Trek logs along with the the geography, history and people of those areas.
I originally intended to publish the Himalayan ones as a book with alternating chapters but while some would have liked the trek logs, others seemed more likely to respond to the more academic chapters.
I’m leaving the geography and etc chapters as they are but going back to the trek logs and adding many photos. They’re better this way 🙂
I’d very much enjoy your comments. Please make them here.
The following chapter examines how Sikkim’s geography shaped events, how Tibetan aristocrats turned the land of the animistic Lepcha and Limbu into a Buddhist kingdom and why it was taken over by India.
In Sikkim I wondered why Tibetan Buddhists use the same ritual devices as Roman Catholics. I puzzled over mountains that are living gods. Confusion turned to excitement when I began to feel I was in a world not shaped by aggression. How did that culture develop?
The following trek was longer and higher than last year, I was fitter, I wasn’t sick and it was not my first experience in the mountains so I was less distracted by trying to fit new experiences into existing concepts. I was more alert. Because Maoists controlling the hills condemned America’s invasion of Iraq and banned us from their territory, I became Austrian.
Nepal’s history is better documented than Sikkim’s but its society is more complex and its people more diverse. A small country at the collision zone of the Indian and Central Asian tectonic plates that lift the Himalayas to the highest points on Earth, Nepal has three very different regions north to south; high mountains abutting Tibet, a central hilly area, and a plain that borders India almost at sea level. North-south valleys cut deep by mountain streams divide it east to west. Travel in any direction is very hard. It was unified two and a half centuries ago under a Hindu king but most Nepalis continued to practice their own religion and identified with their tribe.
The following are notes from a brief visit with my trekking partner, John, my dad’s sister, Madge, and his cousin Roy and family while I was researching this Sidwell family history.
The journey Felicity and I made to Kathmandu via Tokyo and Bangkok then meeting David, Ilana and John in Kathmandu before heading to Tibet.
We drive along river valleys where farming is little changed from medieval times except peasants now have Chinese tractors and flooding is mitigated by Chinese forestry. We journey through beautiful lands that are forever arid. We visit monasteries where thousands of monks were living when I fell under the spell but only tens live now. From Chinese hotels on streets where Tibetans in traditional dress look like foreigners we visit Tibetan quarters where they worship freely.