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Stowing Away I stood between two facing mirrors & almost caught a glimpse of infinity, but my bloody head kept getting in the way

Kathmandu

NEPAL | Tuesday, 18 September 2001 | Views [2401] | Comments [2]

Streets of Kathmandu

Streets of Kathmandu

Hi All,

Well I'm here in sunny Kathmandu, Nepal, about 28 degrees and not too humid (unlike Bangkok).

It's nice here - like a big friendly village (except the airport which is surrounded by hundreds of touts & taxis to take you everywhere you don't want to go. There's plenty of trekking tourists here, but about 98% of them are French (dunno why - I've only seen one other Aussie, 1 Dane, couple of Brits and a number of Germans)

Just finished 2 days of white water rafting down the Trisuli river. It's not the wildest river in Nepal but has a few decent rapids. Some of the other rivers are still closed as the monsoon has only just finished & the water levels are still to high to safely travel.

When I booked the rafting, I was told there was 16 people, mostly Australian, on two rafts. What it turned out to be was the Arthur Dodgy tour of 1 raft, local bus trips there & back, with myself and 5 Frenchmen. (I could tell because of zer outrageous French accents) They all smoked incessantly (mostly hash), except if we were actually going down a rapid at the time (only so they didn't get the hash wet). I was so looking forward to the pristine Nepalese countryside air... So 5 completely stoned Frenchmen trying to navigate down white water, hmmm...  At least the guide & I knew what we were doing.

We spent a night camped on a riverbank (with good food cooked by the guide) and then it was back on the smoke boat for another day. The trip finished by the side of the road somewhere (well, in the middle of nowhere as far as I could tell), and the raft-guide flagged down a passing local bus to take me back to Kathmandu. The 4 hr trip took about 6 hrs as a landslide cut the road just outside Kathmandu. (The hills drop away almost vertically in most places with the road carving a little track along the side - landslides are a daily event - this is Nepal were talking about here). A bulldozer filled in the hole and a long procession of busses & trucks floored it over the damaged section, hoping it wouldn't give way above or below. Still, the roads are much better here than Cambodia - they have bitumen! and drainage! and a semblance of retaining walls to stop the buses falling off the cliffs (I've only seen two old wrecks of trucks that had gone over the edge).

Quite a few military road blocks on the road too - to keep down the Maoist rebels, i think. They stopped the bus about 4 times each way Some posts are quite heavily armed - on had 3 machine gun posts (m60's), several automatic rifles on bipods and about 20 soldiers with SLR's all pointing nonchalantly across the road. If something ever happened, I wouldn't want to be the shop directly across the street...They gave the bus a very half-hearted search, poked about at a few bags (totally ignoring me, the only foreigner on the bus), and got off.

I start my first trek to the Annapurnas on Friday, then off to the Chitwan national park for an jungle safari on the back of an elephant for a few days. Assuming I'm not eaten up by some rampaging tigers, then it's off towards Mt Everest for my 2nd trek & some higher altitude fun. Hopefully I will be able to do some hot air ballooning on my return to Kathmandu - I had planned to do it now, but apparently the ballooning season doesn't start for a bit over a week (too much wind or something).

So got a fairly nice cheap place in Thamel (the oldest, most interesting (& most touristy/backpacker) place in Kathmandu - narrow medieval like streets) for $5 a night, so I'm just cruising around & looking thru the nooks & crannies (& internet cafes) & temples. I think I'll hire a bike for a day and wander around the Kathmandu valley.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to my treks (where I shall be internet deprived), and will talk to you all after then.

Hope everyone is well,
Cheers,

Ian

Click to view zoomable Google satellite map of Kathmandu

Tags: kathmandu, kathmandu valley, landslide, nepal, on the road, rafting, thamel, trekking

 

Comments

1

Great 2 hear from u e,

Funny about the French.

With re to NY, I was woken by BJ while it was
happenning. Well... he tried 2 wake me. I 1/2 opened
my eyes and thought it was some bad action film and
went back 2 sleep.
We r moving in 2.5 weeks. Scary.
Have enjoyed your drums & guitar, they r being looked after well!
Must fly, some of us have 2 work!!!
Pleased 2 hear u r having a blast.
US have gone mad, have declared war, I'm sure u have heard.

Hugs,

Melanie. xo

  Mel Sep 19, 2001 4:18 PM

2

Hi,

great to hear from you!!! Boy do i miss you. Any chance you can find a cheap flight to Hong Kong from wherever you are??? Would love to see you...

Love from Julie

  Julie B Sep 21, 2001 4:03 PM

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