Published: November 1st 2009October 26th 2009
Nepal has been on my wishlist for ever...the land up there...I did not know exactly what to expect. Read a fair amount of blogs on the country, but not that many were very glorious.
So here we are to judge by ourselves. My parents are in Bangkok for few days enjoying grandparenting with Leslie, and we are off for few adventurous days. Our first stop, Kathmandu. We did not stay in Thamel, the tourist area. We went there, but were very happy to escape as soon as we could. So did not see that many hippies going around...it's more a mix of backpackers and senior trekkers. We are also at the height of the high season, meaning higher prices, meaning...some on a very low budget are avoiding the place for these few months. Thamel is nice, full of shops, but I'd rather get lost surrounded by Nepaleses than tourists.
The plan in Kathmandu was to spend our first and last afternoon of our 5 days in Nepal. First afternoon, we walked around town most of the time, with two main stops. First stop was in Swayambhu to visit the Monkeys Temple, and or second main stop was in Basantapur.
Between these 2 places, we enjoyed getting lost in the small alleys of Kathmandu. Did I tell you that quite often, I had the feeling to be in Fez, or any other medieval town with all these small alleys.
Swayambhu, the Monkey Temple was a first great experience. We arrived at dinner time to witness more than a hundred ladies dressed in red sharing their dinner (early dinner). Monkeys were obviously all around, and the place is great to give you a clearer idea of the sheer size of Kathmandu, and it's 1.5 to 2 millions inhabitants. We than made our way to Basantapur, one of the main Squares of Kat. When we arrived, a huge crowd of thousands was standing there...we did not have to wait long to find out that one of the houses on the square, housing a restaurant had just burnt down in flames. Happily, the day after we heard that everybody survived, just few injuries due to people jumping out of the 2nd and 3rd floors. But never saw so many curious faces in a single place.
Kathmandu is...not specially clean, this is a fact. There is a massive dust all over the
place, with hundreds of people wearing mask...and I doubt this is because of the current virus. Most of the town simply doesn't have electricity once the night is there, making it a very "dark" city at some points...or kind of "romantic" with all those candles.
The country is certainly not rich, but what stun me is how nice people are. There are basically very few beggars, and when I mean few, I mean very few! People are smiling, helping for directions, and negociating a taxi fare is not that difficult. I'm amazed by the serenity and level of happiness around, even in this quite austere environment. I can declare it easily, Nepalese people are wonderfully nice and smiling. So if you come here, it may not be much for the buidlings, but more certainly for the nature...but do not forget, you will encounter amazing people!
On our last day, we spent our morning in Bhaktapur, but this alone will need a single blog entry. After that, we made our way to the airport, or to be more precise, next to the airport. We did play golf at the Royal Nepal Golf Course. The course date back to 1917.
Only 9 holes, not amazing conditions, but very nice design...and one more time, very nice people. This is one more country in which I play golf, bringing the count to (if I'm correct) 34 countries in which I hit the fairways.
We did not sleep in Thamel to avoid the tourists and were very happy to be able to spend a nice night out of the noise and pollution in the outskirts of the city. This is a first blog for Nepal, next one, we are hitting the road north-east, right next to Tibet.
Nepal, one more country for us, but a place where I already know we will be back one day.
There are more photos below