We got into Kathmandu at about 10.30 on Saturday night, but didn’t get to our hotel till about 12.30am due mainly to the shambles that is arrivals at the airport.
Filling out Visa forms on ancient computers, lining up to pay for the visa, then queuing to go thru hand luggage scanning. Why? No idea, but only one machine worked, and regardless of whether it flashed red or green, the security guy just sat looking bored as.
The baggage collection area was a sea of bags, flung every which way.
Finally, after finding our bags randomly, a crawl thru to bag inspection, then thankfully out looking for our lift.
A complete dogs breakfast!
Our ride was there, so all ended well.
Sunday was catch up with sleep morning till about 9, breakfast, then out to find coffee and a few supplies.
Nepal is a third world country and Kathmandu fits the bill nicely.
It is a glorious riot of crazy electrics, wild traffic on crumbling roads, cars and bikes competing for precious space, horns playing their own strange symphony. Friendly Nepalese wanting to “practice their English”, touts pushing their dodgy wares, shopkeepers inviting you in to their magnificent establishments, traffic police fighting the good fight, in vain!
Did I mention the power poles, the mad lines, an electricians worst nightmare…not to mention the OH&S officer!?
Oh, and the roads are seriously deficient in any meaningful bitumen, or footpaths.
The place really is nuts, but in a polite, no nonsense way. We certainly never felt in any danger, everyone goes about their particular business in a quiet, almost respectful way.
We found coffee, nice but strange then proceeded to buy some ‘genuine Arc’Teryx gear…..or not! It was cheap for a reason, a solid knock off. We are in the Thamel area, home to all the trekking hotels, and therefore all manner of trekking shopped both real, and imagined.
They say you get what you pay for, sort of!
Lunch was a great meal in ‘The secret garden’ which was fabulous, more shopping, then a briefing with our guide, Dawa, who went thru our trek in detail.
Dinner was around the corner, including a cultural show (read, a lot of dancing), and a delicious meal of Dahl Bati.
To end then meal, Liz tried to pay 3500NRP, instead of 350NPR….and that after two drinks (a coke & a water)!
We met a few other trekkers, swapped yarns, ate too much and were in bed at 8.30. Another great sleep, quick brekky, and Monday starts.
Today we are off to a couple of important sites on a half day tour starting at Pashupati Temple, which is a World heritage listed site, and the most sacred Hindu site in Nepal.
The holy river is the site for Hindu cremations, which were in full bloom while we were there.
A little confronting, especially when one was just starting as we arrived. Just upstream a recently deceased (very recent) woman was being washed in the water before her cremation, with family surrounding her waving incense and sprinkling offerings over her.
PLUS, a couple of incredibly insensitive tourist wankers leaning in to take photos. Incredible!
Not to mention the couple taking selfies with a cremation in the background.
One born every minute!
Great experience, not withstanding the monkeys, who actually behaved.
Second stop was The Great Boudha Stupa, which is a religious, cultural and archaeologically important site.
Once again, a world heritage site, this time to the Buddhist religion, and a super impressive place.
Heaps of photos later, a visit to an artist school where people train to be master artists in the Mandala art of Buddhist life.
Impressive, intricate, painstakingly fine brush strokes produce these art pieces, which surprisingly were available to purchase, at prices which reflected the level of artistry achieved.
Unsurprisingly, we purchased a piece which will be framed when we get home.
Tour over, we headed back to the hotel, quick refresh then off for lunch, coffee and a bit of last chance shopping.
To end this report, a moment of shame….I bought fake crocs!
Needless to say, I have no words….I hang my head…