The Real Kathmandu

So what do you think of when you hear the name “Kathmandu”? My instant thought it that overpriced trekking store that often have those 60% sales which somehow still results in the stock still being $200+. Ok I just needed to rant about that just once, now its out of the system.

Arriving in Kathmandu, we were sure we’d just stepped back into the 70’s. The airport is constructed of dark brown bricks, the same security guard was responsible for both xraying luggage and controlling the walk through metal detector, and luggage was regularly getting jammed in the luggage travelator.

Our taxi driver was not very verbal, at most he gave us a grunt so we weren’t too sure he knew where he was going. Our anxiety wasn’t eased by the fact he decided to drive into oncoming traffic to overtake the vehicles in front and took us down dark and isolated alleyways (where we saw a herd of cows rummaging through rubbish). Eventually we made it to our hotel where the girls at the desk were absolutely wonderful.Our room is simple to say the least; a bed with a mattress that feels more like wooden planks, a toilet with no toilet paper, simply a hose and a bucket, and electrical plugs that hardly ever work cause of the regular power outages in the city. This will be fun!

The morning involved an endless stroll on the Main Street of Thamel (main tourist area). The streets are semipaved, the people are spitting like no tomorrow, the buildings aren’t numbered and the restaurants sell spaghetti??? But despite all this, Kathmandu has a certain charm to it that you can only discover once speaking to the locals. As we continued to walk we got chatting to a local who eventually became our tour guide cause he wouldn’t stop showing us around (sneaky bastard). Surprisingly he turned out to be very knowledgable and took us through the local markets and explained to us the strong emphasis that the Nepalese place on religion, mainly Hinduism and Buddhism.

We spent the afternoon with a private driver who took us to the cities of Bhaktapur and Nagarakot Bhaktapur lies south of Kathmandu and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Durbar Square seems to be a central ‘hang-out’ spot for the locals, luckily for us there was a Bollywood movie being filmed so there was a huge amount of excitement in the air, just like if Channing Tatum was wondering around Highpoint topless, that kind of excitement! There were plenty of temples to see but you know what its like when you see a temple, you can never remember anything about it 10seconds after the tour guide has just finished talking about it. Great place to visit just to see the architecture and to people-watch.

Nagarot was the complete opposite. It is a tiny tiny tiny village, much like Hobart (jokes). Its main attraction is its beautiful views of Kathmandu Valley. Other than that there’s not much else. but herds of goats.

Back in the hostel now just chillaxing after having a long day

Till next time
Ann & Jason

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