Published: November 18th 2012November 17th 2012
As it had taken about an hour to make my way through Passport control, I was hoping my rucksack would be waiting for me on the conveyor belt somewhere up ahead. My luck was certainly improving as the first piece of luggage I clapped my eyes on was mine. Hurraaah – in the country and I have all my luggage with me!
Changing some cash into Nepalese Rupees proved straightforward, though the exchange rate is somewhat difficult to use any kind of mental maths to work out.
Exiting the airport in a foreign country can often be a somewhat unnerving situation, however it proved easier than I had expected to find a taxi that had heard of the hotel “Swanker” and was prepared to take me. My luggage and I were hauled into some kind of Suzuki rickshaw jeep that went about 15mph. The taxi driver was very friendly and asked the usual things any taxi driver abroad ask a foreigner.
“Where are you from?” ….”How long you stay?”….”Is this your first time in Nepal?”. Taxi drivers the world over must be issued with a the phrase book of 5 English sentences. No surprise then that “Taxi” is the only word that is spelt and pronounced the same in every country in the world.
Within 5 minutes of leaving the airport the driver turned off the main road onto what looked like a farmers track. We were still within the built up area of the city, but my suspicion radar was now on. I needn’t have worried, as it turned out that most of the streets in Kathmandu like the ones I was travelling along are dark (no working street lights), have massive pot holes in them, narrow, full of rubbish and rubble, not to mention lots of roaming stray dogs. I relaxed into the very bumpy ride and sucked in the sights you don’t normally see driving down your local high street.
There were lots of dogs….I mean lots and lots. Maybe I should have had the rabies jab afterall? Despite actually being in the city, I passed several pigs head down in the rubbish scavenging for scraps of food. I also had my first bovine encounter of this trip – a solitary cow wandering the streets.