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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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One Night in Dublin

Plecasem din Italia, după expoziția din Legnago. Am luat un tren dis de dimineață, către aeroport. Nițel întortocheată situația, deoarece la 2 ore după ce ajungeam în București decola avionul către Dublin. Un lanț în care singura intarziere binevenită ar fi fost din partea avionului spre Dublin.

A fost prima vizită în Dublin, dar mă așteptam cumva să semene cu Londra. Într-un fel mi s-a părut că seamănă. Mult mai mic și mult mai accesibil în comparație cu Londra. Titlul articolului este nițel tras de păr, în total am stat o săptămâna în Dublin, nu o singură noapte. În schimb într-o singură noapte am apucat să mă detașez nițel de loc și să las aparatul să fotografieze. Pe de o parte e bine că eram pentru prima dată în Dublin. Prima dată când mergi într-un loc privești lucrurile într-un mod mai puțin alterat de propria personalitate, lucru care poate fi și bun și rău, o lamă cu două tăișuri. Nu spun că personalitatea fotografului nu trebuie să fie prezentă în fotografii. Ea oricum este prezentă, dar este interesant să îți antrenezi acest mod de a fotografia la prima vedere.

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London And The Freedom Of Colour

It’s been 4 months since I left London, perhaps even more. It wasn’t a good time for pretty much anything, and that nothing was pretty much all that I’ve done. I arrived right before Christmas Eve and walked around that night. The people were different. Few were out because they wanted to. When people walked they looked like they had a goal: home.

People seemed trapped in this “outside” and they were looking forward to get inside, to spend Christmas together with someone that cared. One of probably the few nights when people agree, have a common goal and it’s not in the middle of a riot. The people that worked that night did not look happy. They didn’t say anything, but their look pretty much said it all.

The later it got the weirder you got for being out. The amusement park in Hyde Park was pretty much deserted. There were some people, more than on the streets, but there was this feeling I got that they won’t be there for long. The stalls were nearly empty and I think the sellers had the same thing on their mind.

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