Our Indian visa application was submitted along with the paid fee. The visa clerk asked us a few questions about our planned itinerary and suggested that we go ahead submit the visa application, go on our trek then come back in May to drop off our passports. Hopefully, we get approved for a 6 month visa however, 3 months will also be okay. The visa is effective from the date issued so it’s going to be good at least until the end of August.
We are now preparing for our next trekking trip and we are going back for of that awesome apple pie in Namche Bazaar. The classic route of starting from Jiri then go over the 3 passes in the Khumbu region will take us a while. It’s actually 4 passes counting the Lamjur La (3550 m/11,715 ft) in the Solu-Khumbu. Even though it’s only at 11,715 ft the climb from a village of Kinja over Lamjur La is a gain of about 6,240 ft in a day trekking! This will be out third time in the Khubu region and we look forward to visiting some of our favorite tea houses and villages. The weather is starting to look really nice with a lot of sun and hopefully we get drier trekking compared to Annapurna Circuit.
The trekking trip will also be good training for us. The high altitude exposure and the slow muscular endurance hiking will help the body build up to get use to the changes. We are also planning to do some tent camping, possibly in some of the side trips to the high lakes. Right now, we are trying to assess equipment and how much load are we looking at. If we were to temp camp, we have to have a tent, cooking stove, utensils and cooking wares. Additionally, we would need a pad to sleep on as well. We still have a few more days to really make up our minds. This is no John Muir Trail (JMT) back country trip, it’s a lot more tougher.
We are looking at about a month or a little over a month of trekking in the Solu-Khumbu then over the 3 passes (Kongma La (5,535m/18,265 ft), Renjo La (5,388m/17,780 ft) and Cho La (5,380m/17,754 ft)) to Everest Base Camp (5364 m/17,701 ft). We’ve done Kongma La and Renjo La two years ago but we have not done Cho La. We hope to be able to connect them all and complete all passes in one trekking trip which was our original goal the first time in Nepal in 2012. I think we’ve gotten a bit more experienced and hopefully the weather will be good. In the high mountains, the weather always is a factor of everyday decisions on where to go and when to go.
Today, we met a French man who lives in Goa, India. His wife is Brazilian and they were both teachers from a university in France. We met him while waiting in line at the Indian visa office. For the first time, we actually met someone who talked as much as Doug’s Uncle who is known to talk up the storm. The French man now does interpretations for travel groups and his wife is a travel agent. She has her business and he would talk about how he had to put updates on Facebook to advertiser her travel agency. It’s interesting how his view of life is similar to ours wherein he thinks that once a person approaches 50 years old, a lot of perspective changes in life.
It’s also really interesting that we have met many teachers that teach internationally who are very happy with their jobs and living in a foreign country such as Nepal, Dubai and India for example. Most of them are expats and have been teaching children in non-profit and international institutions for a few years.
The French man went on about how in India, people waiting in line for visa processing would be sitting in the hot sun compared to Nepal where we can sit in the shade. Some people bring their own electric fans to cool themselves while waiting in line India. He then continued on to tell us that he and his wife once attempted to adopt a child in India but gave up because of all the many steps and length of processing it takes to complete the adoption. We then went on to food. He really liked the fish curry they have in Goa. Goa is located by the west coast in India so I would imagine there’s a lot of sea food in that area.
The conversation really got us more excited when he talked about his trip to Ladakh, India. He highly recommended staying on the west as it is much more beautiful. Again, visa-premitted we would love to stay longer in India to explore their high mountain ranges.
India is a very large country and the more we talk to people who have been there, some have lived there, it’s becoming more attractive. If we get a longer visa stay like six months, we will surely explore India a bit closer – on the bike!