|Happy Easter (and Happy New Year Nepali style)! We hope you have all had a good and peaceful break. We are writing this from Kathmandu - we are lucky enough to have had 4 days here over Easter, making good use of public holidays -or rather Oasis holidays; Bangladesh as a whole doesn't celebrate Easter but most Christian organisations will have Easter Sunday off (Sunday is a normal working day here, church is on a Friday....still not used to it!) and today (Tues) is Bengali and Nepali New Year!
It all got off to a false start - we had a package booked but after a day of delays, the flight was eventually cancelled. However, 2 hours in the Bangladesh Biman office (shudder) sorted us flights for the following day and we took off that time! Nepal is a different world but only an hour away. First impressions - cake, filter coffee, pizza, wine.....!! Seriously, apart from all the gorging we have done on food not available in Bangladesh and much missed, we have enjoyed wandering the ancient streets, with temples, Hindu shrines, loads of people and sadly lots of rubbish too.
Had to have a bit of an adrenaline rush (Dhaka being so tranquil) and so quickly discovered a 2 day rafting trip down the Bhote Koshi river - for those in the know this is one of the most challenging white water in the world - mostly Grade 3 - 5 rapids. Luckily all we had to do is hold on tight and paddle when shouted at. We did have a go on our own when the guide fell out and we were left crashing down through some nasty rapids with only the screams of the two trainee guides to keep us company. Luckily we got stuck on a rock before taking another swim! We stayed over night in a lovely tented camp by the river which was in a steep valley and so peaceful. Hot showers with no roof so looking up at the hills and the sky was fabulous! It was lovely to relax and unwind and also to see Nepal outside the city. The scenery was beautiful but sadly haze stopped any real Himalayan views. It really is a very poor country and it was fascinating to see the homes by the river, steep terraces growing crops and hand tool and ox powered farming! Again, sad to see huge amounts of rubbish everywhere. Despite the hairy moments and a few unplanned swims the rafting was such fun and luckily we escaped without injury (however unfortunately not without hundreds of flea bites - the camp clearly wasn't as uninhabited as we first thought). Ben escaped this torment - but I think they only bite clean flesh!
Back to Dhaka today, not before stocking up on cake & chocolate (but we'll leave the Tiger Balm and chess sets thanks). It has been a great rest for us both and so interesting to see. We are looking forward to getting back to work - which is at a really exciting stage. We will update you on the work side when we get back. Hope you are all well and enjoying the spring weather. The Tropical storms have hit Dhaka which provide occasional respite from the increasing temperatures and humidity - and give us a chance to show off our wellies!