R Daphne shared stories of her trekking to Nepal since 2000. She broke the stories into three main categories:
Accommodation and Food
Health and Hygiene
When asked why she keeps going back - She says because of the people.
Daphne's first trip with her younger sister was in 2000. Trekking to Lang Tang (this trial was wiped out by earthquake in 2013).
Start of trip was in a rusted jeep. They could not travel at night due to unrest in the area. It was a 2 week trek over pass about 6,000 metres. Recommendations say when you are over about 3,000 m you should stay couple nights to acclimatize. When Daphne and her sister were at village about 3,500 m they only stayed one night and pushed on. However, Daphne began to feel ill, sickness progressed till she was violently ill, head feeling like it would explode and more. Her sister tied her to a horse and they started down the mountain, then by a rice field they were picked up by helicopter. On way down helicopter had to be refueled by hand. They got Daphne to local hospital and thankfully she survived to tell us story and to return.
In 2005, she went to another village, or more like cross roads. In a 15 passenger bus she was #31. A 3 1/2 hour drive in the crowded bus. Then they walked. Her friend and guide could walk up the trail in couple hours, he told Daphne it would take 4 hours. After about 6 hours (and she had handed off her back pack to others) they arrived and she was so exhausted she could hardly see. The locals use short cuts, goat trails almost straight up the mountain.
They started to build a seasonal road up the mountain. Only 15km but takes couple hours in a 4x4 Land Cruiser. Road is ether a quagmire or red dust. Ruts can be 2 1/2 feet. Road only one lane with 1 km drop off on side. Passing is treacherous.
In Katmandu they have mini buses (15 people capacity) and micro buses (18 people capacity). They put 60 people on these buses, with goats in ailes and people on top and hanging out door. Daphne is 5' 6" but she is relatively large compared to locals.
Daphne uses graval, option is plastic bag. She considers the 15 km trip a death trap. She does a lot of praying.
Accommodation and Food
More regular hotels in big cities for tourists. But in the villages much more rustic / primitive. Typically a straw mattress, and pillow is a bag of rice. Family often sleep together, all in same bed. Daphne has slept above the animals and shared a bed. Once she stayed in guest house at a Buddhist monastary (sounded like luxury). Sometimes floor space and a mat. She has never gotten bed bugs. Daphne says when you are tired, it doesn't matter.
Food is basically rice and lentil soup and something curried. Harvest impacts what is in soup. Once coming into village it was a festival and the 'cutting' had started. They have no refrigeration. They use everything. Put carcass on doorstep, and blood runs everywhere. An appetizer includes goat blood with ginger and ? Curried goat liver with chow mein?
Daphne goes vegetarian in Nepal. She shared a few times when she had a melt down.
She shared story of a tea house and chicken fried rice, but they don't have or use 'tissues' in Nepal, cook had to use other means and not so sanitary. Also using same bowl for manure and cooking after brief rinse with cold water.
Squat toilets may be log over hole. Luxury was stone building with metal door but also very large spiders. Daphne doesn't like the large spiders. Women just banged on building first so spiders would hide.
Generally water supply is a central tap in village, which may not have water all the time. When there is water, it is cold mountain water.
R Keith thanked Daphne for her presentation and said it brought back happy memories of his childhood.