Tuesday, September 5

With sherpa crew

As mentioned I am in Zhangmu after a days drive in comfortable Pajero with Sherpa crew. Have passed through the border between Nepal and Tibet (China). Very smooth operation performed by the guys especially considering the level of beaurocracy that is around!

This was after passing through Zangmu - not a happy bunny as I got sick there. The place is like being put in a 44 gallon drum, full of stinking rubbish and having the exhaust of a 100 diesel trucks pumping in

Packing with Gromit - in hotel Marshyangdi, KTM - excellent service

Yesterday went to have our prayer flags and puja goodies blessed by a Lama. Pity about the background brick cutting that was going on while the Lama was saying his mantras.

Post blessing, with blessed "packaged" mantra around neck

View of temple where we had the prayer flags blessed by a Lama - this is pre the puja ceremony

Met up with the pro card crew - Edwin, Parry and John and ended up being the last ones around in KTM at 3:00am! Really has been a great part of my trip to spend time with these guys - enjoy your rafting trip!

Parry, me, John and Edwin. These were the professional "cardies that I mentioned in my blog - had two nights in a row when we were the last people awake in KTM - I was even locked out of my hotel (main entrance)

Zhangmu is a bit of a dump so the sooner we get to the hills the better.

Zhangmu, also known as Kasa, lies on a mountainside 10km (6 miles) inland from the Friendship Bridge that spans the Bhotekoshi (the Sun Koshi) River. This small town has become a major trading post between Tibet and Nepal. The subtropical climate endows the small town with warm, humid weather and beautiful scenery throughout the year.
The town is built along a winding road that is lined with private homes, shops, restaurants and government buildings.
The booming border trade attracts merchants from inland China, Tibet and Nepal. Nepalese merchants export rice, flour, pepper, vegetables and perfumes while Chinese merchants sell wool, tea, salt and Tibetan medicine. There are also restaurants run by the Nepalese serving traditional dishes, instant noodles and beer produced in Nepal. A free trade market formed spontaneously near the Friendship Bridge about 8 years ago, which is still developing today.
According to an agreement between the Chinese and Nepalese governments, people living within 30 kilometres (18 miles) of the border may cross the border freely. Every day, hundreds of Chinese and Nepalese merchants conduct business under this agreement. Local Sherpas lease their houses to the merchants thus sharing in the profit of the border trade.
Zhangmu is going to undergo major construction to meet the demands of the booming tourism and border trade. Zhangmu Hotel, the town's only hotel, will be rebuilt and expanded. Within the next 5 years the local government plans to build a 2,220-metre (7,280 feet) roadway to improve traffic flow.

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