stayed up way too late talking with a Belgian on the hostel room porch and I lost my voice completely. It's still only slowly coming back three days later. It does add a some extra challenge to meeting people...

Friday, September 7, 2012

Road trip to Darwin

In news that probably surprises no one, I really missed driving during the first six weeks of my trip. So, it was nice to be behind the wheel again even if it was on the wrong side of the car. Three thousand kilometers later shifting with my left hand is pretty natural, but I still tend to turn the wipers on when I'm trying to signal.

I have a car!
We had a late start with paper work and buying food for the trip, but we made it out of Cairns and found open roads several hours before dark.

The first day of the drive was good road with fun curves and hills. 

Oscar and Ching setting up camp the first night.

A nice spot to sleep.

Our spagetti dinner.
The first of several really nice sunsets we saw. 
A blue moon rising. Seemed fitting for the trip.
Another shot of the moon.
The roads got both more desolate and interesting on the second day. 

There was a town in 120 km. After that town there was another sign "Kangaroos next 190 km." 

We made it to the NT early on the third morning. 
Speed limits in the NT are a bit more reasonable...

It's not like there was much to hit during the day!
The white lines getting longer...

Sunsets were great every night of the trip but we were in the town without Kangaroos the for sunset the second night. 

We had to hurry through the first part of the trip to get the more interesting places closer to Darwin. There was a catch though; we weren't supposed to drive at night because of kangaroos. It's more of a challenge to make a thousand kilometers a day without driving at night, but it worked out pretty well. We took the last three days pretty easy and toured around the highlights of the NT a bit.

Mataranka's Bitter Springs is a beautiful oasis in the outback dessert. 
The springs create a perfectly clear and prefect temperature steam for floating along in. 

Sunset near the Katherine Gorge
Lower cascades swimming hole in Litchfield NP

The signs explaining that they "manage" the crocodile risk are very encouraging... 

Wangi Falls
Climbing up for another jump. The local in the lower right showed me the route up and the best jumping spots. 

We got to Florence Falls a little late in the day for swimming. 

I've been in Darwin for a couple days now. In more news that probably surprises no one, I am really not cut out for tropical weather. Darwin is hot, humid and expensive. So I decided to head for the other side of Australia. I'm flying to Melbourne early Monday morning. I've heard Melbourne was voted the world's "nicest city to live in," so I figure I will spend at least a couple of days there.