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Thread: Trekking in the old days

  1. #31
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
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    Canberra
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    215

    Default Re: Trekking in the old days

    Secondly, they kind of made their own niche in the subcontinents social fabric, became like a caste among a million other castes, there were hotels and resturants catering just to them.
    I often wonder if there are still these niches around Asia in the foothills of the Himalaya or are these days over?

  2. #32
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    36

    Default Re: Trekking in the old days

    Speaking of cannabis and Nepal.....check out this book

    The King of Nepal by Joseph Pietri

    Haven't read it yet but it's on my list. exerpt "In 1973, Richard Nixon, and his recently established DEA, paid the king of Nepal (the late King Birendra) $50-70 million dollars to make marijuana and hashish illegal in Nepal. Over night he created a criminal society, he made an ordinary thing extra ordinary and a huge black market for drugs was created."

    Shiva smokes. there's even a holiday dedicated to this. My wife is from nepal. drinking is frowned upon more than smoking, in her culture (Chetris) However, being lazy and stupid transcends all intoxicants and is frowned upon even more.

  3. #33
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
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    Sydney
    Posts
    2,851

    Default Re: Trekking in the old days

    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbiker
    Speaking of cannabis and Nepal.....check out this book

    The King of Nepal by Joseph Pietri

    Haven't read it yet but it's on my list. exerpt "In 1973, Richard Nixon, and his recently established DEA, paid the king of Nepal (the late King Birendra) $50-70 million dollars to make marijuana and hashish illegal in Nepal. Over night he created a criminal society, he made an ordinary thing extra ordinary and a huge black market for drugs was created."

    Shiva smokes. there's even a holiday dedicated to this. My wife is from nepal. drinking is frowned upon more than smoking, in her culture (Chetris) However, being lazy and stupid transcends all intoxicants and is frowned upon even more.
    mtnbiker, what you write about governments like USA paying poor contries money to "stop producing" (marijuana, heroine, cocaine, etc) is sad. But not surprising unfortunately.
    For one, it is the absolutely disastrous policy called "the war on drugs". Impossible to win, but for decades sits well with the political classes of many countries, and unfortunately with most of what is a gullible electorare - who keep bying this furphy.

    Secondly, and closely related to the first, it conveniently shifts the problem (in the minds of the aformentioned political class and the stupid electorate) to the producers (mostly poor farmers, whether in Bolivia or Nepal) insted of where it should be - the consumers. Substance use is a pull, not a push problem. But not many people in power in the rich countries are prepared to admit this. USA is the biggest consumer of "illegal" substances by far, and then some. When there's such high demand, the farmers in Bolivia will obviously prefer to plant coca, instead of coffee or whatever. But most thinking people know that, and I am raving on probably to the converted.

    Since I have been involeved with studies on this matter some 15 years ago, it still gets my blood boiling.

    I have this fantesy of 5000 or so people setting up shop in the centre of some important city and "officially" starting to sell pot, or coke or whatever. See what the authorities would do then... I believe only something like this would shake the idiotic system a bit...
    yakshaver

  4. #34
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Trekking in the old days

    I also first did EBC in 1983 and recently redid the trek with my young daughter. Lots of changes, some good some not so good.

    - food was better, but prices at higher elevations were as high as the elevation
    - double rooms everywhere, where before we slept in a lot of dining rooms or on the floor or in dorms.
    - some form of electricity at every lodge (though often only very basic solar) where before only Namche had power - and then only for 2-3 hours a night)
    - cell phones are everywhere on the trek, allowing some groups to phone ahead to book lodge space.
    - lots more people, many trying to go up too fast, many living off of Snickers bars and Coke.
    - Jiri to Lukla still a joy, but lots of trash on the trail (wrappers etc).
    - My favorite "lodges" no longer there - Thodung and the Japanese place in Chamoa.
    - showers available at most lodges
    - cooking methods barely changed at most locations (wood fire)
    - Jiri now a "big town" where before it was but 10-12 buildings.

    In Kathmandu I did miss the pie shops, though enjoyed OR2K as a nice place to hang out. But yeah Kathmandu was a lot more fun in the old days.

  5. #35
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    Default Re: Trekking in the old days

    - My favorite "lodges" no longer there - Thodung and the Japanese place in Chamoa.
    Really ? Are the lodges gone at Thodung ?

  6. #36

    Talking Re: Trekking in the old days

    Nameste, what a great thread. Trekking in the old days (early 70's) was a bit more difficult than today. The teahouse circuit hadn't been put together yet so you were at the whim of local villagers to put you up for the nite. Getting to Pohkara was a real adventure. KTM today is like another world. There are now over 2 million people in the valley because of Indian immigration. In the 70's there probably weren't even 50,000 in the entire KTM valley not counting tourists. You could go anywhere free (Durbar Square, Pashapati, etc) Very few cars or trucks, in fact there were a couple of elephants that pulled freight around ring road. Swayambu was a Tibetan refugee colony and the little village off the temple at the top was overrun with Tibetans in their ancestral clothing unlike today where most dress like westerners. Bodanath was the same. Hash smoking on the stupas was a constant and no fear of getting busted. If you wanted booze in those days you had to bring it with you from out of country or suck on toomba, rakshi, or chang to cop a buzz. Thamel back then was a run down section of town teeming with chang shops where you could huddle in smoky dirty dens and get drunk and smoke your guts out on righteous temple hash, not the crap they sell on the streets today. The only bummer in those days was everyone took a crap in the streets, therefore daily a swarm of pigs would be chased out of pig alley (where they now slaughter meats) to gobble up the piles of poop. Much as I don't care for modern KTM and Nepal the world health organizations have cleaned it up considerably and taught the Nepalese about food safety, washing your hands constantly, and building toilets. Ahhh, to be able to go back to the past. Happpy trails

  7. #37
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    Oct 2004
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    Canberra
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    Default Re: Trekking in the old days

    Hey Michael,

    I was hoping you wld add your thoughts here, I love hearing it!
    I wished I could have been trekking there in the early 70's too, so wild and crazy.

    At least one thing remains the same....the great Himalaya.

    Cheers

  8. #38

    Default Re: Trekking in the old days

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Sunkist
    In the 70's there probably weren't even 50,000 in the entire KTM valley not counting tourists.
    There were approximately 250 000. The majority were Newars. Though you are right on, there has been a tremendous influx of people from the hills. I think the population of Kathmandu today is over a million, and 2 million for the whole valley. It has largely happened without any systematic urban planning. People have simply bought land and built houses. Every time we visit we are taken back by the irrepressible sprawl, and the nasty diesel fumes.

  9. #39
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Indonesia
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    26

    Default Re: Trekking in the old days

    When I was there in 1973 prior to the Coronation there was a shop called "mustang traders" next to my hotel that would have a sign post outside advertising what they had in stock. Grass from Mustang, Afghani Black hash, raw opium and if I am not mistaken German pharmaceutical cocaine.
    There were not many vehicles and if you had a merceedes diesel van that you had driven accross from Europe in it was easy to sell. The black market price for dollars was a lot more than the bank rate. A lot of pie shops. The streets were filthy with a mound down the side of most streets where people pooed.
    Cow shit dried on the walls. You walked everywhere in the city. You needed a trekking permit which we lined up for. There was 2nd hand gear but none of it was knock off like today. The way to Namche started at lomasamgu and went straight up a steep hill that seemed to go on for ever. There were no lodges out side the big places, and then it was everybody sleeping on the floor in one room. There were no signposts so easy to get off the track for a bit but people would always show you the right way. Thodung was a god send because the cheesemakers wife made bread buns and noodles. He had learnt his trade in a small dairy factory in New Zealand, not far from Hawera in Taranaki called Tokoroa. I worked there in the school holidays so we had a lot to talk about. Totally Amazing. I remember spending several days here and waddling off to Namche with a full stomach and a pound of cheese I had bought. Ate twice a day and always dhal bhat. About 10am when we found a bhatti and quite late at night with the family we were staying with. It would cost 3 rupees to sleep in the outside porch on a shelf and have dinner. Inside the hut was very smokey. Had a few run ins with dogs but was never bitten or attacked.
    I recall once a dog lunged and the stake it was tied to came out of the ground...It got as big a shock as I did and when it realised it was free, it put it's head down and slunk off! I did the same but quicker! Luckla airport was open but not a lot of planes. Lamjura La was forrested most of the way. Met a lot of Nepalis walking from town to town and porters. Around 4pm when the people were returning to their homes from the fields they would call out and offer you a place to stay for the night. I think it took almost two weeks to get to Namche Bazaar. There were only a few guest houses and we all slept in dormitaries. It was December and cold. A wash meant jumping in a river or a bowl of warm water. Nobody worried too much about it. I don't remember drinking any soup on the trek but did buy a tin of ex expedition chicken something or other for xmas day. There was no beer outside Kathmandu as I remember. No communication with the outside world outside Kathmandu. I carried the sleeping bag and a few other items myself in a second hand pack I bought in Kathmandu. I wore most of the clothes I had most of the time! The last habited place was periche. There was nothing open in Lobuche and I had to sleep out in a doorless and windowless shelter. It was very cold and the waterbottle I was using for a pillow froze during the night. It was a very still clear night. I remember it well as I had to get up three times during the night and strip off to go to the toilet (Number 2!) That was as high as I got. I was alone. Can't remember anybody talking about Gokyo back then. It was only Everest base camp. Compared to the information out there today it is a wonder we made it as far as we did. To the best of my memory I only remember one guy with a porter. He had a huge pack. Most of us didn't pack much...Didn't really have a schedule and took each day as it came. You would meet people on the trail for a night and if they were not walking at the same pace they either moved ahead or fell behind as the case may be. It was mainly young people. Today it is predominantly older people..(Above 40?) Times change and memories fade..it is good to reminisce....

  10. #40
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Indonesia
    Posts
    26

    Default Re: Trekking in the old days

    When I was there in 1973 prior to the Coronation there was a shop called "mustang traders" next to my hotel that would have a sign post outside advertising what they had in stock. Grass from Mustang, Afghani Black hash, raw opium and if I am not mistaken German pharmaceutical cocaine.
    There were not many vehicles and if you had a merceedes diesel van that you had driven accross from Europe in it was easy to sell. The black market price for dollars was a lot more than the bank rate. A lot of pie shops. The streets were filthy with a mound down the side of most streets where people pooed.
    Cow shit dried on the walls. You walked everywhere in the city. You needed a trekking permit which we lined up for. There was 2nd hand gear but none of it was knock off like today. The way to Namche started at lomasamgu and went straight up a steep hill that seemed to go on for ever. There were no lodges out side the big places, and then it was everybody sleeping on the floor in one room. There were no signposts so easy to get off the track for a bit but people would always show you the right way. Thodung was a god send because the cheesemakers wife made bread buns and noodles. He had learnt his trade in a small dairy factory in New Zealand, not far from Hawera in Taranaki called Tokoroa. I worked there in the school holidays so we had a lot to talk about. Totally Amazing. I remember spending several days here and waddling off to Namche with a full stomach and a pound of cheese I had bought. Ate twice a day and always dhal bhat. About 10am when we found a bhatti and quite late at night with the family we were staying with. It would cost 3 rupees to sleep in the outside porch on a shelf and have dinner. Inside the hut was very smokey. Had a few run ins with dogs but was never bitten or attacked.
    I recall once a dog lunged and the stake it was tied to came out of the ground...It got as big a shock as I did and when it realised it was free, it put it's head down and slunk off! I did the same but quicker! Luckla airport was open but not a lot of planes. Lamjura La was forrested most of the way. Met a lot of Nepalis walking from town to town and porters. Around 4pm when the people were returning to their homes from the fields they would call out and offer you a place to stay for the night. I think it took almost two weeks to get to Namche Bazaar. There were only a few guest houses and we all slept in dormitaries. It was December and cold. A wash meant jumping in a river or a bowl of warm water. Nobody worried too much about it. I don't remember drinking any soup on the trek but did buy a tin of ex expedition chicken something or other for xmas day. There was no beer outside Kathmandu as I remember. No communication with the outside world outside Kathmandu. I carried the sleeping bag and a few other items myself in a second hand pack I bought in Kathmandu. I wore most of the clothes I had most of the time! The last habited place was periche. There was nothing open in Lobuche and I had to sleep out in a doorless and windowless shelter. It was very cold and the waterbottle I was using for a pillow froze during the night. It was a very still clear night. I remember it well as I had to get up three times during the night and strip off to go to the toilet (Number 2!) That was as high as I got. I was alone. Can't remember anybody talking about Gokyo back then. It was only Everest base camp. Compared to the information out there today it is a wonder we made it as far as we did. To the best of my memory I only remember one guy with a porter. He had a huge pack. Most of us didn't pack much...Didn't really have a schedule and took each day as it came. You would meet people on the trail for a night and if they were not walking at the same pace they either moved ahead or fell behind as the case may be. It was mainly young people. Today it is predominantly older people..(Above 40?) Times change and memories fade..it is good to reminisce....

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