Bhaktapur City, Nepal

The rapid spread of the Covoid 19 virus has pretty much stopped travel for the next – unknown while. We can’t stop thinking about travel; places where we have been – or places we would like to visit at some point in the future.

Here goes a little challenge – to post places where you have been starting with the letter ‘B’. Lets see how far we can take this, and see how many letters we can include. 

All photos from March 3, 4, 5 and 6 – 2015.

GoPro2, Fuji XE-1 and X-Pro



All eyes looking straight ahead Walking home from work today, I mentioned to a neighbor that I have been repeating the very same route that i have followed for 20 years – up the hill to work, down for lunch, up after lunch and down again at 5pm.  Each way, is approximately 12 to 15 minutes.  In winder and in summer, rain or shine. Sometime I bike to work – and it takes a few minutes less. For him – it has been 29 years – up and down on the same route. He is totally happy with his commute as he knows the alternatives – driving, train, subway or bus as many people do.

That brought back a memory of a few years ago when I was in Nepal. On this particular day, March 1, 2015 I was returning to Kathmandu from Syabrubesi afer completing the Langtang Trek. The trek was certainly memorable, even with symptoms of altitude sickness and having a stupendus headaches for three days (actually, it felt like long nail jabbed through my forehead).  The commute – Yes, the bus ride was certainly one to remember. Add in, fog and rain – along with many ill passengers – Just what was that liquid sloshing all over the floor ….!!

I was fortunate to be up front. Myself feeling a bit ill – but not wanting to empty my guts out the window, as it would have gone in through one of the other windows farther back. 

Occasionally we could feel the bus slide in the loose gravel or mud. Time seemed to stand still until the wheels caught and the bus resumed moving forward. I had mistakenly read the news prior to entering the bus and learned that another bus has slid off the road and down a steep ravine and everyone was killed.   In Nepal – bus crashes are common and with deadly results especially on the windy narrow un-paved single lane mountain roads that are carved into the hill sides with abundant blind- hairpin turns. Say that ten times fast.  Thee are no guard rails – anywhere. Usually the bus crashes are blamed on overloaded busses, poor road conditions and poorly maintained vehicles.

Obviously, my bus ride wasn’t so dramatic. A couple of pictures to show the roads, bus and some of the fellow passengers.

Yes – that 15 minute commute doesn’t seem that bad after all. Click on the pictures to make them bigger.


All photos taken with a Fuji X-Pro1 and Fujinon 14mm lens.

Trekking in Nepal – Top 10 things to Bring

In February 2015, I completed two multi-day treks in Nepal, including the 5-day Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek, and 8-day Langtang Valley Trek. The list below is based on what I learned along the way, and a recommendation to those trekkers whom do not know what to bring – and end up bringing far too much, and are burdened by very heavy backpacks while trekking in the low-oxygen air !.

In a few words: When trekking – Less is better.

Top 10 things to Bring:

  1. Passport (photocopy of passport and extra passport photos): for permits, and Money (~1500 Rupi/day)
  2. Flashlight (& extra batteries): many power failures
  3. Toilet paper (& toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, small bottle of shampoo, towel, sleeping sheet). ** Sleeping bags not required if you stay at the guesthouses.
  4. Backpack (with waterproof cover) [no more than 65 litre]
  5. Hiking shoes (lightweight shoes are better that heavy leather boots) (ice grippers – seasonal)
  6. Inner wear: 3x pairs of socks, 3x underwear, 3x quick dry shirts
  7. Middle wear: quick dry pants, windproof sweater
  8. Outer wear: rain coat, scarf, toque, sun protection (sunglasses and sunscreen)
  9. Water bottle and water purifier (I used a UV-light; no taste, though needs the occasional re-charge of batteries)
  10. First aid kit and altitude sickness pills (breathing mask for Kathmandu)
  11. *Camera (& extra batteries)

In Nepal carrying a Tripod can be Dangerous to your Health !

Carrying a tripod in Nepal almost got me shot by Nepal Police, and had Army soldiers walk by with ‘safety off’ on their rifles.

It all started in Nagrakot (an hours drive north of Kathmandu), while walking through a Police checkpoint. I’d passed through this check point several times before, even with my camera tripod attached to my backpack, and had no problems. On this fateful day, I was carrying the tripod in my hand as I approached the checkpoint. At about 10 meters away the Police suddenly, and without warning started shouting at me, and pointed his rifle at my chest. I could not understand what he was saying – though the way he was waving his rifle, is seemed to mean …’drop ….drop’. With my eyes locked on the rifle, I slowly moved my arms away from my body, and lowered the tripod and placed it on its legs on the ground. In my right hand, I was holding my camera with a wrist strap. I placed the camera on the tripod, and carefully slid off the wrist strap and backed away. Seconds later, though it seemed like forever, another Policeman came running from behind me. He was angry, really angry and saying ‘camera…’. I thought I was going to piss my pants. The second Policeman ran in front of me toward the first Policeman still with the rifle pointed at me, yelling something. The first Policeman then lowered his rifle (a World War 2 vintage Lee Enfield), then spat on the ground and flicked his thumb toward the path and went inside his guard post !.

A few hours later, walking along the main road and passing a military base I saw a small hill on the other side of the rood. The small hill overlooked the valley below and had a superb view of the mountains in the distance. I headed over, checked out the view, took a few pictures, had a snack. The moment I unstrapped the camera tripod from my backpack – three soldiers came running over. Fortunately, none were carrying weapons. One said – “You are not allowed to be here”, to which I replied “I am sorry, there were no fences or signs”. He smiled, and said, “Yes – you are correct”. As we walked back to the road, we talked about Canada, and his memories of eating ‘beaver tails’ in Ottawa. We shook hands and he went back to his guard post.

Not even 20 minutes later still walking along the same road, a group of approximately 30 Nepali soldiers approached. Again, I was carrying the camera in one hand, and the tripod in the other hand. Each soldier was carrying a rifle – the very same rifles that I had used as a young cadet in the Canadian Armed Forces 17 years ago. These were the FN FAL rifles, and as each soldier walked past, I could see that the safety switch was set to ‘Off’, and their index fingers were resting on the trigger guard. These soldiers were ready for shooting !. Through the corner of my sunglasses, I could see that they were not lokig at my eyes, but at the tripod in my arm. Not wanting to disturb them, the best thing to do was to continue, and not make any sudden movements, or stop to attach the tripod to my backpack.

So – be warned. To the eyes of a Nepali Policeman or Nepali Soldier – a camera tripod is a threat, and if you are not careful, carrying a camera tripod can be hazardous to your Health.


On guard for tripod carrying tourists in Nepal.

On guard for tripod carrying tourists in Nepal. I walked past him a few hours before – without problem; with the tripod strapped to my backpack.


Rainy day Randoms – on the streets of Kathmandu

This small collection of images is from a walk in the Thamel district of Kathmandu (Nepal) in the rain (March 2nd, 2015). Most of my walks in Kathmandu have been in hot-dry and dusty conditions, walking in the rain was so refreshing, though slightly treacherous on the muddy streets.  All photos taken using a GoPro Hero 2 and (over) processed in Lightroom. Images were intentionally not rotated to ‘level’- random images at random orientation.

Click on the first thumbnail and it will enlarge. Form there you can scroll through the larger images to see the whole collection.


After the strong (7.8) earthquake that struck the Kathmandu Valley on April 25, 2015 and the many aftershocks, many of the modern and historic buildings and roads shown in these photos have been extensively damaged or destroyed, and thousands of deaths and injuries.


Rush Hour in Kathmandu

In Kathmandu (Nepal) it is always ‘rush hour’; bicycles, bicycle-rickshaws, motorcycles, three-wheeled tuktuks, cars, vans, buses and trucks or all shapes and sizes are constantly honking as they weave between each other, passing on the inside lane, passing on the outside lane, and occasionally sharing the lane with on-coming traffic. Add pedestrians, farm tractors, two-wheeled tractors and wandering cows – and it all gets real interesting.  There seem to be no traffic rules, or they are simply ignored. The vans photographed below, had were packed with up to 30 people – far beyond their recommended occupancy limit, and were excessively overloaded

This is a small selection of traffic related photos taken at sunset in Kathmandu, February 20, 2015. Click on the first thumbnail and it will enlarge. Form there you can scroll through the larger images to see the whole collection.

All photos taken with a Fuji X-E1 with XF 14mm, or Fuji X-PRO1 with XF 55-200mm.





After the strong (7.8) earthquake that struck the Kathmandu Valley on April 25, 2015 and the many aftershocks, many of the modern and historic buildings and roads shown in these photos have been extensively damaged or destroyed, and thousands of deaths and injuries.