Morning in Kathmandu

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October 25th 2008
Published: October 25th 2008
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My favorite time to walk in Kathmandu is in the morning. Thamel, the tourist area of Kathmandu, gets up late. I like to be up early. I come out of my hotel room, and walk down the streets to the few cafes that are open early. On the streets, I meet the women that are sweeping the road, the dogs that will soon go back to sleep, and this morning I even saw a cow that was eating some white powder. I was hoping it wasn't concrete. I see also the shop keepers slowly dusting off their merchandise, putting everything back on their little display tables, and the rickshaw and taxi drivers already try to offer rides. But it is usually very cordial, and we smile at each other. Later it will get more crazy, and the noise, the crowd will eventually take over to a point difficult to imagine. Horns, music, motorcycles, generators, vendors, etc. A big Capharnaum, but somehow it is just another day in Kathmandu. I don't really notice anymore. Just like the daily power outages.

What still surprises me though, even after months in Asia is how tolerant everybody is, and how so many people and vehicles can be on the same road at the same time and somehow, you hardly ever touch anybody. Just like the vehicles seem to get slimmer as we meet on the road, people walk passed each other and you hardly ever feel a shoulder, a hand, a foot... The locals here have a sense of space that is quite different from ours. Only other tourists run into tourists and sometimes into locals.

I am leaving Kathmandu today. Going to India again! Varanasi this time. This trip to Nepal, like all the other ones, was beautiful. Not easy, I had one client who really suffered from altitude sickness and had to be evacuated. But the trek was very nice. It is a trek I had planned on doing in 1996, the first time I came to Nepal, but I had to leave early that time and never made it to the Khumbu. This time I saw Everest, and it was fascinating after reading so much about expeditions to the highest mountain in the world. The trek was also interesting because we explored other valleys at the same time and went up Renjo and Cho La, two high passes. Very worth it. Longer but the views are unforgettable.

My group left a couple days ago. I spent most of my free time in Kathmandu resting as I got the flu. We all took a glacial cold shower in Lukla and many of us got sick afterwards. I am better now, but still need to rest a bit. This is what holidays are for. I will be off for many weeks and will spend all that time in India before returning to Africa.

More later...


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