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Published: December 3rd 2015
Kathmandu, Nepal - 29 November 2015
Our flight from Varanasi was 2 hours late leaving for New Delhi so we arrived at 10.00pm. Our new driver was there to pick us up. He took us straight to our hotel where we were going to sleep overnight and then catch another plane in the morning to Kathmandu. Everything went to plan.
On arriving in Kathmandu at 12.30pm we were picked up and taken to the beautiful Hotel Shanker, an old palace which has been heavily restored. We had to buy our visa ($40 AUD each) at the airport.
After checking in we visited the Swyambhu Nath & Kathmandu Durbar. This was our opportunity to see some of the devastation left by the earthquake in April this year. There were many historic buildings completely destroyed. Our driver lost his house. Very sad. I will let the photos tell the story.
We also saw Patan City, Golden Temple and at sunset, the Monkey Temple...surprise, surprise, there were many monkeys climbing over the temples. There was some damage here.
The sunset was beautiful, even though we probably should have been
there 1/2 hour earlier.
On top of this there is a border dispute which has reached its 105th day. The Nepalese Government has bought in a new constitution which has not been beneficial to the southern Nepalese as well as the Indians who are married to Nepalese and have been in the country for years. There has been a blockade to all Indian trucks coming to Nepal. This includes fuel and gas trucks. The consequence is that the country is very short of petrol and gas.
In towns, as we drove around we saw incredibly long lines of people with their gas bottles, wanting to fill them. There were also extensive lines of busses and trucks, sitting doing nothing.
When we got to Pokhara after Kathmandu, the hotel only had hot water from 6.00pm to 10.00pm and with restricted power. The country was really feeling it. Tourist cars and busses could find petrol so we had no problems moving around the country.
The FANTASTIC point about entering Nepal was the traffic was less horn-blowing, the sales-pitch was mild, there were very few heads of cattle wandering the street,
and the place was notably cleaner and there was a notable pride in what they were doing. Wonderful.
I sat on the plane next to an Indian human-rights lawyer...very interesting conversation about how cast, religion and female rights were holding back Indian progress. He was on his way to a 3-day conference in Kathmandu. His parting words to me were "Nepalese do not like Indians" and we were learning that fast!
This night, which unfortunately is the only night we were in the city. We found a lovely restaurant on the 1st floor and had the famous Nepalese dish - chicken and buff Momo....yummy!
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