I had a few days in Kathmandu to kill before my flight out, but I soon decided to get out of the city for a night because even if I like Kathmandu a general strike was called. Nepal is in the middle of writing a new constitution and various political parties organize strikes among the general population in order to assert their authority, or something- enforced by thugs going around who will smash your windows with rocks if you’re open- and while you won’t starve there are no taxis or shops or anything much going on during one. (Really. The day I was going to Kathmandu from Pokhara I had to fly because the buses weren’t running, and had to walk to the airport because there was no way to get a taxi.) So running off into the mountains to do canyoning the day of the strike sounded like a good plan to me!
The Last Resort is a nice place about three hours north of Kathmandu on the way to the Tibet border- they organize things like canyoning, rafting, and general chilling in a lovely area. Their most famous ticket to fame though is a 170m bungy jump which is the only one in Nepal and is incredibly popular on jump days, right off this suspension bridge you need to cross to get to the resort from the road.
The view down from the bridge- needless to say, Nepal is not a country you should visit if you have a fear of heights. I am now retired from bungy jumping, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy the thrill of looking down at the rushing river beneath me and exclaiming “wow, this bridge sure looks rickety!” so a pair of nervous girls could overhear me. (It wasn’t. Suspension bridges these days have concrete pylons and are made of steel in Nepal and can hold a hundred people, but remember you’re reading the blog of a girl who had fun in high school convincing her physics class cruise control means a car can drive itself.)
But anyway, canyoning! Also known as abseiling…
I’d never done this before actually, so here’s how it works. First you get dressed up in super cool gear like you see above, then it’s basically what you do while coming down a rock climbing wall- clip into the rope, have a dude below to make sure you can’t slip, and walk down keeping your legs straight while sitting so your body is in a ninety degree angle. All the while you’re doing it in a creek so things are rather slippery so you concentrate on not losing your footing, and keep letting rope out slowly but surely. Pretty fun, though it’s best to not think too far ahead and I wouldn’t recommend looking down on the bigger ones-
As I said, fun right? Funny thing was there were five of us doing it, me, two Canadian girls, and two Indian guys, and I consistently led the troops as the Canadian girls were too scared and the Indian guys were idiots who came in sneakers and kept looking down and freaking out and slipping. (They also chucked plastic water bottles down the hillside once done with them and told me I should be traveling with my boyfriend instead of solo within two minutes of meeting me. What always confuses me about such pickup lines is this apparent assumption that they would work.)
So if you find yourself in Kathmandu and they announce a strike, I can certainly recommend heading for the hills for some canyoning fun instead. It’s definitely a cool feeling to look up at the end of a long climb down and exclaim “wow, I did that?!“