September 16, 2017

I have been waiting for this hike for several months and I am so excited this day is finally here. I flew to Kathmandu 2 days ago and met the two other hikers, Monica and Blake, and our guide.

After getting up early and eating breakfast, we drove about 7 hr from Kathmandu to Pokhara on some pretty bad roads with lots of holes and tonnes of motorcyclist and cars you had to watch out for. Needless to say, we were all feeling pretty nauseous and dizzy at the end. And I usually don’t get sick in cars. It was so bad that all three of us were immediately in agreement to take a plane back to Kathmandu at the end of our trek instead of driving it back like planned in this tiny car our agency had organized.

Arrived in Pokhara, after taking a little rest in the Hotel room, Monica and I went to get some pizza and beer in town, which was delicious and well-deserved form this very long and agonizing drive. We walked back to Hotel and went to sleep.

Our Hotel was nice, but the location was bad because it was set outside and the walk into town took 20 min. The walk back in the dark was a bit scary and I was thankful to have a flashlight on my cell phone. Thank you to whoever thought of putting a flashlight into a cell phone. What a great invention. I recommend getting a hotel closer to the lake. Hotel Lakeside is a great recommendation.

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Sept. 17 1st day of hiking from Naya Pul to Uleri

Yeh, the day was finally here. At 8 am we drove by car from Pokhara to Naya Pul were we met our two Porters that would carry our bags for the next 6 days around the Himalayas. I recommend to get a porter, they are not expensive and makes your life much easier. They were two young boys that were not older than 23.

And off we go!!

 

We started our 6-day trek at 9:30 am. It was beautiful sunny weather and hot.

First we walked through some pretty villages and the ascending got really steep really fast as soon as we were out of the villages, walking on gravel roads. The sun was burning brutally hot down on us, and although we were drinking a lot of water, we never had to use the bathroom!! Go figure. We were soaked wet from sweating.

The menu selection in the Himalayas tee homes is huge

The ascending was really steep. At noon we finally stopped for lunch at the village of Ramghai. It was a wooden structure overlooking the river. The kitchen was very tiny, and yet it was sooo amazing their menu was huge. I mean, a couple pages of food choices. We were the only ones in that restaurant, and it took them 1hr to have our food prepared. After an 1 1/2 hr lunch break, hoping the sun would be burning less, we took off again. But the sun was still beating down on us!

The Himalayas are covered with steps 

Then the steps started.  They were really steep, it was hard to climb up the hill, all on steep steps, and the hot sun was not helping either. This was the least expected, all the steps in the Himalayas. Who would have thought? None of the research I did, did it say 95% of the Himalayas was covered in stairs. Mmmmmmm…..  Not sure if I should be thankful for having stairs, or disappointed.

There was no shade and the steps where miles after miles straight uphill. This was probably the hardest hike I had ever done, and I am in pretty good shape. I have to say, I was NOT expecting steps in the Himalayas.  You know the stair master at the Gym, where it continuously is feeding you with stairs and you go up. Well, imagine being on one of that for 8 hr straight in the brutal heat wearing a heavy backpack! I have been to the Gym and my trainer told me to use that machine after my weight training, well I got on it for about 3 min, and when he was out of site, I would sneak out of the gym….. LOL  this is how much I don’t like them. Lol I am sure most of you can relate. 🙂

Anyway, when hiking up. The scenery was trees. We could not see any mountains yet. We were still too far down in the valley.

Accommodations are Tee homes

At the end of our hike, it started to rain a slight bit, which was very welcomed. At 5 PM we finally arrived in the little village of Ulleri. We got a room at a tee house, showered, washed our clothes, got something to eat and we started to feel very comfortable again. The rooms are very small, providing a bed, and we did have a private bathroom.  The rooms are only about $8 a night. And the tee homes are primitive but very comfortable. That evening we had hot water for showering, but there are no electrical outlets any were. That evening we ended up playing LeftCenterRight, a dies game, with two guys from Austria. We had a fun evening, but everyone went to bed at 9 pm. There was no way I could sleep at 9 pm. I got out my laptop and started to write, in the dark, in the dining area downstairs. (yes, they turn off the lights at 9pm, I guess to tell everyone, go to sleep. All of a sudden, at around 10pm I heard loud noises from animals fighting. Needless to say, I got a little freaked out!!! I was wearing my headlamp, packed up my computer and quickly found my way upstairs to my room. I had no clue what animal that was, and I was not about to find out either.

About the Tee houses in the Himalayas

These tee homes are cute but very primitive. If you have your own bathroom, shower and hot water, you are a King or Queen!! Bring your own towel. Sometimes you find power outlets in the dining hall, but they don’t have power all the time. Its mostly solar powered, if there is no sun, you have no power. Sometimes they charge $1 to charge your device, $1 for internet if available. But connections are really rare and very slow. Also most times, the showers are cold. The menus are very extensive, its amazing what they can whip up up there.

Next day breakfast was scheduled at 7:30 am.

Sept 18, 2017. 2nd day, a 6hr hike to Ghorepani

I thought I would be waking up very sore on my leg muscles from all that steep walking uphill we did for 8hr on the first day of our hike, but to my surprise, I was not sore anywhere and actually felt great. I was happy, trust me!!!

At 8 am we took off on our second day hike. We had two very cute dogs following us for a wile, till we were out of town. That was the cutes thing ever. And throughout our trip, we were accompanied by dogs for a period of our hike, then they would return back home.

In todays hike, we had some steep steps at first, but thank goodness only for about 2 or 3 hr. Then they got less steeper and periodically it was flat through the forest were the landscaping was just breathtaking (still lots of steps, but not as much as the previous day and not as steep.) I was so thankful. I was wondering who put all these steps there. There must have been millions. I was thankful for the hard working people that did this beautiful work. They had used a very pretty flat rock, some of them looked so pretty shiny silvery. Although I prefer not to walk steps, but I feel it made the steep incline a little easier. But then again, switch backs would have been a little easier then steps the whole time. Maybe a combination of the two I would have preferred.

Most of our hike was steps. Up or down, steps are everywhere in the Himalayas. It was very very strenuous most of the time. Hiking in the Himalayas is not some scenic hike along the hills singing songs from he sound of music. It is hard, and seriously, 95% its all steps. You really have to know that before going so you are not surprised like all the people I talked to I met trekking.

This days hike was very enjoyable and the sun was not shining as hot anymore. Just about 1 hr before we reached the second Tee house in Ghorepani, it started to rain again. Oh well, we are almost there anyways, no big deal. It was a great day hiking and some rain did not bother me to much. Finally, we made it after a 6hr hike uphill. yehhhh. I was looking forward to a hot nice shower, but I quickly discovered, no hot water!!! brrrrrr, I was NOT washing my hair tonight, no way. This was probably the quickest shower I ever took, except of the little wash down with soap I had wile rafting in the Grand canyon were the water was about 45degrees Fahrenheit.) I washed my clothing and went downstairs to the dining area, that had a big fireplace in the middle, were everyone could hung up their clothing to dry. It was a very cosy and warm room, very lovely with a couple of tables and a few people. I quickly made friends with a man named Philippe, originally from France now living in Belgium, he was there with his friend Vallerie, also from Belgium and their guide. Monica joined me, and really fast all of us where sitting on our table sharing appetizers, and our new Friends kept on ordering the local Beer, Everest, for all of us. It was a very awesome evening with great new friends, great laughs and fantastic stories. That is always the highlight when traveling, meeting all these interesting people from all over the world.

Sept. 19, 2017 3rd day hike to Tadapani

Wake up call 4:45am. The plan was to hike up to Poon Hill which took about an hr , to see the sunrise, and Philipe wanted to join our little group of 4, including our guide. Our guid did not wanted to go, because it was raining and cloudy, so I decided to go alone with Phillip in the hopes the weather would change in that 1 hr of walking straight uphill with nothing but steep stairs, again!!!!.  UGH, do these stairs ever end? Who had time to put them all in I though.

I don’t think I will ever climb stairs again in my entire life. Lol, then again, I did feel great after every hike. “Pain is just weakness leaving the Body”, our other hiking buddy Blake said on our first day of hike. What a great way to look at it, and so true. I think his statement got me through the pain.

When we finally arrived at the top, 1 hr later, it was not raining anymore, but it was still cloudy and we could not see any of the beautiful mountains we were supposed to see. 🙁 what a pity. But I am glad we tried anyway, then you really never know how quickly the clouds could disappear. I did not wanted to regret not seeing the sunset at Poon Hill. Especially since the journey to Poon Hill takes a couple of days. The mountains were peaking out a little and a little sun was forcing its way through the clouds. It was still very impressive to be up here and see this. I am glad I hiked up. It was well worth it.Â

We took a couple of pictures including some selfies, drank a hot Ginger tee and after little over an hr started to hike down to the hotel where the others were waiting for us to eat a nice breakfast.Â

After Breakfast we said our good byes to our new friends, they took of the direction we came from, and we went on our way towards Tadapani.

It was a steady hike downhill, (on stairs of corse) and some strenuous hiking uphill (of course, could not leave out the stair climbing straight up. hahah)  I was already missing them gong downhill. :)Â

We got to an outlook were we could see Poon Hill. The rest of the Himalayan mountains where not visible, it was just too cloudy. It was sad, but Monica and I made friends anyways. The little outlook hut was very cute, selling coke, sprite and all kinds of sodas.Â

Insert Pictures of Chinese guys.

This day was mostly raining, wile most the hiking today was trough the beautiful Jungle. Moose was growing over rocks and tree stumps, made the forest look Magical. Our guide Kumar, and Blake hiked most times way ahead of us. Thank good noting happened to us, like slips and fell, there would have been no way our guide would have noticed it and could have helped us.

We ate lunch at …………., the sun was peaking out a little and we were all hoping it would clear up for the rest of the day. But it did not. It started to pore even more then in the morning. Thank goodness I was wearing rain pants over my regular hiking pants, I would have been drenched. I have the zip off kind of hiking pants that transfer into shorts. I was already very grateful for that option the day before. Tip of day: bring proper rain gear. Rain Jacket and pants are grat, but when its hot, an rain overall that covers you from head to tow may be a better choice.

About 1hr hike after our lunch, we got to a magical place in the Jungle next to a river where everyone had mounted and balanced the flat rocks on top of each other. It looked great. I loved the energy that this place was giving out. There was no sight of our guide Kumar and Blake, but that did not hold us back to stay there for a wile to take pictures and enjoy it. I even built a stone tower myself. I would have loved to stay there longer to meditate a little, but we kinda felt we had to go catch up with our guide Kumar that never bothered waiting for us. I was okay with hiking ourself, kinda like it better being independent, but if you pay a guide, it would be nice to have someone around to ask questions to if you have any.

stone balancing thing guarded Â

NOT worms, these are leaches!!

Although it was raining a little, this hike through the forest was very pretty and peaceful. We caught up with our guid Kumar and we stopped for just a second, and Monica pointed out a little black worm that fell on my hand. I tried to flick it off, but it would not budge. Then I realized, this was NOT a worm, this is a leach!!! I have never seen a real life leach before, and for some reason I thought they looked different.  Anyway, it would not get off my hand. It was stuck, I was afraid it already put its head into my skin and sucked on my blood. Kumar finally got it off. It already managed to get into my skin, then when it was off I was bleeding from my hand. It did not hurt, its just a weird disgusting feeling having a leach in your skin sucking your blood. We were laughing so hard and Monica wished to have had it on camera. I guess my frantic expression n my face was priceless!!!  Thank goodness leaches are not dangerous or harmful, or carry any decides  with them. Some say its actually cleansing. I don’t believe this. But whatever. Not going to try this at home for fun. LOL 🙂

We finally made it to our guess house for that evening. It’s a house supposedly  with a beautiful view, but very primitive. It was still very cloudy, so we could not see much, all the pretty mountains were covered by clouds.

We sat on the benches outside the room to take off our hiking shoes, and we discovered some leeches on our clothing. Disgusted we shook them off. Then all of a sudden, we saw a big fat one crawl away. Was this a leach? No, I we thought it was just a fat worm? What is this???? Then I looked at my leg and it was covered by blood. Then we knew, it was a leach already sucking the blood out of my leg, and it was full, so it let go of me. Ugh It’s just a nasty feeling having a worm hanging from your skin drinking your blood. It’s kinda weird.

Monica and I had a room with two beds, but no toilette or shower. The shower was downstairs outside and only had cold water. brrrr. I had to wash my hair today. There was no way around it. It was a very fast shower, I leaned over and my neck became really long, so this cold water would not touch my body for too long. It was a pretty funny scene actually. I feel I was itching everywhere on my body, feeling I have leaches on me. But only had this one on my leg. I guess having two for one day is enough. After all I am a leach virgin.Â

We found the dining room, and this also had a fireplace in the middle like the one from last night, that was designed for hikers to dry their clothing, yehhhh. Little luxuries in life makes you really happy. This really makes you appreciate what you have at home. This fireplace made up for showering with cold water. There were even electrical outlets in the corner of the dining room. We took advantage if this, since we had no outlets in our room. There was also Wifi.Â

Sept 20 4th day. Today’s hike to Ghandruk is only a 3hr hike

I woke up with the sunlight shining through the windows. It was almost 6am and time for the sunrise. I heard noises outside and I quickly got up, grabbed my camera and shoes and I stepped outside to the balcony. There was only a few clouds in the sky and the sun was about to rise. Its been days since I saw the sun. We finally got to see some Himalayan mountains. They have been covered in clouds since we started our trekking. I was so excited. Living in Florida for past 20 years, I missed the sun. Plus I came here to see the beautiful mountains of the Himalaya, not to hike in the mud.

I took some great pictures of the mountain called fish tail, you can probably imagine why its called like that. Then we got breakfast served right outside on the deck with mountain view. This was the most beautiful breakfast ever. We sat there for about 2 hr just enjoying the beautiful view. I soaked up the sun, meditating a little and feeling so grateful for this beautiful place and opportunity to be up here with two wonderful hiking companions. I would not have traded with anything or anyone at this moment. I was in heaven. This is how I pictured my Himalaya trekking.

At 9am we took off for our hike. It was already starting to get really really cloudy again, and the mountains were covered once more.

Even tough it was cloudy, todays hike was very pleasant. It was mainly going slowly downhill. The temperature was pleasant, and it was not raining like the day before. At around noon we arrived in the town of Ghandruk. This is by far the pretties town I have seen since I got to Nepal. It was in comparison quite big. About 5,000 people. Lots of local people were living here farming or running a hotel and restaurant. Everything is so manicured, the flowers, the homes the gardens. We had lunch at the hotel Hungry Eyes, then had a little tour through the town. We ended up at a tradition costumes and jewelry place. For only $2, I was dressed up by an older Nepalese woman, in the traditional costume. That was fun. This was such a neat little place. It was also a little restaurant and a Hotel that looked nice to come back to for drink or dinner. The older lady that was dressing me up was so lovely and unique and cute. Her name was Hari Maya Gurung.

After dinner at our hotel, I my group Monica and Blake decided to go back to that little restaurant and have a drink. It was pouring rain again. We geared up with our head lamps and rain jackets, and off we went. It was only a short walk, but it was so much fun.

At that little restaurant, we sat outside under the roof, and drank her home made wine made out of millet. Its very strong. It was more a liquor then a white wine. The owner accompanied us and told us stories from her life. She was the sweetest woman ever. We had so many great laughs with her. At one time she took out a long wooden stick and start scratching her back, so I helped her scratching and massaging her back, she giggle endlessly and then started scratching my back. She was just the cutes little thing.Â

We all had 1 1/2 glasses of millet wine, that cost us $4.50. prices are very cheep in Nepal. We gathered our jackets, and off we went to walk home to our hotel.

Monica brushing her teeth, using her water from her camelback to flush 🙂

Sept. 21 5th day hike to Pokhara

I woke up at 5:30 am to catch the sunrise, but it’s raining today 🙁 and very cloudy. I am feeling my sore muscles today. My calfs the most. And definitely, my knees are very sore from yesterdays hike downhill.

We have a 6 – 8 hr hike in front of us today, and I am not really looking forward to hiking it in the rain and mud downhill on all the slippery wet rock steps. This is such a great place, and I did not want to leave it just yet. I wish we had another day to explore this town some more. We started our hike downhill to the valley. It was very steep, and again, only steps that were very very slippery from all the down pouring rain and leaves laying on the rock stairs.  We had to walk very slowly, then it was so dangerous to slip and fall. Again, our guide was walking fast in front of us, Blake trying to keep up with him. Monica and I hiked down slower, then we did not want to risk to fall. Many times we caught our self from slipping and one time I even fell, but thankfully landed okay and did not get hurt. We kept on losing sight of our guide, and we are so thankful we did not fall badly, then help was nowhere in sight. At one time we came to a fork in the road. Which way to go?……. There was no one to follow. Which way to take? My gut told me to go right. Left looked not so much walked through. I was not sure, but we did, and thankfully it was the right decision.Â

We got to the bottom of the valley at 10:40 am. We were drenched. We all took shelter and a snack break at a little concession stand that had chairs and tables that were placed under a big tarp. Sitting there eating some cookies we bought, the cutest black dog was patiently sitting there hoping he would get one handed to him. And his patience paid off, I gave him a coconut cookie. After a 30 min break, we started our descent to the other side of the valley. I was told in the village we are hiking to, is a road for the jeeps that go to Pokhara, the town where we stayed one night before starting our hike and left our suitcases at. I was seriously thinking about catching a jeep back. It was not fun anymore to hike around the Himalayas in the rain, just to wait until the 6 days are up. After all, I will spend 4 more weeks here and I am still going to see them many times when going to Tibet. I was soaked wet, even though my brand new rain pants and Jacket. The hike up (all stairs) was at least much better than hiking down. Falling and slipping was not the fear anymore. To me, it was a question if I still wanted to hike in the pouring rain for another 5hr to the next tee house to sleep and wake up and go to Pokhara or have a jeep bring me back to town now. My French Belgium friends were there and it sounded so much more appealing to me to go back and spend one more fun evening with them, drinking Everest Beer and having dinner before they have to fly back home the next day than to hike around token wet in the rain.

So I made my decision. I was going to take a Jeep into town, if one is available, and if not, I will keep hiking. That was easy. Leaving it up to the Universe to decide. I was okay with either one. If a Jeep is there, good, if not, I am hiking. Let faith and the Universe decide for me.Â

When we got to the town, I asked my Guide Kumar to get me a Jeep, then I was done hiking. It literally took me 5 times asking then telling him to call one. It was like pulling teeth to get anything accomplished with this Tour guide. He finally made the call, and I got lucky, 10 minutes later I was sitting in a Jeep going to Pokhara. All the luggage was loaded on the roof, wrapped securely in a big tarp,  to keep it dry from the rain. It is amazing to me how many people could fit in this car. 3 in the front seat, including the driver, 4 in the back seat, and about 7 in the back of the car. I felt like I am in a clown car. It was an adventure. I was sitting in the front seat, next to an old Nepalese man, that spoke a few English words. We got along just great. With hand and feet, we managed to have a great conversation with lots of laughs. This Jeep ride was such a great adventure by itself. We went over rocks, mud, huge bumps, rivers, streams. It was like a paid extreme adventure Jeep ride you had to pay for just to be in it for 30 min. But it was real life. Such a cool experience. I was so happy I took that Jeep ride. There was a young couple from England and a young American in the back seat. At several occasions I could have sworn we would get stuck in the mud and we all had to push the car out, but it did not. Our driver was very experienced. It was a 4hr ride back to Pokhara.

Back in Pokhara

I took a Taxi and picked up my luggage at the Hotel Utsab Himalaya and checked into the Hotel Lakefront were my Belgium friends were. It felt amazing to walk into such a beautiful clean room, with a Balcony overlooking the Lake. I dropped my bags and the first thing I did was taking a hot shower and dried off with a clean soft Hotel towel. I felt like a Queen and I have to admit, a little spoiled.

We take little things we have in our daily life for granted, and only if they are taken away from us, we appreciate them.

We had no hot showers up in the mountains, except the first night, and you have to bring a little towel with you, to dry yourself off. Although we saw it on the menu, you could order a hot shower, but I believe they were all broken. Oh well. Â

I charged all my devices in the outlets I had in my beautiful Hotel room, another thing that is not common in the Guesthouses up there. Sometimes we had no outlets in the whole house, sometimes they had some in the common area, but that was not reliable, then it was from solar power and they charged $1 to charge a phone, and it turned off a lot. WiFi was mostly available in all the houses, but it was so slow and off and on. But that did not bother me, I was on vacation, and as long as I could text my daughter once in a while that I am okay, I was good.Â

I gave all my clothing to the hotel for cleaning. They charged $1 per pound of clothing. So total price was $2.50 to clean all my clothing I had with me on the Trek. What a great price!! I got it back within 24hr, and it felt good to have everything cleaned.

Right outside the Hotel, there was a little lake walk, (dirt road), and along there, are several cool little restaurants, were me and Philippe had a beer before meeting Valery for dinner.Â

We had a great evening, and I went to bed really really tired that evening.Â

Next day I met up with Monica and Blake that came back from their last day of trekking at 11:30 am. We all had lunch with Philippe and Valery before they had to go fly back to Kathmandu then home to Belgium. Monica and I treated our self to a massage while Blake walked the shops.Â

After the three of us went to the lakefront and watched the sunset in one of the restaurants, had some beer and appetizers. At 8 pm they went back to their hotel because they had a really long day behind them and were exhausted. Sitting in my hotel room, not tired, I decided at 9:30 pm to go have a wood oven pizza around the corner, while I write on my blog.Â

For $4.50 I had one of the best pizzas I have had. Yes, I ate the whole thing. I should not have, but I did. It was that good. This Mushroom onion pizza was so good, I could not leave anything behind.Â

September 23, back in Kathmandu

I woke up to a beautiful view of the lake. After breakfast, I walked the streets one last time and caught a flight back to Kathmandu at 1 pm with Monica and Blake.  The flight was 30 min, and so worth it to fly verses to drive.Â

After we landed, all tree of us decided to go to the Tibetan village, Bagmati, close by the Katmandu airport.Â

This is a big circle of built together homes that are all unique Buddhist shops and in the middle is a big Stupa. It was beautiful. Even though there are a lot of people there, I felt really peaceful.Â

We found the temple where we sat for a wile and meditated. Then the monks all played instruments and chanted. I loved it. I could not wait to go to Tibet and hopefully see more of this.Â

We found a little rooftop restaurant where we had lunch and shared our last Everest Beer. Then we took a Taxi back to Hotel Arts in Katmandu. I said my Goodbyes to Monica and Blake that had to go back to the states.Â

September 24, Sunday, my rest day.

After going to bed early, I woke up refreshed and decided to walk to the Gardens of Dreams that was about 25minutes from my hotel. My plan was staying there for a couple hr, then go to the museum. I had to be back at the hotel at 6 pm to meet the other group that is going to Tibet with me.Â

I got to the Gardens, walked around, then found myself a shady place in the grass, sat down and rested for almost 4hr, reading, meditating and sleeping. It was so beautiful and peaceful there. I could not have imagined a more peaceful rest day than this.Â

I got hungry, so I ate a salat in the Garden restaurant. A salat, yes, that was special too, because up in the Himalayas trekking, you should not be eating salads and any type of meat. Because the water is dry dirty here you should ask them first if they clean it with bottled water. If not, DO NOT EAT SALAT, It was 4pm and I had to leave. As soon as I stepped outside the Gardens, its like I just went to a time warp. Lots of traffic, dirt roads, dirty air, people begging…… Two very different worlds, divided by just this little wall. That was so amazing to me. If I find time, I will come back.Â

This evening I met with my new Group after orientation I went to dinner with two girls that are from close to Washington DC. Like my last roommate, Monica was.Â

We had a nice dinner, then they went back to hotel room, wile I went to a bar called Tom and Jerry, that was very close to the Hotel. Only the two Bar tenders were there and I decided to stay and sit at the Bar. Two locals ended up joining me and we had a great evening with lots of laughs and a couple of selfies later I went to sleep.

 

Tip:

When going trekking to the himalayas, you most likely start from Kathmandu then drive or fly to Pokhara. I would recommend flying from Kathmandu to Pokhara, then the drive is brutal and long.

 

TIP: I would def. recommend flying from Kathmandu to Pokhara, flights are pretty cheap and only take like 20min flying time. The airport in Pokhara is very small and very easy to get in and out. We paid $112 to fly back, but if you book in advanced both ways, it’s much cheaper.

Tip of the day: Do not forget your headlamp! Very important. Also, bring a towel for showering, they don’t provide that either anywhere up there.