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  • Ben Church

To the Mountains!

Updated: Mar 20, 2018

Success! We will be leaving Kathmandu for the Manang clinic tomorrow! It only took two weeks of getting letters from the Ministry of Tourism to give to the Ministry of Immigration to get our non tourist visas in order to get letters from the Ministry of Health to give to the Ministry of Medicine to give to the Ministry of Labor to give to the Division of Labor to be able to say: “yes, you can go to Manang”. Super easy! Just kidding, the amount of paperwork and permission is unbelievable. Also, I’m not joking about how many government ministries were involved in this decision. But alas, it’s all done. Say goodbye to dusty Kathmandu and hello fresh air and mountains!











Thamel has really been a pretty great place to spend time though. The food is good, the shops are interesting, the weather has been great with two big thunder and lightning storms, and there are some really wonderful slices of peace in an otherwise very chaotic and dusty city. Also its kind of funny the recurring events that one should absolutely expect as soon as you walk outside the hotel’s sanctuary. Immediately upon stepping onto the street, the rickshaw drivers ask “need rickshaw?” Nope. Next in line are the hash dealers whispering “smoke something? hash?” Nope. After that its the tiger balm hawkers shouting “sir sir, excuse sir! tiger balm?” Nope. Followed quickly by the trekking folks “hey buddy! trekking?” Nope. Squeeze in the occasional chess set merchant and squeaky violin player plus a few other unique offers like “shave face? haircut?” and you’ve got yourself a well rounded walk through the Thamel streets. The offers as first are interesting, then annoying, and eventually get to just be part of the background noise of daily life here.



A few other updates in no particular order. We played trivia again but only got 2nd place (whomp whomp), I tried one of the local drinks here called Tongba which is a fermented millet drink with hot water that tastes very much like warm sake (see wikipedia page here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tongba), I got the dreaded traveler’s diarrhea and then promptly recovered, I finished one of my non-electronic books (Deep Survival) that I got so much grief for back in the States, and finally I got a tattoo of a tibetan dragon across my entire back! Just kiddddddinggggg, I didn’t actually finish my book.


(above, the Manang team. Left to right: Indira, Jenny, me, Liz, Gobi)

(above, the whole team. In the back waving is Simon, Carlo in the orange, Helen smiling in the blue, Liz right behind me, and Jenny has the mask on)



Anyway I’m excited we are FINALLY getting up into the Himalayas. It’s all packing and preparation tonight. It’s gonna be weird not to have Helen, Simon, and Carlo around as we’ve all spent every dinner together these past two weeks. Fingers crossed the weather holds out and the views are endless. I’ll update more once I get settled up at Manang and find a hotel that has WiFi. Eeeeeeek! So excited!

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I'm Ben! I'm an Emergency Room doctor in Massachusetts who loves backpacking. I'm spending 3 months in Manang, Nepal at 11,500ft above sea level from March to June 2018 volunteering with the Himalayan Rescue Association. This is my blog about the experience.

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