Dan and Fizz Metcalfe
Thulo Barkhu -
 May-July 2007

It seems that in the last seven weeks we've had a life times worth of experiences happen to us ranging from the good, bad, and butt clenchingly terrifying to the breathtaking (literally) and rather grotty (that would be the illness side of things, that you kind of just get used to).

We kicked off our stay with the training and sightseeing in Kathmandu, all good fun, though still slightly haunted by the way Pratik told we were lucky when we heard a head explode at the cremation site! Language lessons with Rama were an experience, neither of us being too great at languages, but we got the essentials sorted in our heads, though up in Langtang they speak Tamang so I'll finish this report with a couple of must know words and phrases for anyone going up to the mountains to help you out! 

We then headed to Chitwan for a few days and went on the walking, jeep, canoe and elephant safaris, saw lot of animals, no tigers though.  We also enjoyed 'washing the elephants' i.e. sitting on their backs and being sprayed by them, a really good way too cool off, though a little snotty!!  Then off up to the mountains, to Thulo Bharku.

The bus ride was an experience it was more like mountainside demolition derby. They go haring over theses narrow mountain passes and round blind corners on the wrong side of the road within inches of the edge and 1000ft + drops looking backwards and chatting happily with the 15 year old boy that passes as the conductor. Every once in a while the 15yr old steps out of the door and shimmies up the side of the bus onto the roof to collect fares from the guys on the top, this is done whilst on the look out for naked overhead wires and the bus in full motion. Health and safety nightmare!! We ended up having to stop every few miles for the bus driver to hammer back in a bolt on the suspension that kept working loose. They finally fixed it at about the halfway point in the journey and just as the pulses were getting back to normal a bus overtook us ran out of space and ended up with its wing mirror coming through a window at the front of our bus covering a girl in glass and nearly taking her head off. All good fun and part of the experience, you kind of become immune after a couple of trips.

The time spent teaching was really rewarding, just to hear how the kids English came on in the 4wks up there was awesome. We're proud to say there are now a couple of kids in the Himalayas with hints of Yorkshire accents! We ran a resource center for the kids before school for 2hrs and after school for 1.5hrs every day bar sat and we then would either teach at school for 2 or 3hrs a day. Very tiring but good fun. On our first day there we got given a piece of chalk each, shown into separate rooms and told to "go teach English". Ok. The mind went blank and the sweat started pouring and I had 10-25 grubby faced kids expecting to learn something! It was time for a bit of trade mark Metcalfe quick thinking, then it came to me. Heads, shoulders knees and toes, fun and educational, what a genius!! The kids loved it especially as we introduced more interesting body parts. We also had some pretty low point whilst up there, the first being us both getting ill again. Add to this an army of fleas in my bed and one night waking up and feeling a spider crawling on my chest. I picked it off and threw it across the room. But the next day I woke up with a burning bite on my neck and 2 ten pence size blisters. Not nice. The spider had a rather nasty experience with a flip flop when I eventually found it. I'm still waiting to receive my 'Spidey Powers' but so far nothing.

our 4th week there we went on a 4day trek up to a local holy lake in the mountains. I can only describe the trek as 4days of agony punctuated by awesome views and a meeting with a hippie that had just come back from 5days meditating in a cave. We reached the lake on the second day and Dan immediately started to get headaches due to the altitude (4350m). The next day we were up at 6 and hiking up a mountain to get a view of the dawn over the mountains. Just 50m from the top sickness set in and we made the decision to descend descend descend. We made up for it on our last day when we found a tea house where you could LIE IN BED and watch the sun rise over the Himalayas, non of this daft walking malarkey!! Again the walking was definitely worth the pain, and would recommend a trek to anyone, even just a short one as you meet so many different people again.

All in all, our experiences were varied but all totally worth it, looking back we wouldn't change any of it because it all added to and made our stories!  We had an amazing time and met some amazing people everywhere we went.

A big thank you to INFO and good luck for the future.