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Published: August 9th 2017
Geo: 27.7029, 85.3182
Woot, Woot, I'm so excited to be entering Nepal and starting another adventure in another country.
After finally getting to the border and a quick immigration check I found myself waiting a few hours till my supposed 18-20hr bus ride to Kathmandu. I booked a "Private" bus which was still pretty dilapidated but much better than the local buses. But that's the best that I was going to get.
It was an interesting ride. I had a lady on the row next to me spit the whole way, just on to the walkway in the middle of the bus. It was a bumpy and noisy ride from the loose windows banging against the frames. I knew that stopping was going to be limited so i therefore limited my water consumption to cope.
We stopped for a break every so often and to get food, but i wasn't even going to try. It's not a pleasant sight seeing ladies going to the bathroom on the side of the road right next to you.
Day turned into night, Minutes into hours, so i was glad to have an Ipod, that kept me pretty sane.
It started getting relatively cold throughout the night, but i had my
blanket to keep me warm.
I probably drifted off to sleep for about a total of an hour so it wasn't the best trip around but the only option.
So after 2 flat tyres, long, cold and sleepless journey the whole trip lasted only 16hr, I was shocked but thankful. We arrived somewhere in Kathmandu, and I was fortunate enough to catch a taxi with some locals into Thamel, the main area. It was about 10am when i had checked into the Kathmandu peace guesthouse, thanks to the referral of Carole. It is tucked away on the Northern end of Thamel and away from the main area but only 5 min walk away.
I was pretty tired, so I rested for a while and then took a walk around the main area while I waited for Radek to arrive. I took probably one the best showers of the whole trip,the water was consantly hot and i was in there for about 20min. As i finished up, Radek arrived after his torturous trip from Northern India. So once he refreshed himself up, we went and got some food, it was expensive where we went, but still cheap as apposed to prices at home.
following day we grabbed breakfast at the guesthouse and then proceeded to walk the streets of Thamel, looking for the best prices for gear. We would go into one shop, suss out the prices and then move on to the next before finding the best price. We found one shop where Radek bought a -20 sleeping bag and 2 sticks for a cheap price, can't remember the exact figure.
Then we grabbed some lunch and started to suss the prices out for the flight's in and out of Lukla. This was the fun part. We were originally offered $226 for return flight, and after going into a half a dozen other places we ended up getting the tickets down to $178 each. That's a saving of $50 on the original quote. Score!, Just goes to show if you shop around and haggle, it pays. Radek is funny to watch, he loves haggling for the best price and is pretty good at it too, so i just sit there and let him do all the work...haha nah not all the work, but it benefits me.
The next day was my birthday, so we went to a small local place for some breakfast.
We became a fan of these local places because they would serve a curry with bread, doughnut pastry things and potato samosas and it would only cost 50rs as apposed to a egg omlette at a restaurant for 200rs. And our little breakfast would fill you up more than the omlette would.
Cheap and Delicious.
Today was the first time we thought to do some sightseeing. So we decided to follow the lonely planet's walking tour from Thamel to Durbar Square. Once we had exited the Thamel area which appeared empty, we hit the busy part of town. It was a Sunday, but there were many people walking the streets. Throughout the walking tour you pass a few temples until you reach Durbar square itself. At first appearance it looks old and dilapidated, But still looks good with a odd style of architecture. We went to the museum which was all about the Neaplise Royal Family of the past, present and future. It was Ok, really big. They were trying to close up behind us, so we eventually skipped through the last quarter of the exhibition.
From Durbar Square we went and got some lunch and then headed to the Tourist Center
to sort out our TIMS card which is required when you do trekking, and sorting out the National park fee.
The office to pay the fee was closed but we got our TIMS card and would have to come back tomorrow for the fee.
The day was quickly coming to a close, but we still had enough time to take a taxi to the famous Bodhnath Stupa. Wow! this thing is a seriously big Stupa. What is the need for something so big?? But it's popular. It was swarmed with people all walking around the stupa clockwise, chanting prayers and spinning wheels. The stupa is surrounded by shops and restaurants all trying to compete for the best view or the highest view of the stupa.
We went to the base on top and walked around, observing people as they prayed.
For the way back we decided that it would be a fun and cheaper idea ( 30rs for two people instead of 200rs for a taxi ) to catch a local share taxi/van back. We crammed into a small rickshaw van type of vehicle. This is a common way to get around the streets of Kathmandu for the locals. It was fun, and
we got dropped off near Thamel.
We then went to a local place for a celebratory birthday drink. We went to this place because they had the Thumba drink which i had in Sikkim. Radek didn't like the taste too much.
So it had been a rather pleasant day.
The following morning was our last day before the big trip. We got another local breakfast and then did some more shopping. I bought a jacket i liked a few days before. It's a knock off of a popular Canadian brand called Arctyrx, it looks good and works good, wind proof, and i got it for 3000rs, about $50, so i was pleased. We also bought supplies, food and water and went back to the Tourist center and paid our national park fee. I also hired my -20 sleeping bag and was set to go.
While i was waiting for the sleeping bag, two people entered the small and thin shop. I recognized the face straight away and called out "Ashley" to the girl, but she said no, i thought, hang on, i know this person. I persisted and called out Greentree. There was a bit of awkwardness and i said i
was Hugh from Facebook. Well, I was right, it was Dustin and Chelsey, a Canadian couple i had met on the internet who were looking at doing the Everest base camp trek at the same time i was and we were looking at doing it together but had not managed to meet in Kathmandu earlier. After sorting out the confusion we arranged to meet later on in the day for some drinks.
Later on we went for some dinner with Dustin, as Chelsey was busy packing. They were going to do the trek to Gokyo instead, but that was fine and we would see them at the airport the next morning.
I didn't mind Kathmandu, Thamel was nice. There is just soooooo much shopping that can be done there it's diabolical. But like most places the tout's are annoying and the sheer amount of times you get offered to buy Hash or Marijuana is frustrating.
So with our gear packed and leftovers in storage we were pumped for a trip of a lifetime.
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