Welcome to Kathmandu

So, Kathmandu has blackouts, lasting 14 plus hours a day. But the hotel has a generator, so as I type this, the light above is flickering overhead and I’m wondering if it’s just going to go out at some point. 

Kathmandu is…something I’ve never seen before, yet oddly familiar. I think maybe it’s similar to some of the more rural parts of China, but definitely very different too. 

Getting into the place was pretty crazy, there were so many forms and signatures and lines…and more lines. Luckily our bags made it through just fine…and we got waved through customs. Apparently we must have looked friendly or something. 

Why is there someone playing a flute outside our window??  

I only had to tell two taxi drivers we didn’t need a ride before the REI guide found us. Really glad they picked us up at the airport…I don’t know if I’ve seen anything crazier coming out of an airport.  Pre-paid taxis and regular taxis and people with signs and travelers and don’t forget the guys who want to carry your bags for money. Luckily the REI people told him to go away. 

We met one of the other ladies going on our trek.  She was actually on our flight. She’s American, but currently stationed in Seoul. Very nice and very friendly. 

The REI people hid us a ways down the airport driveway to keep us out of the clutches of the bag carriers and taxis for hire while they brought around a van. 

The drive to the hotel was interesting. No traffic lights and police directing traffic, but the police weren’t armed. There were other guys in the streets will weapons…army, maybe?  Amongst the traffic and the motorcycles and the bikes and the people, we also found cows in the middle of the road….just chillin’. 

We got to the hotel and met someone who I think is an REI person…he gave us orange fanta, a folder of information, and told us where to be when. Then, the day was ours. I couldn’t wait to explore. We wandered for a bit…traffic is crazy – one lane dirt roads with cars and bikes and motorcycles and rickshaws and people…and no sidewalks…yeah busted foot, I see this going well…

It was cool to explore, until we came upon a giant traffic jam and I got hit by a rickshaw.  Good times….something else to cross off the bucket list. And then he tried to get us to ride in his little cart. Yeah, right. You just hit me, do you really think I want to ride with you?

We had a quiet dinner at the hotel, and could pretty much tell the minute the power went off, when all the air conditioning units quit. After dinner we did a quick night walk and realized how dusty it really was. Luckily, you can buy a buff here for $1. So I now have a yellow buff with red Asian writing, I wear it pulled over my nose and mouth and look gangster…hahaha. We also procured a couple of pens (if that’s the only thing we forgot, I’ll take it). The hotel in Seoul didn’t have any and the one here just has a pencil – I didn’t see that holding up while trekking. 

What I’ve learned so far…I need to drink water, lots and lots of water. Don’t entertain the people trying to sell you something, unless you actually want to buy it (they’ll follow you down the road).  And the yellow buff I bought for a dollar may make me look like a bandit, but it may save my lungs. 

Wow…I’m far more tired than I thought. I’m not sure how far we wandered, but I’ll have to wear the Garmin tomorrow and track it. Apparently I will be falling asleep to the musical stylings of the Kathmandu streets…the pied piper, car horns, hammering, and the occasional voice. 

4500 feet….over and out. Until next time…

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