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Travelling the world, hopefully with a cuppa in hand

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From Uruguay to Paraguay

We´ve now been in Uruguay for a week and apart from Punta del Este, we´ve spent some time in Colonia which was a beautiful town with cobbled streets lined with trees, vintage cars and a picturesque,spanish old quarter. It was a great place to escape the hustle and bustle and constant noise of Buenos Aires. Since Punta del Este we´ve spent a couple of days in Montevideo, the capital. Definitely pronounced Montevid-ayo; Dads you were right, we were wrong!

For us it´s not been the best place; partly there doesn´t seem that much to do here, partly we didn´t feel that comfortable in the hostel we stayed in. There´s also the cold wet weather. So this morning we took the plunge and have booked ourselves on the weekly bus to Asuncion, the capital of Paraguay. Crossing two borders, first into Argentina near Salto, and then into Paraguay at Encarnacion we get in at 10am tomorrow morning. From there we plan to spend a few days exploring and then head east to the Iguazu falls and see them from both the Argentine and Brasilian sides. We´re hoping it´ll be a bit warmer too!

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A quick post

Just a quick post at 7am while we’re waiting for the bus to pick us up to take us from Phnom Penh across the border to Ho Chi Minh City (or Saigon as it used to be called) in Vietnam. We’re really excited to be going to Vietnam as it was one of the places we’d allowed a little bit more time for before we’d left. We were a little disappointed with Phnom Penh. We have only spent a couple of days here, but it just felt to us like a large town with not much going on. We did enjoy walking down by the river front (We think its the Mekong river but we might be wrong…), and we also visited one of the schools that the Khmer Rouge under Pol Pot converted into a prison and tortured then killed a lot of people. This was all quite recent history – happening towards the end of the seventies, and the leaders are only just beginning to be tried in the international court. We wish we’d been able to spend a bit more time in rural Cambodia and we did look a bit into volunteering, but we think we’ll try and plan that for later in our trip. Ok I’d better go, Vietnam here we come!

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Tibet here we come!

We’re off to Tibet today, with an early start at 5.30am.  We’ve chosen the cheapest option we could find of going overland by group tour bus both there and back.  The trip takes 8 days to get to Lhasa.  In preparation we’ve been reading the book by Alexandra David-Neel – “Magic and Mystery in Tibet”.  The book is all about how the Tibetan culture has survived over the centuries and easily incorporates events that western cultures would regard with disbelief and superstition, such as Buddhist monks covering great distances at speed without rest, surviving in sub-zero temperatures and telepathy.  It all whetted our appetite for what we are about to see.

Our itinerary is as follows:
Sat 4th – Kathmandu to Nyalam: Early morning drive across Nepal and negotiating Chinese immigration at the border.
Sun 5th – Nyalam to Lhatse: Up onto the Tibetan plateau with views of the Himalayas.
Mon 6th – Lhatse to Xigatse: Over the highest pass (Gyatchu La, 5,220M) on our route to Lhasa.|
Tue 7th – Jon’s birthday! Xigatse to Gyantse: Spending the morning sightseeing to Tashilhumpu monastery then the afternoon visiting the Kumbum stupa and Phalkor monastery in Gyantse.
Wed 8th –  Gyantse to Lhasa (3,650m): Full day’s drive past the Yamdrok Lake.
Thu 9th to Sun 12th – Lhasa:  Exploring Lhasa including the Jokhang temple, Barkhor bazaar, Potala palace and the Drepung and Sera monasteries.
Mon 13th to Tue 14th: Heading back to Kathmandu.

We’ll post about how it all went when we get back!  We then only have a couple of days before we fly to Bangkok on the 16th December.

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Back in Kathmandu

We’re back safe and sound after spending a few extra days in Lukla (unwillingly).  We’re both feeling a million dollars after lengthy (free) hot showers and clean clothes.  We’re also enjoying the warmth of Kathmandu, although missing the tranquility of our trek.  Unfortunately we’ve missed our Tibet tour and our agent wants to charge us a 50 percent cancellation fee, but we’re hoping to sort that out tomorrow. Whatever happens we’ll make the best of it. Off to bed now and descriptions of our trek will follow soon.

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We’re back (almost)

Just a quick post to let everyone know we’re well. We’ve been stuck in Lukla for a couple of days trying to get a flight back to Kathmandu, but there are very few flights due to cloud. Just a waiting game at the minute but we’re a bit concerned we might miss our Tibet tour. Internet is about 10x the price here compared to Kathmandu so we’ll leave checking our mail/email/replies till we’re back in Kathmandu!

Hope everyone’s well! More details to follow of our Everest adventures!

Jon and Lou

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