There's no mystery about the daily lives of the people in Kathmandu and other villages in Nepal. From early dawn till late evening, doors and windows open, roller doors go up and people pour into the streets to carry out their daily routines. Everything becomes public with washing clothes, themselves, cooking, sewing, repair work, socialising and produce selling. Vendors stand in the street beckoning you into their shops with the phrases "Very cheap, best price for you, I give you very good price, just come inside just look." Men and children wee along the sides of the road and alley ways, dogs, goats and cows do it all and add to the pollution on the sidewalks and roads.
Everything about Kathmandu is uneven, crooked and incomplete.
It is full of rubble and rubbish and cars, buses, trucks and motor bikes spew out black smoke and fumes to mix with the dust to create a blanket of air difficult to breathe in. Our tour leader tells us it is very quiet because of the Dasain festival and many people have gone home to their families living outside of Kathmandu. How true those words were when we returned to Kathmandu a few weeks later the amount of people and traffic was unbelievable!
Once you step into the street you quickly get carried along with the flow of people walking along the uneven and hazardous foot paths (where they exist) or potholed streets. Your body is tensed and your hearing alert as you sidestep rubble, holes, manure, mud, water, dogs and people while endeavouring not to be run over by the many bicycles, carts, taxis and trucks that criss-cross the road.
All overtaking each other whilst beeping their horns. There are very few street lines and the only traffic lights we've seen just flash orange. At first you would believe there are no road rules but after a few days in buses & taxis you notice the invisible third lane that weaves in and out of the traffic, and the different amount of horn beeps or the length seem to let the vehicle, bike, cart or person know you're going to overtake. Even the street dogs & children seem to know the rules. Of course the "sacred cows" do as they please and move only when they're ready. The noise and movement seem not to bother them.
Nothing quite prepared me for the initial exposure to the street life of Kathmandu. No video, photos or blogs I'd seen before the trip captured the overwhelming activity, noise, landscape, buildings and poverty I was going to experience. In the 20 minute ride from the airport to the Radisson Hotel it was sensory overload. My adventure had begun.