Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

A World ALIVE an Ancient Wonder; QT Photographer Sarah Harvey Went Wandering through India and Nepal and Discovered a Place That at Is at Once Dramatic, Ancient and Vibrant

Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

A World ALIVE an Ancient Wonder; QT Photographer Sarah Harvey Went Wandering through India and Nepal and Discovered a Place That at Is at Once Dramatic, Ancient and Vibrant

Article excerpt

DRIVING through Kathmandu is like entering a different universe.

Chaos is in the streets at every corner.

No one follows the road rules and my driver is no exception.

While he is focused on zigzagging through traffic, beeping to signal his every move, passing, turning, weaving, running red lights, I wonder if I'll make it to my hotel alive.

At first glance you can tell Kathmandu is a very old city slowly crumbling under its own weight.

Buildings of drab colours line the streets as lost faces stare at cars, tuk tuks, rickshaws and all other modes of transportation moving by.

Then, almost too suddenly, I enter into the bustling, colourful marketplace.

Bold and bright, loud and confident, this place thrives on tourism.

A city boasting one of the Seven Natural Wonders, I am excited by my early-morning flight to the Himalayas.

The vast expanse of these mountains up close and personal is overwhelmingly beautiful. The smaller snow-capped mountains rest on top of white clouds, while larger peaks are hidden from view by higher soft cloud coverage.

Surprise: an invitation into the cockpit for a gorgeous panoramic view while watching pilot and co-pilot control our light aircraft gives us all an extra buzz we did not expect.

Leaving behind the hustle and bustle of Nepal's capital city, we enter into the lowland countryside.

A mixture of grass huts and regular colourful Nepalese accommodation welcomes us as we pass by a farming community and enter Chitwan National Park.

Children and goats innocently wander the small village streets, only narrowly avoiding the confidently moving traffic. In contrast, the slower elephants tread through the streets at a patient pace, their enormity accentuated against a more modern life.

Soon the Nepalese love for animals is evident through both a visit to an elephant breeding centre and crocodile breeding centre, as well as a two-day trek through the Chitwan National Park to potentially spot rhino, elephant and tigers.

Our trek begins with a two-hour gentle canoe ride up the Rapti River, floating peacefully, silence only broken by the sound of birds chirping and gentle water rapids. The occasional crocodile at the water's edge would have our guide pointing it out to our small group, our canoe operator speaking softly to himself in his native language, followed by a light and happy laugh.

At the end of our day we are greeted by another small farming community where we settle in for a night of home-cooked curries and music.

Heading from the Nepal countryside into India, scenery instantly changes from a mountainous vista to flat and dry countryside.

As people go about their business, we are rushed through village after village by our crazy drivers to reach our destination on time.

The first Indian city visited is Varanasi Co booming with activity, their love of beeping horns is emphasised now being in a larger city. …

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