Kathmandu 8/09-8/10

Kathmandu Travel Blog

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Thursday 8/09/07

I woke up early and "checked out" of the GT dorms – which means I said goodbye to the Sikh monks (what DO you call them?) and they asked for their donation, which I was happy to give Rs200, I guess this was more than the norm, because them seemed very happy and wanted to bring me tea and smiled a lot. Maybe one of those 100 notes was a 1000, LOL! I flew from Amritsar to Delhi and had a long wait in Delhi before flying on to Kathmandu. I really wish I was taking a night train there *wink* I had a window seat and when we began our descent, we went through solid clouds for at least 5 minutes , the kind where you can barely see the blinking light on the end of the wings. It started to get a bit boring. But when those clouds broke – my God! It was beautiful! We were over the foothills of the Himalayas, I suppose. They were green – greener than Ireland, and in a million dazzling shades! And they rippled across the countryside. I saw an insanely immense forest – I won't even attempt to speculate how large – and I couldn't find a single ribbon of road snaking through it, or a cluster of houses set inside it. What an amazingly simple picture! As we flew on, towns quickly popped up, but were always permeated by the green-ness I suppose the monsoon has brought. And then there were the mountains. It was almost visually too much; I could feel my eyes getting hot as I was mesmerized by the intensity of the landscape, the breath-taking-ness of it all. My eyes get misty just recalling the emotion I experienced during that descent. If the Nepali cocked an attitude and refused to issue me a visa at the border, I'd be disappointed, but I wouldn't regret that flight. It was worth its cost just for the scenery it provided. Luckily, I didn't have to worry about the visa thing, it was issued without incident and I was off to Kathmandu Guest House, where I was thrilled to find a clean room with 2 screened windows looking into the courtyard (caught a nice, cool breeze) – and my own bathroom! Staying at the Golden Temple in Amritsar really made me giddy about having my privacy. I immediately jumped in the shower and then headed down to the outdoor cafĂ© for a fruit lassi and soup. I had purchased Lonely Planet, Nepal at the KGH's bookstore and perused it over my early dinner. There was live music coming from around the corner, where a Nepali band was covering songs and doing a good job at it, too. I went up and grabbed a beer while trying to plan out what to do here. A wacked-out goofy guy from Israel sat down at my table (all the others had filled up) and brought me a stick of smoking incense as a present and offered to share his hash with me.  (I declined.) It was pretty entertaining to watch him check out every other girl in the bar (after I told him I was married).  I'm sure he THOUGHT he was being charming, or at least discreet lol!  He did make an amazingly stealthy exit. So impressive, that I checked with the waiter to ensure he hadn't stuck me with his bill!  As soon as he left, his seat was replaced with a guy from Texas with a major attitude problem.  He DID look Nepali, and he got ridiculously offended when a couple of Japanese tourists mistook him for the waiter. He claimed to work for the US Embassy and was trying to convince me to go day-tripping with him and his embassy friends. I really disliked this guy and decided it was time to call it a night, since I was obviously attracting the crazies. My Crazy-Magnet hasn't been turned up so high in years! Hopefully the rest of Nepal – oh shit!  As I write this, the guy behind me is staring at me through his pocket mirror, I shit you not! – doesn't follow suit. (heh, heh.)

Friday 8/10/07

I wake up early (duh!) and go downstairs to the cafĂ© for breakfast of an omelet, tea, and fresh fruit. The guy at a table near me tries to tell me something, pointing at his temple, but his accent is too thick and I think he must be telling me I have something on my face. After eating, I write yesterday's journal, and I realize that guy has switched chairs so his back is to me and he's holding a tiny decorated mirror through which I can perfectly see a single eye staring at me – creepy!!! Especially as it happened in the exact train of thought I'd mentioned in yesterday's entry. He's been staring at me for at least 7 minutes now, and has just started speaking angrily in another language to another table of tourists. At least he's put the mirror down finally. I'm certainly going to be on Wacko Watch. The weird guy has switched seats again so he can stare at me. He's ultra-creeping me out. I've decided to mention it to a manager. Before I can do so, I start talking with a group of High School teachers who've just biked here from Tibet. On my way back inside, I do see the manager, and inform him that he's got a nutcase at table 9. He just laughs. Oh well, maybe after a few more complaints roll in… I head back to my room for a quick shower, and then I begin my most ridiculous and tortuous day (the only one, so far) to date. I attempt to deal with the resident tour booking company – and it seriously lasts all day. It seems simple enough, I want to go rafting down to Chitwan and then do a trek in Pokhara, and if they can get me a flight to Goa on the 24th, I'll buy that through them, too. Well, I speak to a woman and she gives me some good info to think about, so I hang out in the garden and look it over, then I go back to ask a Q, and a guy's there, so I talk to him, and he gives me some more details, really good info on the treks. And a woman walks by and warns me not to trust them… uh oh! I don't pay too much mind though, she seemed a little bit prissy. The guy's going to call about my flight but it could take a little while. So I step out to the patio for lunch and tell him to just let me know if he needs my credit card to book anything. After lunch, I go back and he's gone, but she's back. I ask if there are hikes of 3-4 days, because I think 5 may be too long during the monsoon. She doesn't know anything about the treks and calls him back, Aaagh! Anyways, it turns into a HUGE clusterfuck, and I end up telling them to forget about the plane tickets and their overpriced trek and just book me for the 2 day/1 night rafting trip tomorrow and then for 2 nights in Chitwan, and I'd figure the rest out myself. After this, I'm so frustrated with the fact that I've been in Nepal for a full day and have seen nothing but wack-jobs of one type or another. So I head towards the day spa I'd priced out earlier as too good a bargain not to take advantage of.  I get a good pedicure and the most FANTASTIC one hour massage! I mean, for $15, how could I say no? After the spa, I head out to the cafĂ©, and the tour desk finally has my paperwork for tomorrow ready. They're really nice, just don't know what they're doing, I think.  At dinner (just like at breakfast and lunch), my favorite nutcase is hanging out. Only this time I don't notice him until after I've ordered, and he's not peeking at me through a mirror, so I just ignore him as best I can. The music is really going at the bar next door, and the band is doing some great covers of Bob Marley, Pink Floydd, the Doors, and CCR – really great music selection, but I have no desire to meet more monkeys. So I'm just hanging out here, reading my Nepal book and becoming frustrated with my cell phone because it's not sending my text messages to Chris. Well, time to hit the I-cafĂ© and pack up my stuff for rafting tomorrow. What a useless day! I feel like all I did was eat for a wacky one-man audience!

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photo by: sharonburgher