Our first stop of the South Asian adventure is Kathmandu and there couldn’t be a better place to take me out of my comfort zone.
From trying to get a visa in the airport on arrival (3 separate parts of the process and each took an age) it became clear that we were on Nepal time, which took a bit of getting used to.
Even as I write this we’ve been in a taxi for days (an hour and a half) endlessly stuck in traffic travelling from the Boudhanath Stupa back to our hotel. Still it’s given me the chance to people watch, write today’s diary entry, delete and edit my photos, write two blogs (well once this one is done) and do a good bit more people watching. As you can see, I’ve not quite switched into holiday mode yet.
How do I explain Kathmandu? I would say both hostile (the head ache inducing pollution, the constant beeping, the piles of rubbish everywhere) and welcoming (the people and their hospitality, the variety of colours that just don’t exist at home, the amazing food). Add to that the incredible beauty of the many temples where people worship, the quiet spaces that people try to create in amongst the chaos and the unpredictability of it all, you have a slight glimmer of what being in Kathmandu is like.
On the way to the Buddhist stupa I mentioned above, here are just a few of things spotted in and around the roads:
Monkeys swinging from dilapidated temples, monks on mopeds, cows walking in gangs down the road, families of 3 and a kids bike on one tiny motorbike, a man counting money while he drives, goats and stray dogs making friends, trucks decorated with colourful patterns and necklaces, chickens chasing each other, a man taking a pee in a pile of rubbish beside our taxi…etc etc.
If ridding myself of western ideas of what society should be is something I want from this travelling malarkey, there can be no better place to start that journey than Kathmandu. Still it’s ok to admit that I’m looking forward to the peace and quiet of the mountain paths and tea houses right? Onwards to Pokhara for a 6 day trek.