The Website of Roy Richards
Woof! Welcome to

Nepal April-May 2006

Back in Kathmandu - at last!

The dogs may bark but the caravan moves on…..
A visit to Nepal at the height of the political troubles of April 2006


When Liz and I first met, we soon discovered that we had many common interests. At the time we were both keen SCUBA divers, but it wasn’t long before we found that we were both keen on camping and hiking also. This soon led us to think about going off on a hiking holiday together. We’d both dreamed of visiting Nepal, so naturally it wasn’t long before we had a full blown expedition to Everest base camp planned.

That trip was magnificent. It wasn’t just the hiking that we enjoyed; it was the whole experience, the wonderful people, their way of life, and the amazing terrain in which they live. That started a long love affair with Nepal. We visited every year for eleven years. Each year we would spend around five weeks trekking, in ever more out of the way places. As soon as we got back, we were busy planning our next trek.

In 1998 we trekked around Mt. Manaslu, and then on to Pokhara. Sometimes we just trekked as a couple, but on other occasions we had friends join us. On that particular trek, our friends Nick and Ross joined us on an amazing journey around the spectacular Manaslu massif.

On our return, I became ill with diarrhoea. This wasn’t unusual. It was quite common for us to pick up some sort of tummy bug at the end of a trek, when we were relaxed and took less care over food hygiene. However, this episode was a little different, and my illness dragged on for some time. After much medical investigation, I was diagnosed with a form of lymphoma. This is a cancer that affects the immune system, which explained my failure to recover from a tummy bug!

That was the start of another long and tough trek. This particular journey involved twenty months of hospital treatment, and I’d like to think that our love of trekking helped in this. Whenever I was discharged from hospital, we would go off on long walks as a means of regaining my fitness. This, I’m sure, helped me prepare for the next bout of chemotherapy. Eventually I underwent a stem cell transplant, which we hope will turn out to be a long term cure for my lymphoma.

As autumn came and went each year, it seemed strange not to be setting off for our annual trekking holiday in Nepal. At first it felt like breaking a long held tradition, but as time wore on, we gradually got used to not going. This continued, because even though my treatment appeared to be successful, the doctors felt that further trips could not be recommended, because my immunity may remain impaired.

In April 2006, nearly six years after my transplant, and eight years since our last trek, we found that we had an opportunity to take a short break before the long hot summer of Abu Dhabi set in. We saw an advert with a special offer of a short holiday in Kathmandu, at a very reasonable cost. We thought, “Why Not”? It wouldn’t be like going on a trek, and I was sure my immunity was up to a short visit. One thing led to another, and our short visit turned into a short trek for old times’ sake. This then turned into a more ambitious plan to do a seven day trek which later got extended to two weeks visit with ten days of trekking!

This all fell into place very quickly. We'd obviously rekindled a flame which had remained smouldering inside us, and once the idea had formed, there was no going back. Our plans were going well, and everything seemed so easy to organise. Easy that is, until we learned of the rapid deterioration of the political situation in Nepal! We knew of the ongoing troubles, and we never considered that to be enough to put us off visiting. However, the latest developments were much more serious.

From the point of view of our personal safety, we now had to think carefully about cancelling or delaying our holiday. All governments were advising against anything but essential travel to Nepal. This in itself wasn’t too much of a concern to us. It seems that these days they issue such advice at the drop of a hat in order to protect themselves from criticism, rather than out of a desire to give meaningful advice to travellers.

We listened to every news bulletin, and dredged the internet looking for up to date information, to help us make a decision. We were in touch with our friend Nurbu, who organises all of our treks. He reassured us that things weren’t as bad as they appeared on the news reports. I found a web forum where residents, and tourists in Kathmandu, were saying that as long as you used common sense, then it was still safe to visit. To be honest, I think we would have gone ahead regardless, but it was nice to have at least a little bit of positive news.

Right up until we left for the airport, the news reports showed the situation in Kathmandu worsening, and it had become the top story of every bulletin. It may seem that we were mad to contemplate a trip at this time, but hopefully our history will go some way to explaining why we didn’t back out.

With that long-winded justification out of the way, what follows is the story of our adventure. I hope you enjoy sharing it with us.

<Return to Nepal Page>

© Roy L Richards 2012
Contact for problems, queries etc:

Updated Jan 2010

Have pack will travel

UAE Interact site

Valid HTML 4.01!