Fly to: Kathmandu, Nepal
Internal Transfer: 2 flights to Nepalgunj 1hr & Simikot 50mins
Visa required: Yes if British plus a remote access trek permit
Time Zone:+5hrs45mins GMT
Day 3, 12/06/10: Humla & Limi Valley
Due to the unbearable night-time heat I was up at dawn this morning and headed straight into Boudha, at least I thought it was Boudha. The scene that played out before me was like stepping into Micheal Jackson's Thriller; the Stoupa, still slightly under the fall of night was surrounded by 10's upon 10's of beggars. For me this was a massive culture shock as I've never seen anything like it in my times here previously; presumably it's something the official bodies try to deter and eradicate, particularly in tourist visited locations.
Due to extreme sun exposure & harsh weather conditions the skin of some of the people was burnt black, dry & torn; there were amputees struggling to drag themselves along on raw, unhealed wounds; there were people so badly contorted they crawled on all fours unable to look up. There was also one man who's face I don't think I'll ever forget.
Amidst everyone who's skin was blackened, dusty and weathered was a man who's head, face & body was red raw, in the places where skin fragments still remained his skin appeared albino; with no vision his eyes looked as if they had been gouged out by hot, pokers. The pain and suffering that was on display hit me like running head-on into a brick wall; the heat & humidity further added to my sense of inner panic. As I would be in Micheal Jackson's Thriller I felt scared, like Dorothy in Return to Oz my head was spinning, desperately not trying to look I felt uncomfortable in this environment, I felt overwhelmed, guilty and if I'm honest that guilt lay ontop of my instinctual fear of humanity.
Back at the office our Tibetan visa and relevant passes had been confirmed, so by 4:15pm we had boarded the internal 1hr flight to Nepalgunj. The temperature on arrival was a sweltering 41 degrees. Nepalgunj is in the terai region where Nepal borders the Indian sub-continent. As far as the eye could see there were flat plains & cultivated fields, here water buffalo & white cattle grazed.
The main street to our hotel was wide and dusty, lined with ice cream stalls; its quite clear that in this region the banks hold the money & power. Rows of tiny mud shacks were overshadowed by the vast, modern buildings of the bank & telecommunications sector.