Circuitul Annapurna cu bicicleta – Episodul 5: Aclimatizare Manang

Peisaj cu valea Manang, din Nepal, din satul Braka, la 3500m altitudine. Zapada ar face mult mai dificila ascensiunea cu bicicleta pana la 5400m altitudine, in pasul Thorong La.

Mă trezesc relativ relaxat. Nu a fost prea frig noaptea, iar astăzi nu ne grăbim nicăieri. Citind indicațiile de pe hartă și vorbind cu Padam, am ales ca astăzi să fie ziua de aclimatizare. Aveam de gând să lăsăm bicicletele aici, în Manang, și să urcăm până la 4200-4500m pentru a face o ușoară aclimatizare. Cel mai important lucru pe care trebuie să-l știi despre AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness) sau pe românește, răul de altitudine, este că, odată ce prezinți simptome, trebuie să cobori. Așa că, din moment ce vrem să continuam să pedalăm până în Thorong La (5416m), trebuie să respectăm “regulile”.

Mă ridic din pat și văd pe geam că ninge frumos, uneori chiar cu fulgi mari. Mi-a luat câteva secunde să trec peste frumusețea de afară și să realizez că NINGE! Un șir de calcule rapide și situația nu arăta bine. Suntem mult în urmă, avem niște biciclete de 15kg, suntem de-abia la 3500m, iar zapada până la genunchi cu siguranță nu ne-ar ajuta. Problema ar fi că pierdem avionul de România. Nu, nu, nu e bine că ninge.

După cam 30 de minute apare și o rază de optimism. Ceața se ridică și soarele apare și el. Ies afară și parcă nu-mi vine să merg la masă. Este și cald la soare, sunt și vesel că poate avem șanse să nu înotăm în zăpadă la 5000m, ce poate fi mai bun de atât?

(mai mult…)

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Circuitul Annapurna cu bicicleta – Episodul 4: Bhatrang – Braka

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Ziua 4: Bhatrang (2850m) – Braka (3500m)

Ne trezim destul de devreme, nu că am fi dus lipsă de somn. La ora 7 avem programat micul dejun, iar la 7 fără un pic eram gata cu rucsacul făcut. Dorința noastră de a pleca devreme nu a coincis exact cu dorința celor de la tea-houseul la care am stat, așa că au ajuns și ei pe la 7:30. Cineva totuși s-a trezit mai devreme. Fetița pe care o văzusem și aseară. Venise cu un cățeluș care-ți încăpea în palmă și parcă n-ar fi vrut să ne lase să plecăm.

(mai mult…)

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Circuitul Annapurna cu bicicleta – Episodul 3: Bagarchhap – Bhatrang

Cu bicicleta prin Himalaya. Radu Dumitrescu - Grey Wolf Studios

Ziua 3: Bagarchhap (2160m) – Bhatrang (2850m).

Am plecat destul de devreme din Bagarchhap. Încă plănuiam să recuperăm din timpul pierdut. Harta ne zicea că n-o să avem mult de cărat la biciclete, dar ziua trecută am aflat cam cât de precisă este harta. În mod evident, ziua a început cu o urcare cât se poate de neciclabilă. Eram convins că forța brațelor mele va crește considerabil după câteva zile de “pedalat”. Primul sat din drum era Danaque. Am plecat spre Danaque fără apă, deoarece acolo este o stație de epurare. Mi-a plăcut mult motto-ul acestor stații de epurare a apei: “De ce să cumperi atâta plastic, dacă tu n-ai nevoie decât de niște apa?”.

(mai mult…)

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Circuitul Annapurna cu bicicleta – Episodul 2: Syanje – Bagarchhap

Radu Dumitrescu - Grey Wolf Studios

Ne-am trezit destul de dimineața, pentru că aveam de parcurs o distanță destul de mare. Aveam de gând să mergem la Chame. Analizând harta pe care o aveam – Cycling the Annapurna Circuit Map, era mai mult decât realizabil acest obiectiv.  Am luat un mic dejun copios, știind că nu ne vom opri la prânz. Orezul cu lapte a fost delicios, chiar daca nu-mi era foarte foame dupa Dal Bhat-ul de aseară. Am terminat de impachetat, am verificat bicicletele și am plecat.

Totul părea bine, drumul era bun, bicicleta mergea bine, iar prima jumatate de oră mai mult am coborât decât am urcat. Pe langa bucuria de a merge pe bicicletă se mai strecura din când în când  o întrebare de genul “Dacă tot coborâm, unde sunt cei 1500m pe care trebuie să îi urcăm azi?”. Răspunsul a venit si el dupa câteva minute.

(mai mult…)

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Biking the Annapurna Circuit – Episode 1: Getting to Syanje

radu dumitrescu nepal mountain bike annapurna thorung la 2010

 We were back in Kathmandu from our 3 day trip around Kathmandu Valley. We had a busy night trying to rent lighter bikes. Our bikes were decent, around 15kilograms, but we hoped we could rent some light ones. We wanted light bikes because we took a last minute decision of biking the Annapurna Circuit. Alina trekked it last time she was in Nepal, but it seemed like a good idea to cycle it. She said it’s OK to cycle, because the paths are good and it seemed like a good idea. She kept reminding me that she has a lot more cycling experience than me and that she’s in a much better shape than me since I didn’t get to do that much cycling at home, basically none in the last 6 months. I also never went as high as 5416m (Thorung La pass) as we’re going to get on this trip.

(mai mult…)

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Biking to Markhu

Radu Dumitrescu - Grey Wolf Studios - Nepal 2010

We had a good night’s sleep. After some delicious Dal Bhat in the evening and the previous pedaling day we slept like babies.

The guy from the lodge we slept showed us the best way to get to from Dashinkhali to Kulekhani Lake. We were supposed to reach Kulekhani during the first day, but things did not quite go as planned.

So we woke up early in the morning but didn’t manage to leave too soon, since it took a while until our breakfasts arrived. People were already working. They usually wake up around 5:30 AM. They work on the rice terraces all day long. They have lunch a little later than we have breakfast. Makes you feel a little weird, being a tourist and just biking from place to place.

(mai mult…)

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Mountainbike – Dashinkhali

Radu Dumitrescu - Grey Wolf Studios

I love biking. That’s no secret, but it made quite a difference in Nepal. One of the first things on the list was to rent a mountain bike. Răzvan and Alina already had bikes and after I rented one for myself we decided to go on a 2 day tour around Kathmandu valley. Our route was Kathmandu – Dashinkhali Temple – Kulekhani Lake – Thankot – Kathmandu and the scheduled time was 2 days. We prepared some things to take with us (my backpack included 1 camera and 3 large lenses) and were ready to hit the road.

Woke up not so early in the morning and got on our bikes. Kathmandu is extremely (and I do mean extremely) polluted. Even though the weather was hot we had our masks on, because of the heavy smoke. We got past the city’s Ring Road and the air was a lot better.

(mai mult…)

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Kathmandu – First Impressions

Kathmandu - Radu Dumitrescu

I arrived in Kathmandu a bit confused. Got off the plane and the airport looked a lot like a bus station. I had two things to do before I could get out of the airport: take a photo and pay for the visa. Didn’t seem like a lot of things to do, but they lasted for over an hour.

Finally I got through the infinite visa queue and my passport was the newly found owner of a 30day visa. I get my luggage and go towards the exit, together with a dutch couple that I met while waiting. As we go down the flight of stairs we see another ginormous queue with a sign saying “CUSTOMS” at its end. We all said: “S**t. Not another one”. One of the security guards, after seeing the look on our faces, came to us and led us straight to the exit saying “No, only for locals, no for tourists”.

As we got to the exit we were invaded by a lot of cab drivers. Felt close to the sensation I had at home. Since I knew that my friends were waiting and had absolutely no idea on where I was going I rejected all of them. Didn’t even know if their prices were good or not. I just assumed that they’re higher because of our location. I say goodbye to the dutch couple and join my friends. We look for a taxi but their prices are at least double from the ones I heard inside the airport. It’s the first thing I learned about Nepal. The price you hear at fist is just a greeting. I think its sole purpose is for you to practice dividing by 2 or 3. We took the cab that offered a free ride to the hotel if we stayed at that specific hotel.

(mai mult…)

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Istanbul and the Karakoy Fish Market

Istanbul - Grey Wolf Studios

Istanbul was the first stop of my trip to Nepal. It would be my first time there and I’d have about 10 hours ’til my flight to Sharjah and Kathmandu. Not sleeping the previous night and carrying 2 big rucksacks made me wonder on how much I’d enjoy this close to home but never visited city.

I made a note with some directions on how to reach the airport that I had to reach by 10:30 PM and off I went. Got on the subway, took the tram and decided to get off in time to walk through the Galata Bridge. The city looks impressive, with it’s large mosques and busy streets. There were a lot of things that reminded me of Bucharest a couple of years ago.

(mai mult…)

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