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    Archive for November, 2006

    Day 235 – “Are you on drugs too?”

    Thursday, November 30th, 2006

    “If we always do what we have always done, we will always get what we have always got” Citat fra dagens udgave af The Kathmandu Post.

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    WT-article in national Danish paper every forthnight…

    Wednesday, November 29th, 2006

    This notice probably isn’t of much interest to you non-Danish speaking people out there. Anyway, every second Friday I write an article (some with photos) from the Worldtraveller-expedition that’s published in the Danish national paper MetroXpress, available in…well, Denmark only! Next article is out this Friday December 1st 2006 and is about – happy people :-)

    Nicolai

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    Day 234 – A night with Pim de Keisergracht

    Wednesday, November 29th, 2006

    Sorry, but this post is not available in English

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    Day 233 – The Spiritual Frequency

    Tuesday, November 28th, 2006

    Sorry, but this post is not available in English

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    New diary entries (only photos for non-Danish guests :-(

    Monday, November 27th, 2006

    I’ve come down from the elephant back in the Chitwan National Park in southern Nepal from where I saw the infamous white rhino. Am now in Pokhara, Nepal and am really enjoying the lovely Himalayan views and the relaxed atmosphere among hordes of other travellers. After a long neglect the diary has now been updated with photos…and text for you guys able to read the Danish version of WT!

    Happy X-mas December!

    Nicolai

    The Bodhnath Stupa - one of the most important religious sites in the Hindu world. Kathmandu, Nepal.

    Monkey mother and monkey baby...Swayambunath, Kathmandu.

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    Day 232 – Pokhara delight

    Monday, November 27th, 2006

    Playing ludo in the grass...Pokhara, Nepal

    The lake Phewa Tal in Pokhara.

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    Day 231 – World Peace Pagoda

    Sunday, November 26th, 2006

    Sunset over Phewa Lake, Pokhara.

    World Peace Pagoda, Pokhara.

    Phewa Lake - Pokhara

    I could die for that view! Himalaya, Nepal.

    Finding accomodation in Pokhara is hardly any problem!

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    Day 230 – The Himalaya Views – Myth or Reality?

    Saturday, November 25th, 2006

    Daytrip: 33 km

    Splendid Himalaya views from Sarangkot.

    Characteristic Machapuchare or Fish Tail Mountain...Nepalese Himalaya.

    One of the huge Annapurnas, +8000m!

    The magic Himalayan views weren't a myth after all!

    Pokhara temple.

    Sadhu (with a leopard skin) in Pokhara.

    Scary monster!

    Girl with red hands after playing with the colours used at the temple ceremonies

    Women at a wedding ceremony. Pokhara suburbs.

    Appropriately, this cave is named The Bat Cave...Jesus!

    Nepalis enjoying a Saturday picnic...Mahendra Cave area, Pokhara.

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    Day 229 – Pokhara arrival

    Friday, November 24th, 2006

    Sauraha ->Pokhara (marathon day!)
    Distance (km) : 149
    Time on bike : 7h 44m
    Brutto time: 8.30 – 17.30 (dark)
    Avg : 19.13 km/h
    Total (km) : 11030

    Chitwan hazzards!

    Nice cycling between Chitwan and Pokhara.

    Typical Nepali village. East of Pokhara.

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    Day 228 – Bike cruising in Sauraha

    Thursday, November 23rd, 2006

    La Belle Epoque. Rupti River - Sauraha, Nepal

    Wooden canoe on the Rupti River - Sauraha, Nepal

    Sauraha village. Time for a shower, kids...

    Primitive living near Sauraha, Chitwan - Nepal

    Water buffalo in Sauraha. Chitwan, Nepal

    Plant, close-up. Sauraha.

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    Day 227 – Elephant safari in Chitwan

    Wednesday, November 22nd, 2006

    Muddy waters in Chitwan...

    From the back of a elephant in Royal Chitwan National Park

    My Dutch companions on the elephant ride through the Chitwan jungle...

    From the back of a elephant in Royal Chitwan National Park

    Curious elephant in Sauraha, Royal Chitwan National Park

    Shower time! Chitwan NP

    Elephant eye. Chitwan NP.

    11 years of insurgency is finally over in Nepal. Hopefully peace will last! November 2006.

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    Day 226 – “Whereareyoufrommisterwhereareyougoinghow…”

    Tuesday, November 21st, 2006

    Day 226 – 21NOV06: Parlung -> Sauraha, Chitwan National Park (hotel)
    Distance (km) : 141
    Time on bike : 7h 22m
    Brutto time: 7.00 – 17.00
    Avg : 19.11 km/h
    Total (km) : 10869

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    Day 225 – Kathmandu -> Parlung

    Monday, November 20th, 2006

    Kathmandu -> Parlung (private room)
    Distance (km) : 67
    Time on bike : 4h 53m
    Brutto time: 12.30 – 18.20 (darkness)
    Avg : 13.65 km/h
    Total (km) : 10728

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    Day 224 – The Stallion of Life

    Sunday, November 19th, 2006

    Sadhu - holy man, Thamel, Kathmandu/Nepal

    IMG_4341

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    Day 223 – “Are you Swedish, sir?”

    Saturday, November 18th, 2006

    More or less creative sayings from the annoying street hawks of Thamel, Kathmandu….It goes something like this:

    “Yes, sir, you buy something”
    “You wanna fly” (drug-dealer)
    “Give me Rupee, sir”
    “Hello, Jean Pierre!” (nok pga. min sorte, kirgisiske hyrdehat)
    “How are you today, mister?”
    “Excuse me, rickshaw?”
    “Yes, taxi!”
    “Yes, rickshaw!”
    “Yes, smoke!” (drug-dealeren igen)
    “Yes, cocaine!” (igen-igen)
    “Yes, buy something, sir!”
    “Are you Swedish, sir?”
    “Smoke, hashishhhh, crack, coke, anything…You buy?”
    “You buy banana today? Maybe tomorrow?”
    “Have a look inside, sir”
    “You buy me sandwich” (sure!)
    “Looking free”

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    Day 222 – The trash sorting community of Kathmandu

    Friday, November 17th, 2006

    Kathmandu rush-hour!

    Kids of the garbage sorting family. Near Bagmati River in one of the suburbs of Kathmandu.

    Sorting the trash in a Kathmandu suburb...

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    Day 221 – The Morbid Fascination…

    Thursday, November 16th, 2006

    The following photos aren’t for the faint-hearted – consider yourself warned!

    Pashupatinath Temple and cremation site...

    Mourning women at the Pashupatinath cremation ghats...Kathmandu, Nepal

    Emotional outburst at the Pashupatinath cremation site, Kathmandu - Nepal

    Mourning women next to their beloved one...

    Erotic wood carvings at the Pashupatinath Temple. Yeah, who's your daddy now?

    Cremation at the Pashupatinath Temple...

    Cremation, Pashupatinath - Katmmandu

    Cremation, Pashupatinath - Katmmandu

    Cremation, Pashupatinath - Kathmandu

    Sadhu (holy man) near Pashupatinath, Kathmandu

    Mirror reflexions...

    Keep that prayer wheel turning! Bodhnath, Kathmandu Valley

    The Bodhnath Stupa - one of the most important religious sites in the Hindu world. Kathmandu, Nepal.

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    Day 220 – Writing in Kathmandu…

    Wednesday, November 15th, 2006

    Nepali dolls

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    New photos from Nepal…

    Tuesday, November 14th, 2006

    New photos from Nepal are ready here! or see them as a slideshow here

    I´m sorry that there isn’t any text on many photos yet. The day is also limitid to 24 hours here in WT World and I choose to publish the photos while they are still up-to-date and sort of reflect where I’m at…

    Enjoy!

    Nicolai

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    Day 219 – The Real Sick Dog!

    Tuesday, November 14th, 2006

    Sick dog!

    Chickens all dressed up for the feast...

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    Article in the LUKSUS outdoor magazine (Danish only)

    Tuesday, November 14th, 2006

    Just before venturing into the Tibetan wilderness I wrote an article for the Danish extreme outdoor magazine (that’s how they promote themselves anyway!). The article is right here (pdf-format). Because of bad@-connections I haven’t actually seen the article yet, but supposedly a few photos from the expedition will appear as well – for you non-Danish speaking crowd :-) Enjoy!

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    Day 218 – The Mud (part 2)

    Monday, November 13th, 2006

    Danish Butter Cookies - in Nepal...

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    Day 217 – The Mud (from the belly)

    Sunday, November 12th, 2006

    Colours of Nepal...

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    Day 216 – Animal sacrifice (or when goats loose their head)

    Saturday, November 11th, 2006

    Dakshinkali Temple (animal sacrifice). South of Kathmandu, Nepal

    Dakshinkali Temple (animal sacrifice). South of Kathmandu, Nepal

    Dakshinkali Temple (animal sacrifice). South of Kathmandu, Nepal

    Your days are over, dude!

    Dakshinkali Temple (animal sacrifice). South of Kathmandu, Nepal

    Young salesgirl at Dakshinkali, Kathmandu Valley

    Struggling in the rice fields...

    Kathmandu Valley agriculture...

    Rice field workers. Parpeng, Kathmandu Valley.

    Young monk at a local eatery. Kathmandu Valley, November 2006.

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    Day 215 – Monkeys at the Swayambunath temple

    Friday, November 10th, 2006

    Low caste girl at the Swayambunath temple, Kathmandu

    Swayambunath Temple, Kathmandu

    Candles inside a monastery at the Swayambunath Temple, Kathmandu

    Monkey mother. Swayambunath - Kathmandu

    Baby monkey. Swayambunath - Kathmandu

    Baby monkey at Swayambunath. Adorable!

    Baby monkey...

    Monks turning the prayer wheels at Swayambunath, Kathmandu

    Nepali woman in Kathmandu.

    Monks at a Swayambunath monastery, Kathmandu

    Turning prayer wheels at  Swayambunath, Kathmandu

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    Day 214 – My first year as an anthropologist…

    Thursday, November 9th, 2006

    Sorry, but this post is not available in English

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    Pictures from Tibet (taken by cyclist Rich)

    Wednesday, November 8th, 2006

    From Saga in Western Tibet and to the Chinese bordertown Zhangmu next to Nepal I enjoyed the great company of Rich, a fellow cyclist originally from Slovakia, living in NYC.

    We cycled together for 4 adventurous days along some very rough and windy (and beautiful, i.e!) roads on top of the Tibetan Plateau…

    Rich has posted some photos from those days…Check’em out below!

    Richard Nacin’s photos from Western Tibet…

    Nicolai Bangsgaard

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    Day 213 – Daytripping in Kathmandu

    Wednesday, November 8th, 2006

    Enjoying a western breakfast on one of Kathmandus roof top restaurants...La Vie Douce!

    Young boys playing near a Hindu temple, Thamel - Kathmandu.

    Peacock feathers on display in Thamel, Kathmandu.

    Nepali girl in Kathmandu.

    Stupa in Kathmandu...

    Kathmandu street scene...

    Brass ware for sale. Kathmandu, Nepal.

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    Day 212 – Kathmandu!!!

    Tuesday, November 7th, 2006

    Dolalghat -> Kathmandu!
    Distance (km) : 60
    Time on bike : 4h 26m
    Brutto time: 7.45 – 13.45
    Avg : 13.50 km/h
    Total (km) : 10661

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    Day 211 – Hello Nepal!

    Monday, November 6th, 2006

    Zhangmu (CHN)-> Dolalghat (Nepal) (Fish Kitchen Hotel!)
    Distance (km) : 70
    Time on bike : 4h 28m
    Brutto time: 10.00 – 16.00
    Avg : 15.65 km/h
    Total (km) : 10601

    Welcome to Kingdom of Nepal! Thank you!

    Local bus rushing through the village of Dolalghat...Mad drivers!

    Almost Maldivean scenery on the Bhote Kosi River side...

    For me there's never a right time for a flat tyre. Hrmpfh!!!

    Rice, rice, rice

    Nepali agriculture anno 2006

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    From a Chinese Border Town…

    Sunday, November 5th, 2006

    Just a short update here from the Chinese border town Zhangmu at the Nepalese border. I arrived today after 2 of the most beautiful (and also tough!) cycling days ever. Crossed the 5050m Tong La Pass yesterday from where fantastic views covered the horizon. Don’t know if the gooseskin was caused by the terrible and ice cold wind or by the visual beauty.

    At the Tong La Pass (5050m), Friedship Highway, Tibet.

    I’m now at lower altitude, around 2350m and the warm air is a free gift! The sight & smell of trees again after a month on the barren and desolate Tibetan Plateau is a godsend! The down-hill ride was out of this world.

    Rich crossing the icy cold river near the Friendship Hgw, Tibet.

    Tomorrow I’ll cross the Nepalese border and I feel very excited about it! Nepal…

    Did someone say pizzas and cold Tuborgs?

    Nicolai

    Getting them sleepy sheep out of the village!

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    Day 210 – Goodbye Tibet!

    Sunday, November 5th, 2006

    “Goat Village” -> Zhangmu (hotel)
    Distance (km) : 69
    Time on bike : 3h 50m
    Brutto time: 9.00 – 15.00
    Avg : 17.96 km/h
    Total (km) : 10531

    Early morning in the goat village...

    Getting them sleepy sheep out of the village! Western Tibet

    Splendid cycling towards the Nepali border on the Friendship Hwy, Tibet...

    South of Nyalam. Again - perfect downhill cycling!

    Down, down, down...Friendship Hwy, Tibet! Yihaa!!

    Tibetan wildlife...

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    Day 209 – Highway to Hell or Stairway to Heaven?

    Saturday, November 4th, 2006

    Km-marker 128 -> “Goat Village” (Friendship Hwy)
    Distance (km) : 70
    Time on bike : 6h 03m
    Brutto time: 8.45 – 17.00
    Avg : 11.64 km/h
    Total (km) : 10463

    Near Betse, Western Tibet...

    Rich crossing the icy cold river near the Friendship Hgw, Tibet.

    Washing time!

    Tong La pass, 5050m

    Highway to Hell or Stairway to Heaven?

    A happy Nicolai at the Tong La pass, 5050m...

    Fabulous mountain views just after the Tong La Pass (5050m). Tibet.

    The Goat Village...

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    Day 208 – When enjoying the cycling is so hard…

    Friday, November 3rd, 2006

    Km-marker 60 -> Km-marker 128 (park house, dorm.)
    Distance (km) : 69
    Time on bike : 6h 02m
    Brutto time: 9.00 – 17.00
    Avg : 11.42 km/h
    Total (km) : 10392

    Staying overnight in a road maintenance camp south of Saga...

    Rich and I just before the 4935m pass on the short-cut route south of Saga, Western Tibet...

    Having a well deserved the & biscuit break!

    Along with the snow, the terrible washboard road and the headwind made cycling a nightmare...

    Sudden guests at the Tibetan Plateau! You're most welcome, ladies!

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    Day 207 – Roughing it in Western Tibet (again!)

    Thursday, November 2nd, 2006

    Saga -> Km-marker 60 (dormitory)
    Distance (km) : 66
    Time on bike : 5h 48m
    Brutto time: 10.00 – 17.00
    Avg : 11.37 km/h
    Total (km) : 10323

    Yet another totally deserted piece of Tibetan land...South of Saga.

    Rich fighting his way up a mountain pass at 4800m. Short-cut road south of Saga towards Friendship Hwy.

    These regions just aren't made for human beings...Tibet, 2006

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    Rather exaggerate than being boring!

    Wednesday, November 1st, 2006

    The expedition has now crossed the first half year and although it sure feels like a long time ago since I left Denmark, the counter on the front page doesn’t quite match the actual number of travelling days.

    I’ve asked Pablo, aka the Bug Hunter, to have a look at the strange phenomenon…

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    New photos from Tibet and China!

    Wednesday, November 1st, 2006

    New photos from Tibet and China are ready here!

    Nicolai

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    Heading towards Nepal!

    Wednesday, November 1st, 2006

    Having reached the super holy Mt. Kailash (6656m) by bicycle from Denmark was a great thing for me. Magical moment...

    Wow, it’s hard to put to words what those last weeks have offered. Tibet has without doubt been one of the most unique travel experiences ever. The Tibetan Plateau is a very challenging place to be and I’m deeply impressed by the way the Tibetans get along here.

    The challenge of crossing Tibet by bicycle has been complete to me:

    Physically, the mountains, my unlucky crash and the badly hurt hand (it’s relatively fine again though not totally functionable), the thin air that has given me many problems breathing espec. during the nights, the unexiting food and the incredible coldness that dominates 24-7 (and that makes it highly inconvenient to go to the outside toilet at night ‘cos ass and balls get all frozen even before you’re done!) have been some of the things I’ve struggled with.

    Mentally, the isolation, the occasional total lack of social contact, the longing thoughts to all the folks back home that I love, the knowledge that there’s no easy way out, the thin air (again), the loneliness, the great distances have been tough.

    The remarkable thing and what makes it so hard to describe my Tibetan experiences is, nonetheless, the way the physical and mental challenges has played tricks on me phychologically. The thoughts have been flying and at times claustrophobic and very hard to control. I’ve had a hard time sticking to that part of me that for the first 6 months of the expedition has been cycling with a figurative fist in the air and that has met the world and its unpredictabilities with optimism.

    Being alone in the enormous mountains in the unpleasant coldness is hard psychologically and has reveiled a
    certain fragility in me that I really didn’t like but which has been a learning experience for me.

    Setting sun over the totally deserted Aksay Chin Plateau (4800m), Western Tibet - with a badly hurt right hand!

    I’m now in a smaller town, Saga where I arrived by bus yesterday. For 5 crazy days I waited in a little Tibetan village, Huore with 2 American cyclists, Chris and Sage (check Sages blog here).

    The climate was just to much for all of us, the joy of cycling had dissappeared so we decided to hitch a ride to Saga, 460 km. But it soon proved to be a lot harder than expected. Practically no trafic at all and those 2-4 truck that passed us daily were afraid of the police and refused to take us.

    After 5 days the weekly bus finally arrived. I was close to exploding out of pure frustration! The good thing about it was that all the waiting gave me a good opportunity to anthropologically make a small field study of the Art of Waiting. But goddammit, I could have been without that experience!

    I got very emotional when I checked my email inbox yesterday. So many encouraging and positive sounds from here & there. Thanks a lot for that, guys. It means a lot to me. Please, let the piano play. The sounds keep me going also (and especially) when the gioing gets tough! Thanks!

    Tomorrow I’ll leave Saga with a Slovakian/American guy, Rich (see his blog here) and head towards Nepal (ca. 400 km). I’ve had enough of the Tibetan Challenge and are really looking forward to Kathmandus lowland climate, the social life, gastronomical selection, that I vividly remember from my first Nepal visit in 1996. I plan on being in Kathmandu in around a week from where I’ll be back with more news on WT. I need a long rest, to socialize, drink beers and I’m confident that Kathmandu is the right place for that!

    Again, thank you very much for the mental support. It feels almost physical and it makes me happy…

    Nicolai

    Morning camp in the middle of Nowhere....Aksay Chin Plateau, 4800m

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    Day 206 – WT HQ-day

    Wednesday, November 1st, 2006

    Saga downtown...Western Tibet.

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