A year to the day after the horrific earthquake which struck Nepal I thought I would share my experiences of my trip to the county in 2013.
Day 1 London Heathrow-Kathmandu (KTM)
The definition of a day is a continuous 24 hour period but I class a day as time between 2 sleeps, so as I write this after a very long day (27 hours of no sleep) I am rather tired. The flights were fine even if both were delayed and I guess I hit ‘Nepali time’ before hitting Nepal itself. As soon as I stepped out of the terminal I was mobbed by taxi drivers all wanting my hard earnt cash but I shrugged them all off as I knew a driver had been sent from my hotel, I eventually found my placard ‘luck edward’ and hopped in. Like us Brits the Nepalis drive on the left of the road (a relic of the British Empire), well they’re meant to at least, as long as you don’t crash basically anything goes; any speed or type of overtake is allowed although I found it ironic that the slogan ‘slow drive, long life’ is written on many vehicles. Horns are used instead of mirrors so no journey on the road is going to be a quiet affair and the journey to the hotel certainly wasn’t a relaxing experience.
After the traumatic drive I arrived at the hotel I dropped my bags in the room and headed straight out into Thamel, the tourist district of Kathmandu. It is a real assault on the senses, so much noise and smell everywhere and still no rules on the roads, to a European it looked like carnage but I loved it. Every other shop seems to be a fake outdoor gear shop, selling any knock-off item you can imagine you might need in the Himalayas. I got chatting to a number of local guys but got hooked by one guy in particular who ended up taking me on a tour of Kathmandu, visiting both Pashupatinath temple and Boudhanath which is the largest stupa in Nepal and is revered as the holiest Tibetan Buddhist temple outside Tibet. Thousands gather daily to make a kora, or ritual walk around the perimeter, of the dome. It was a thoroughly enjoyable day and I got to see a lot of the city even if I got totally ripped off by the taxi which cost 4500 (£35). The moral of that story is always agreeing a price before the journey! I guess you learn best by your mistakes and it’s not one I plan on repeating anytime soon.
I am trying to organise an expedition into the Everest Region and Ganga the manager of my hotel and my liaison is coming tomorrow from another hotel so I will be discussing prices etc. with him then.