Saturday, July 27, 2013


Time passes like nothing, even now that I am back, back in an office chair. The days since the arrival in ZRH were not much less extraordinary than the 102 before; they were similarly packed. Much of the time was spent on meetings with friends, shared beers and BBQs or on demanding fights in the local beach volley fields. And yes, next to some casual office hours, I managed to finish the long awaited time-lapse movie!
Brace yourselves, this movie is quite packed with input and emotions - at least for me. On 102 days of my journey, I took a picture of myself. Now, all these pictures have been put together - to keep me dreaming and to make you wanna go see the world. Of the roughly 4'500 pictures which I took, the video includes only a very small share. Should you be interested in more stories/pictures/details - I have plenty. In 102 days I have acquired a significant knowledge about e.g.; how to ride and fix a motorbike in Vietnam, how to avoid jailtime in Laos, or how to kayak in the Himalayas during monsoon. These insights are ready to be shared...

too fast? - watch again ;-)

At this point I would also like to thank you all for reading my blog this patiently. What once started with the intention to keep a few friends and family posted, soon gathered a surprisingly big community of readers. By now the blog has more than 2'000 klicks - still counting, thank you. Sources are various, going from Switzerland over Russia to South Africa...

Whenever this domain will be activated again, you will be most welcome to tune in.

in great appreciation of all the feedback, 


Saturday, July 13, 2013


thinking about...?
Home sweet home. Yes, I made it back home to beautiful Switzerland where things seem unchanged, everyone and everything did very well without me noticing it. Unlike my promise, this post is written in the cozy chalet of my parents and not in India. The days were too packed and the internet options too vast, not allowing me to write a last post from India.
Already the boarder in Sanauli pointed out the differences between Nepal and India; more people, more dust, more hectic, more street vendors (for various goods) and more cows. Apart from that the two countries leave a relatively similar impression in the lonely travellers mind. There is maybe one more thing, the name "George" as a negative association in India, due to the former British King, named George as well. I kept emphasizing that my name is written without the "e" at the end and that I am a Swiss citizen, not related in any form to the folks from the rainy island. Not willed to dig deep in the British-Indian history, I will keep this topic away from this entry, nonetheless, some things are very aparent in India and therefore will make it into the blog.

In Sanauli we caught a bus to Gorakphur (similar to Sanauli, just bigger), where we changed our mode of transport to train. Overnight we drove for some eight hours towards Varanasi (former Banaras), where we arrived in the morning hours while the holy town was just waking up. Contrary to the city live, we did not feel like waking up, the bumpy train ride could not offer a decent and required amount of sleep, so we recovered that for a few hours.

Holy Varanasi
It was anyway good to be fully awake when we wandered for a first time through the narrow alleys of Varanasi. There are plenty of things you need to watch out for; turds (piles of excrements, be they humen or animal source), quite aggressive street vendors, and death ceremonies. Varanasi has a special place in the Indian-Hindu belief siystem. Those who are burned or sunk  here can escape the cycle of reincarnation and go directly into the Nirvana - so the belief. You read right, burned or sunk; Most of the people are burned on one of the Gaths along the Ganges river, if the reason for death is related to pregnancy, illness like leprosy or follwed a poisoning by any animal, the bodies are not burned, they are thrown into the Ganges. To make sure that they sink, a big stone is tied to the legs. The exact opposite (to burn the poisoned and sik and maybe sink the others) would make more sense in my eyes, maybe not from a religious point of view but definitely from a hygienic perspective.

We saw lots of corpses being cremated, we saw people washing themselves and their belongings in the Ganges, we saw baby bodies disappear in the brown river with a stone attached to their legs and we saw others brushing their teeth with the very same water. You can say and think what you want and I do not want to spend too many lines on the topic of religion, but think of it; how much good could be done on our world with the power that some religious leaders hold? Why e.g. don't the Buddhist monks teach that littering is no good (and why do they do it themselves in some cases?) or why doesn't the Catholic churche finally pluck up some courage and end the ridicolous questions around the topic of contraception? Seriously, you can belief what ever you want, but at least in some cases one should also belief in science. And don't get me started on the topics of tolerance and diversity.

Enough about that, here are three other things you can enjoy in Varansi, apart from all the holy ceremonies and sights. Delicious Lassis, some truly good silk shops and true Indian movies:

A good Lassi comes with a fly on top
In Varanasi it could easily happen that while you are sipping your banana-chocolate lassi, a death ceremony walks by, including the corpse, on their way to the Ganges. It could also happen that some guy from the steet keeps talking to you, about how you should come to have a look at his or his father's silk shop next door. We did enter quite a few as we wanted to get some tailor made silk made Alibaba trousers. In the end we decided for the most sympathig one and had "Pappu" made super stylish pants for us. Pappu also showed us pictures with him and Goldie Hawn on it, she is a regular customer of his. I can give you more details about the location of Pappus shop, should you be willed to buy silk in Varanasi, just contact me.

Pappu & me with some of his silk

Lootera, currently a hit in India
 Another delight is to visit a true Indian cinema. In Varanasi, the cinema is probably the most sophisticated facility of all. We went to see "Lootera", the story about a thief who falls in love with his victim. One thing is clear, Holliwood guys like Michael Bay or amateur actors like Richard Geere, Nicolas Cage or Shia Labeouf are strongly advised to either visit acting classes again or otherwise prepare for their retirement. Bollywood has picked up with western movie productions, espiecially the acting performances are top! The times where Indian movies were all about dancing and singing are not gone, but these movies, which we all think are the only bollywood movies have a different purpose anyway: they allow young Indian couples to get some privacy, if you know what I mean. This is why the stories in those movies are mostly rubbish and this is also why they are artificially prolonged through musical inputs and dances. Yes, this is tough news for the classical bollywood loving Swiss single lady in her late fourties, it might even blow her out of the Birkenstocks or Mephistos... Even Indians themselves know that these movies are rubbish, no one watches them, instead they go to the theatres to focus on something completely different...

 On the way to Delhi, there was enough time to include a one night stop in Agra, where we could visit the famous Taj Mahal. Stunned by its beauty we spent quite some time around the Taj, she must have been quite a woman, Mumatz Mahal - why else would anyone errect such a temple for one single Lady (especially if you are Persian and muslim)?

Can't Taj this, dum dumdumdum (know the song?)
The Taj is not the only beautiful thing in Agra...

Well then, then we arrived in Delhi, went out for a delicious last diner acompanied by some beers and then my days in Asia were numbered. The brand new top notch metro brought me alongside slums and garbage dumps to the international airport. The ride reminded me of the various contrasts that India has to offer; e.g. when walking through Varanasi it is hard to belief that the very same country also has a astronautics programme running...

Sitting in AY022, somewhere over the Kashmir mountnains, I listened again to 'my travel song'. "Rotted on the Vine" by Ian Fisher. Endless thoughts went through my head, goose bumps and more than cliché emotions came up. Here is the trak: Rotted on the Vine - by Ian Fisher. Song begins at 1.50.


 And here is another, sort of teaser for the upcoming time lapse movie; a merge of self portrait 1 and 102.

keep it up, GH.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Eiger, Moench & Annapurna

Annapurna South & Annapurna 1

on the way up...
Remember the last post, when I told you about us, going for an eight days trekking to the Annapurna Base Camp (ABC)? The above sunrise picture is proof that we made it. We hiked through fog, clouds, heavy monsoon rains and were in a constant fight with leeches, but we made it. Eventually we were up and back down in Pokhara within only five days. Local guys and guidebooks keep telling you that ten to eight days are needed, but since we only had good views on the very top, we decided to speed up to Sherpa velocity.The guys carrying all the supplies into ABC do it in four days and earn 3'000 rupees for one turn.
The trek itself is nothing extreme or ''super tiring'' like other travelers might tell you. It all depends on your speed, should you really be fed up with all the stairs and the too big backpack you brought along, there are plenty of locals along the way, always ready to be your guide or porter for a few rupees. That we walked most of our time through typical monsoon rain did not matter at all, after a certain altitude, the rain turns to fog, later the fog will make space for clean fresh Himalayan air. The sights we eventually got from ABC were outrageously beautiful and unique, nevertheless they still reminded me a lot of certain places in Switzerland. Here are some more pictures for those who stay at home:
Mt. Hiunchuli & moon

Annapurna South with some first shafts of sunlight

Mt. Machhapuchhare

Annapurna 1, reclected

Yes, the trekking was beautiful indeed. Since it took us only five instead of the planned eight days, we had some days to fill in our itinerary. Hmm, what to do in the Nepal Himalayas during monsoon season..? Exactly, kayaking and paragliding! Spontaneously we booked a four days intensive training for kayak beginners and headed off for the Trisuli river. Due to the low season, we were the only guests staying in 'Camp Amsterdam' (yes, the name has its reason), some three hours west from Pokhara. We had four great days, chief guide Akash and his friends ensured plenty of training and lots of fun. Our days were filled with paddling and eating local food, the nights were filled with singing and drinking local roxy (rice wine). Legendary chef Bissal made sure we would get enough 'sandwiches' for our different hungers...

30/06/2013 self portrait

Bissal, chef.
The self portrait above is one of more than hundred, I made one on every single day of my journey, starting with a picture of fresh shaved Georg sitting in the train towards ZRH airport. At the end of my trip, I will do my best to arrange a nice time lapse movie. This will then answer the redundant question; 'did this trip change you?'. The movie will be posted here, as the last post (until HornToBeWild is reactivated for a next trip, e.g. Tripoli to Capetown).

Kayaking itself is loads of fun. Fred and I were total rookies and never touched a true kayak before. The four days were intended to give us a good introduction to the sport and to teach us the survival essentials. 'Surviving' really is what we were focusing on, when we paddled down rapid Trisuli for the first time..! Contrary to the season, the water levels are very high due to the monsoon rains. We must have looked totally lost in those huge waves and whirlpools, struggling to bring our kayak fully under control. Likewise starting to ride a motorbike in Ho Chi Minh City, starting to kayak in the Himalayas during monsoon is a true baptism of fire, Eskimo-role ahoi! Unfortunately I don't have any footage of us kayaking available right now, we did all of it with Fred's GoPro camera, which is totally waterproof and shock resistant. Contact me once I am back for some videos and pictures of us flipping over in rapid, cold and brown water.

After four days we were happy to grant our muscles and grazes some rest, we drove back to Pokhara. A short interruption of the daily monsoon madness allowed us to go for a paragliding flight from top of Sarangkot mountain. So far it was a tandem flight, however it reinforced my intention to go for a pilot license as soon as possible/reasonable. While flying over water buffalos and rice fields I thought back, thought about our time in Nepal and concluded that I definitely have to come back one day. The mixture of culture, geography and nice people is unique here, Nepal became an unexpected highlight of the trip.

Para- para- paradise

Pokhara from Sarangkot (or Interlaken from Niderhorn?)
 Yet another highlight and probably the last one is awaiting us. Tomorrow morning we will leave for India, crazy Varanasi is our destination. We will see how we cope with the local culture of death and birth, I am very excited.
A last picture (there were many this time eh?) is showing a typical Tibetan food, which the Nepali people happily introduced in their kitchens as well, Momo's. A recipe is available on request, so is a dinner, if you bring some imported Gorkha beer.

Momo's, that good, I could not even take a picture before I had my hands on  them...

Next post will come from India, country no. 8, last one.

stay tuned,  GH