Friday, 20 July 2007

Never too early to prepare for global travel

Other wine cellar trips came back to me in a flash the other night, but I’ll save them for when I’m truly desperate to write something…Hmmm, I suppose that would be now, but I just wanted to point out that I’ve been purposefully filling in the last couple of days visiting all the outdoor equipment shops in pursuit of a sturdy and reliable one-person tent. It’s not that difficult to do in Wellington where all the tramping shops are located virtually along the same strip. And the point of hunting down a good quality tent is that it’s time to begin planning with military precision the travel campaign for next year. It’s getting on toward the end of July afterall, which leaves just 7 or 8 months before departure.

As I’ve mentioned before, a potential plan of attack is to parachute into New Delhi or Kathmandu and reconnoitre the Himalayan foothills before the peak season tourist hordes arrive. I won’t be doing the Annapurna trail in Nepal because of the newly introduced system of compulsory guides for all foreigners, but I’ve been doing some preliminary reading on other 10 or 15-day treks that will require packing up a two or three kilogram tent. As I’ll spend six to eight weeks travelling overland to Prague through Pakistan, Iran, (maybe Syria) and Turkey as well, I’ll try to stop off along the way for the odd trek in one or two of those countries as well. Plus I want to give the Jeseniky and Beskydy a good once over. At the moment, my only semi-concrete plan is to head north of Delhi into the Himalayan area of Uttarakhand province to walk through the Valley of Flowers, as per the picture pilfered from Wikipedia.
I stopped by a travel agent’s yesterday afternoon to enquire about the cost of flight tickets to Kathmandu or New Delhi. Thanks to the strength of the Kiwi dollar at the moment (worth US80c) you can get return flights to Delhi for around NZ$1,500. Tickets to Kathmandu on the other hand are around NZ$2,000, but I’d only head there if my Indian-Malay friend, Sukanya, is still in Pokhara working for the UN and who could possibly stitch up a job for me at a later date. If you’re wondering about the return aspect of New Delhi, that’s because it would work out cheaper to get a budget fare on AirIndia from Prague to Delhi by the time I’m ready to head back in August or September. (It’s all very curious this business of cheap flight tickets; the bubble of cheap aviation fuel and tax-free status of international air travel has to burst soon.)

By the way, this talk of exchange rates has got me curious about what’s happening to the crown. The Kiwi keeps getting stronger and stronger against other currencies all the time, but it keeps getting weaker against the Czech currency. What’s the story there? What’s driving that strength? Rotten, you dabble in the financial markets to keep yourself away from the dirty business of paid employment, so what gives? It’s most disconcerting.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

good points and the details are more specific than somewhere else, thanks.

- Norman