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Beautiful Mountain View
Bhaktapur - Nyatapola Temple during the festival Gai Jatra
Prayer flags
Bungmati - old Newari town
Kathmandu City
Machhapuchhare Basecamp, Annapurna region
Sunrise view, Kanjirowa range
Naughty monkey
Bagala pass, Lower Dolpo

Guides and porters

Portrait of two tour guides  (an extract taken from a travel report by our guest,  Petra Jung, November 2011)

Guidesandporters" … The situation remained tensely exciting... Who were our guides and porters going to be? These were the things we were wondering about. We reassured ourselves knowing that the Nepalese are such kind people. But nevertheless we were still wondering which two people were going to be our guide and porter through the mountains during the next six days? Whose backs were we going to strap our luggage on? How would the guide - who is probably as fit as a fiddle himself - react if our strength dwindled? Would he roll his eyes if the feet of these Europeans got blisters on, or if our knees, weakened due to constantly sitting on office chairs, gave way?

And then Biru turned up. A short man of 1.62 m with a huge heart and a broad smile. From that moment onwards we had assistance and commitment in person on our side. Biru fulfilled our wishes in an uncomplicated manner. He helped when we wanted to bargain a favourable price for a souvenir; he even brought us a cup of coffee next to our sleeping bags to wake us up in the morning and showed understanding if we wanted to make a pause or simply needed a rest. We had a tremendous amount of fun and laughed a lot – and we held good conversations and were able to ask the locals all the questions we had, non-stop! Since Biru had lived for a great many years as a Budddhist monk, we were also able to find out a great deal about the Buddhist teachings and customs.

A somewhat quieter, but an equally pleasant companion was Lobsang, our porter. A young man of 21 years and father of a family. The fact that having a potentially bad conscience at not carrying one's own baggage was uncalled for, is something we had already heard about.  In Nepal, being  a porter is a respected occupation. Thanks to the openness of our guides as regards their life-story we then finally grasped the importance attached to the role of being a porter and being able to carry it out. Porters are, so to speak, the "trainees" in Nepalese tourism; they gain knowledge of the paths and routes, as well as experience in dealing with visitors, so that they can become a guide later on. We found Lobsang particularly touching when he sang Nepalese love-songs at night, filled with longing for his home.

And a very special experience with Biru and Lobsang was Poon Hill. At 4.30 in the morning, in the cold, we joined the queue of tourists who wanted to overcome an altitude of 500 m by sunrise, to see the sun ascending from our Annapurna viewpoint at an altitude of 3,300 m. On Poon Hill our prayer flags were now to be hung in the wind. Particularly for the tourists, so we thought – but it turned out to be totally different. Regardless of the teeming crowd of hundreds of international tourists taking photos, gossiping and enjoying themselves, Biru knelt down devotionally in their midst, spread out the flags on the ground in front of him and fervently murmured prayers of dedication before he hung them up so that the wind could carry their message out into the world.  Later on he divulged to us that he had dedicated the flags that were now fluttering in the Himalayas in their ritual colours, to us and also our daughter at home, as well as other relatives and children.  Thank you Biru! Thank you Lobsang! …“