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Re: [at-l] Tibet/Nepal

 > Kind of a strange request for this list, but it appears likely I will be
traveling to
 > China for an extended vacation next year.  Anyone on the list ever done
treking or
 > backpacking in Tibet or Nepal (or anywhere in that area)?  I'm in the very
 > stages of planning, so any information on making such a journey would be
helpful. >>

Wonderful plan!   I would encourage you to go into the Khumba region, which
is where you'll find Everest, Ama Dablam, etc.  I flew into Katmandu, more or
less on a whim, alone in 1993.  It is a classic third world city.  From there
I hired a sherpa and we flew into Lukla, which is about as far into that
region as you can get without a helicopter.  The airstrip is a gravity stop
dirt strip that Hillary built.  It was an exciting landing!  From there you
hike into the mountains. (and I mean mountains) It is a wonderful experience.
 I think that it's something to see such incredible country, yet such
devastating living conditions.  (Friends that I met there were forever
changed by witnessing the death of a little girl who could have been saved
with antibiotics, they did not have any in their 1st Aid Kit)  I learned alot
from  the Buddist influence in that region.  Overall, it is a place that
changes you.

There is alot of political strife in Katmandu right now, that would be
something to check with the State Dept or your sources in China before you
go.  I would also advise that you trek "expedition style", I stayed in the
Teahouses along the way, and would not do that again.  The air was horribly
smoky, I battled a nasty case of sinusitis the whole time at altitude that
would not have been such a problem in a tent.  Besides,  having tents opens
up more experiences and gives you some autonomy.  I had been advised to go
with the teahouses...which is the one thing I really would have done
differently.  I never ate meat and was very careful with the food
there...which is just SOP in the 3rd world.  I probably would not go alone
again, as I attracted some unwanted attention as a western woman alone, but
also found it fairly easy to hook up with other travelers.   Make sure that
you have solid departure plans, many airlines offer "open" return dates, and
make it sound like a good thing..this resulted in alot of people being
stranded, out of money, and unable to actually get on a flight out of
Katmandu.  There are few actual departures from there, and during the busy
time, it can be literally impossible to get one of the seats out.  If you are
going into China, you probably have already taken care of insurance and
emergency medical flight coverage; if not, start looking.   I also met with
my doc before I left and had a substantial 1st Aid kit, and knew how to use
it.  I strongly recommend you do the same.

It is an experience that will alter the way you look at life!


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