Everest Flight is No-Go
Kathmandu Travel Blog› entry 3 of 7 › view all entries
Alarm sounded at 4:45am as planned. Was given a cup of tea plus some biscuits. The taxi didn't seem to come but Sipi's dad managed to secure a taxi for me to the domestic terminal. The strike was on and this was the last time I would be in a taxi.
Got the domestic terminal to discover that it was not yet open. Did the mpolite thing and just skipped ahead of the trekkers carrying their obscene amounts of gear....its not like I held them up, I was just waved through since all I had was a camera. Inside I got talking to a guy from Dallas working in Kabul so at least I had somebody to talk to. We waited a long time but then they cancelled the flight because the visibility was bad...then the fun began.
Because of the general strike there were no taxis at the airport. The only thing that would be available would be the tourist bus but since I wasn't staying at a hotel this didn't seem to work for them. I talked to one of the bicycle rickshaw drivers and they offered me a ride for 2000 rupees...as I started to walk away the price dropped down to 600.
I went back to the rickshaw drivers and offered up 600 and off I went. We got near the ring road and it became clear that crossing this intersection was going to be dangerous for the driver. He asked me to just walk ahead but instead I paid him 500 for his trouble and elected to walk the rest of they way. The city is in a very strange situation. I saw guys with some sticks take off after a guy driving a motorcycle. They didn't seem too concerned with my presence but I wasn't sticking around to take in this type of action, best to just carry on and hope not to be noticed.
Something which I have noticed here is that white skinned tourists do not seem to be watched (other than when trying to push some merchandise). I didn't see anybody giving me a second glance on a crowded street during this unsettled time. Clearly they have enough tourists coming for trekking that they are use to it. I know that in Chennai the situation was very different. Even in Doha I get a few looks every now and then..although usually it is at prayer time and I am heading the opposite direction of the mosque.
I am unsure of what has not happened with the rest of this trip. Sipi's dad seems to think that reaching Pokhara is out of the question, and I suppose that it introduces a risk of not getting back...at least from their house I can walk to the airport in about 45 minutes. Looks like for now I should just sit back and read my book. In the worst case I can always go out and walk around and explore Kathmandu on foot, perhaps we can get something arranged with the travel agent to retry the mountain flight tomorrow.
The mountain flight is booked for bright and early tomorrow morning, let's hope that this turns out better than today. Chances are that I will need to walk at least one direction.
We walked to another Buddhist temple today. This one was long walk at nearly 45 minutes each way. The atmosphere was sort of surreal. There were only the occasional car and motorbike on the road. I was told that normally the road would be very busy.
On the way back we came through an alley only a couple of feet wide. We found a couple of people in front of us waiting to go around the corner when a pair of bulls appeared. Everybody just moved aside and gave them as much room as we could.
It would seem that these early morning alarms are catching up given that I crashed at least long enough for somebody to notice and shut my door.
It is now the case that nothing is working in Pokhara, therefore this trip just focuses on Kathmandu. I will try to spend some time exploring on my own. Although this is not quite the vacation that I wanted, it is still a really enjoyable time...it is definitely the case that staying with Sipi's parents was the right thing to do. This would have been a drag in a hotel by myself.
We received a phone call from Sipi about 6:00. I think her father is being very apologetic but as Sipi told me these types of disruptions are part of the Nepalese way of life. Sipi asked what my favorite thing was and I really didn't have an answer. Seeing temples and such are things that I've done before. Now that I am writing however that it has become obvious that staying here in this house is easily the best part of this trip.
At 6:30pm Sipi's mom and data invited me to go for a walk. They were headed out to pick up a few items at the store given that things were going to be opened for a couple of hours with the labor problems going on here. We stopped at a bakery, a fruit stand and BigMart. The fruit stores here are essentially the same as they are in Doha except that they are not air conditioned. The bakery looked pretty much the same as a commercial bakery in Doha (not one of the Arab bread bakers with a lineup of Arabs waiting for their nightly meal). The grocery store in Kathmandu carries many of the same things/brands that we find in Doha with some things being a bit more expensive and some things being a bit less.
On the way back, Sipi's dad sent stopped to pick up some chips and Pepsi for me while I walked back with Sipi's mom carrying the groceries. The place here is dark in general. I don't remember anywhere else other than outside of Manaus as being this dark at night.