Tuesday, March 8, 2011

happy in nepal

it is hard to believe i've been in nepal for a full week now.

my apologies for not posting sooner, but life has been a little hectic since i left nz.

once i made it safely it to sydney, i spent a wonderful, whirlwind 24 hours in the heart of the city. by the next morning/ afternoon i was on my way to shanghai. after nine long hours on the sketchy nine hour china eastern flight, i made it to china.

i thought once i made it to china, all would be alright and i could get through to india without too much trouble.

. . . i was wrong. . .

apparently, you need to get transit visas for any country you have a layover in for more than 24 hours {even if you planned to spend all of it in the airport}. my flight plan was originally scheduled so that i'd have almost 25 hours in delhi and without a transit visa or renewed indian visa, the chinese government/china eastern airlines wouldn't allow me to board the plane in shanghai.

so i was faced with two options - be on china or india's bad side. i choose china. the thought of having bad relations with india was heartbreaking.

. . . so, there i was stuck in shanghai for two nights and almost three days! another china eastern flight to delhi didn't leave until two days later, therefore, i had no other options but stay in china.

i paid for an inexpensive {but overpriced} airport hotel and was so exhausted from all the traveling/arguing with the chinese airlines, i fell asleep almost instantly. at 5:00 am, i jumped out of bed and realized where i was and what all i still had to do. i felt sick to my stomach and entirely overwhelmed in the morning. that was the first time on this whole journey that i was homesick and tired of all the traveling.

at breakfast in the hotel {it was just me, a chinese family, and a group of monks} i met one really sweet girl who spoke good english and she helped get me out of the hotel and closer to the heart of the city. it took me all morning and into the mid-afternoon to finally get to the city center and find another budget hotel.

i finally found a way to get internet at the hotel, found s on skype, and asked her to immediately call kelsey to call home! she did and she saved the day! my lovely parents were wonderful and around midnight their time, they helped me call airlines and reschedule my delhi - kathmandu leg of the journey.

once all that was sorted out, i finally had a chance to go and explore the city {and take some photos!} china was cold, lonely, and scary at times, but now looking back, i'm glad i got to experience life there for a couple of days!

the next day, i got to the airport several hours too early, and thought everything was going to be just fine. . .

. . . i was wrong a second time. . .

once i finally got checked in, i was on my way through customs when i met some trouble. . . the airlines informed me i'd have no problems staying in china for the 48 hours necessary to wait for the next flight out. apparently, they lied and i did run across some major issues.

the woman at customs had to call the "inspector" and the inspector plus his possy led me down this long, dark hallway into this white-walled room with only a desk inside. i was asked to sit and then i was questioned. . . no joke, straight out of a movie.

i didn't know if i should play it cool, cry, or make a run for it. in the end, i did a little of both. okay, maybe not the running part, but i was incredibly overwhelmed and scared!

eventually, after a long time and several conversations in rather broken english, i was asked to pay an expensive fine and sign a stack of papers, all in chinese. even though the officers tried their best to explain what the documents contained, i still doubt i will be allowed into china for sometime {maybe ever again!}. after all this madness, i had just ten minutes to find my gate and board the long-awaited flight to india.

i can barely remember the flight out of china, i was just so relieved to be out of the country, and once i made it to india, i felt like i was at home. i was greeted by all the sweet indian men with a happy face and a "morning madam." i wanted to hug them all.

it was around 2:00 am once i made it to delhi and my flight out to ktm was around 9:00. the only other trouble i experienced once in kathmandu was once agian with my visa {but this time it was b/c i didn't have enough cash on me - thanks china!}. thankfully, my new nepali friend was there to help me out though and he lent me money until i could pay him back! even after i paid him, he offered to help get me to the hotel and even rode with me in the taxi.

after all the madness, i've had a relatively easy time adjusting to life here!

the hotel is seriously posh and it has been such a relief staying with the rest of the film crew.

even though i don't have much to say now about the project, i know that i made the right decision coming early. i love this work and i'm incredibly thankful for this opportunity.

i don't think it is an overstatement saying that this experience has already changed my life.

more to come later my lovelies!

. . . but for now, enjoy the start of spring {all the trees are and flowers are in bloom here in nepal}.

{photo from swayambhunath, aka the monkey temple}

1 comment:

  1. So CRAZY! What a whirlwind set of travel mishaps. I think you maybe made the wrong choice deciding to be on China's bad side. China don't play around. Haha. I MISS you! Hurry up and come home! But have a great time in the magical kingdom of Nepal.