A couple weeks back we went out to the country side with some friends from the school we work at to visit a little get away “resort” in Balthali Village. We were dropped off by van and hiked in a couple miles to get to the lodging. Unfortunately, it w as still monsoon season, so we didn’t get to see any of the wondrous views of the big mountains that this end of the valley boasts, but there was still a great deal for the eyes to soak in. There were a couple of burma style bridges to cross, first there was the big one. The image can’t convey the roughly 250 meter drop that it spans. The second smaller bridge emptied out in a little valley lush with rice crops.
The “Little” Bridge
We also came across some beautiful elders along the way that seemed very happy to see us climbing up to the village.
The view looking down from one of the “hills” down onto the location of the lodging where we spend the weekend on top of another hill, along with an image of the paths and terracing of the rice fields below the “resort” where we stayed. Hunter and I had great fun “adventuring” on the trails around the lodge.
The “Big” Bridge With Prayer Flags
It’s been a week since we arrived in Nepal, and it has felt like we entered into a time warp. At some moments, it feels like we’ve just been here a day and at others it feels like it has been much longer than seven days. When we arrived, it was overcast and it remained that way all week with periodic deluges from the heavens. We did after all arrive in the midst of monsoon season, but this is how our day ended:
Kathmandu Sunset August 2, 2013
The view above is from the apartment rooftop of one of our colleagues at the Lincoln School where we will be teaching. We were only offered brief glimpses of the blue sky throughout the week. Most hours were dominated by the low hanging clouds that obscured even the foothills around the city. It will be weeks before the weather clears and we will be able to see the high peaks of the Himalaya from the valley. Our week was spent settling in and taking care of the mundane tasks of unpacking our personal effects and purchasing the essential items we needed that constitute a basically functioning household. Every excursion to procure what we needed has been an adventure in itself. Traffic here is almost beyond description, and I’ll devote time to explaining that later, when I understand how to describe it, for now:
Kathmandu Afternoon Traffic
Kathmandu Monsoon Traffic July 2013
We are enamored with Nepal after a week. There is much that we have to adjust to, but that process has begun. The people are wonderful. Although the traffic appears insanely chaotic, drivers and pedestrians are remarkably civil, smiling at one another as they take turns circumventing the holy bovines that wander the streets of the city and choose to nap in the middle of bridges, more to come on that theme.
Cristo de la Concordia – Christ of Peace
Cristo de la Concordia – the largest Christ statue in the world*
Our son, Hunter, has a fascination with the musical Jesus Christ Superstar that boarders on obsession. So, yesterday we climbed up to the Cristo de la Concordia to visit the monument and appreciate the panoramic views it offers of the entire valley of Cochabamba. I first visited the Cristo in 1994 before it was completed, and we go up to the monument every time we visit Bolivia. At the top of the mountain you will see tourists from all over the globe visiting so they can include the tallest, most massive (2,000 tons+) and highest elevated (≈2,800 meters) Christ monument in the world to their bucket lists.
*The fair people of Poland (and others) will argue that their “Christ the King” monument is the tallest in the world, but the defenders of the faith in Bolivia will argue that the three meter crown placed upon the head of the Polish Cristo shouldn’t count because Christ only worn a crown of thorns. It is akin to counting communication towers as the height of a building. some say. See “The Tallest Statues of Jesus Christ” for more details.
Categories: Andes, Bolivia, Cochabamba, mountains, travel
Tags: Andes, Bolivia, Christ Statue, Cochabamba, Cristo de la Concordia, Jesus Christ, mountain, travel
A vista of the mountains from the balcony of the house in Cochabamba
A few days ago, we awoke to the sight of the northern peaks that surround Cochabamba covered in an alabaster blanket. I captured the above photo from the balcony of the house in the morning. The week after we arrived in Cochabamba, cold moist air from the south pushed its way over the Andes. By “south” I mean the antarctic. These winds bring frigid weather to southern Argentina and Chile but don’t often make it up and over the southern peaks of the Andes into the Valley of Cochabamba. When they do the results can be seen here. These peaks are normally free of snow, and it’s a special treat to see the beautiful contrasts the snow creates on the mountain peaks among Cerro Tunari. The peaks seen here range in elevations from about 13,000 to 15,000 feet. Living below them is a comforting and humbling experience. The photo below was taken later in the same day from a different part of the valley.
El Tunari, Cochabamba, Bolivia – June 26, 2013
Categories: Andes, Bolivia, Cochabamba, mountains, travel, Tunari
Tags: Andes, Bolivia, cerro tunari, Cochabamba, mountain, travel