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Posts Tagged ‘travel’

Home Sweet SF

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The Khalerias made it home safe, after 15 months on the road. Thanks for all the welcome back emails/phone calls/etc etc. We’ve been home for about a week, and in San Francisco for some of the most glorious weather I’ve seen here.  I’m so, so beyond happy to be back.

IMG_0047 We’ve been spending the past few days wandering around the city, enjoying the weather, and catching up with friends.

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(My new Iphone took all of these pics. Pretty incredible!)

So far the culture shock has been pretty minimal, since we had an epic two weeks in Australia with friends to acclimate.

Amongst the drinks with friends, looking for a job, and going to Giants pre-season games, I’ll be getting some back photos posted from the rest of our trip – from Albania through the Balkans, to Oktoberfest, Nepal, and Southeast Asia.

I mean it this time. After the temporary hate-hate-hate relationship I developed with my camera, Lightroom, and this computer (which is bound to happen when you have it strapped to your hip every day for 15 months) I’m excited to get The Khalerias Blog up and running again. And I’m even thinking of starting a site where you can get a nice pic or two to hang on your wall.

Stay tuned!

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See you in a month!

Mark your calendars. Throw us a party.

After 15 months, 23 countries, and countless adventures, the Khalerias are packing up and headed home on March 22nd!

Don’t worry… I still have about 7 months of photos to post. And I will get there, I promise.

See you stateside!

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The Khalerias have purchased a motorbike in Saigon (aptly named the Easy Rider), and are headed on a road trip through Vietnam over the next month.

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We are about three days into our ride, in a beautiful city named Da Lat. The festivities for Tet (Vietnamese New Year) are exciting, but mostly just make it hard to find rooms anywhere. Although I did get accosted by a dragon the other night at dinner…

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Two Khalerias and one Easy Rider, on a sand dune in Mui Ne, Vietnam

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I apologize for the lack of blogging lately. No excuse, other than pure laziness. Coming up, more on Vietnam, and a religious festival that involved Ali Baba, seven tourists, one sheep, and three thousand drunk Albanians.

Happy Superbowl weekend, Americanos! Someone wear a cheesehead and eat too many Doritos for me.

An exciting sidenote: The Khalerias are featured on Travelblogs.com! Check us out here.

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Thorong La Pass, at 5416m, is the highest point in the Annapurna Circuit, and offers 360° views of the Himalayas.

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The last week of the trek was hiking down 4000m, and the back up to Poon Hill for a spectacular view of the whole Annapurna Range.

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The second week of the Annapurna Circuit brings ice cold nights, steep climbs, and the infamous Himalayas.
We spent a few days in a city called Manang: resting, doing some side hikes, and spoiling ourselves at the only real restaurant/bakery on the trek.

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The paths in and around Manang were lined with with Mary Jane. The goats seemed to like it as much as the locals.

Ice Lake – named as such because of the reflections of the Annapurna mountains on the water – is a 1000m, tough climb from Manang but worth it since barely anyone makes the trek.DSC05082

DSC05065 The next few days were spent making our way to ‘High Base Camp’ to make the final 500m ascent to Thorong La Pass.

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High Camp

After one night at high camp, we headed out early the next morning for the pass.

(The Khalerias have been serious beach bums over the last two weeks – enjoying the sun, surf, and snorkeling in Nusa Lembongan and Gili Trawangan, Indonesia… I’ll hopefully be back to reality and online soon!)

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The Annapurna Circuit is a 230km loop through the Annapurna Range in the Nepalese Himalayas. The hike, taking anywhere from 12-21 days, commences with a 5416m pass and 360° views of the Himalayas. Spanning through rice paddies, deserts, tiny villages, and glaciers, the trek challenges the mind as much as the knees.

On October 7th, 2010, The Khalerias, along with friends Alex Parsons and Josh Phillips, took a 9 hour bus ride from Kathmandu to Besishahar, the starting point for the trek.

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A bridge on the way in. It took us over an hour to cross, as the bridge wasn’t able to handle the weight of more than one car at a time.

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Josh rode rooftop (among 10-12 locals, and all our luggage) for about half the trip – a much more comfortable option compared to the cramped seating.

(Thanks to Parsons for these first few photos)

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The start of the hike was surprising – I was expecting cold, ice, snow, mountains – but instead it was humid, green, lush rice paddies. After about a thousand feet of elevation and two days of hiking, the lushness started to mix with dramatic mountains and cliffs. IMG_0411

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Local kids wait for tourists to get to the river crossing, and quickly set up stones to lead you across. Then they ask for money.

**The only English words we heard a Nepalese child speak through our entire trek were ‘sweets’, ‘candy’, and ‘money’. At some point years ago, trekkers started bringing bags of sweets to hand out to the local kids. While this seems like a good idea at first, in reality it teaches the children to be beggars at a young age. If you head to Nepal, or anywhere in the Himalayas to trek, please respect the idea that children gain nothing from a piece of candy besides the expectation that anyone with a backpack owes them something. If you want to help, the tourism commissions in Nepal ask you to bring school supplies (pencils, notebooks) to hand out instead.**

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Herds

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A porter carrying at least 50kg on his back.

Since you hike from village to village, it is easy enough to carry your own supplies and a porter isn’t necessary. But every Coke that you buy, or Oreo that you eat, has to be carried in since there are no roads connecting the whole circuit. A guide we met told us that some porters carry up to 80kg, more than 125% of their own weight, up to 5000m elevation. They are undoubtedly some of the most amazing people I have ever come across.

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Next up: Part two. About a week into the trek, the weather started to shift from hot/humid to freezing, and the mountains went from dramatic and stark to snow covered…

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Merry December 25th from The Khalerias. I hope you are spending the day relaxing with loved ones, stuffing your face, downloading apps for your new Iphone4, and being happy in general.

Today we are celebrating one year on the road, and anticipating an amazing New Years Eve 2011 in Bali with great friends.

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Thanks for spending the last year following us.

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