Funny story… Growing up, I thought the 1995 classic song by Rednex actually was talking about Kathmandu. Turns out, I was wrong.
Landing at Tribhuvan International Airport was a trip. This place seemed like it was stuck in a different decade. I didn’t mind it, until I got to the visa immigration line. Those cards that get handed out during the flight were actually necessary. There was also a three-counter process. It was terrible and caused long lines. We finally made it through to find that SIM cards were not for sale at the airport. GREAT
Balaram was happily waiting for us, and he somehow knew what we looked like. We got our luggage and headed out to the van. I don’t like letting people handle my bags so we walked through the lot, but these locals wouldn’t leave us alone. Once we loaded our stuff, they turned and told us we should tip… Well, I guess that is how the week was going to be. Ali handed him some riyals to get him to leave.
The van weaved and bobbed through the crowded streets filled with bikes and scooters. The smog was very noticeable. Many people were wearing masks: we should’ve followed suit.
We parked the van and went by foot to the apartment. We found the place on AirBNB again. It had great pictures and looked like a nice neighborhood. This ad was correct. The rooms were spacious and clean. Turns out we had some awesome neighbors, Juliette and Priscilla. We didn’t meet them for a couple days, but they were great. In Nepal for a while on volunteer and learning adventures. I applaud what they do. We met our host, Manoj, at the Om Apartments and learned about Singing Bowls and their healing properties.
The area we were located is a heritage site called Patan Durbar Square. It, sadly, had been hit hard by the earthquake. The architecture and carvings were beautiful. The area was vibrant and full of people
We toured around and learned some information. Our tour guide, Subash, was very knowledgeable. Our schedule for the week was pretty packed. So we headed for dinner. We wanted local Nepalese food, so we asked around. Someone gave us a map and circled a location. When we got there, it turns out they sent us to an Indian restaurant, Tasneem’s Kings Kitchen. Turns out, this is some of the best food I have had. The owner, Tasneem, was awesome and her husband was very engaging. We actually ended up coming back to this restaurant even.
That night we explored the famous Thamel. Live music, girls, people out and about. It was great. We hit up all the spots. Unfortunately the cabs were the size of matchbox toys, so it made for an interesting ride.
Subash took us all over the city. The temples all run together. I do know we went to the Monkey Temple. This beautiful location was surrounded by monkeys, hence the name. There were vendors selling crafted jewelry and trinkets alike. The monkeys were playful and seemed to enjoy the human interaction. There was a large pool where they would jump off of ledges into the water.
We made our way up some stairs and saw the actual temple. Visitors are supposed to walk around the stupa in the center touching the prayer wheels on the way.
The views were breath-taking. Prayer flags flew in the air. It was very peaceful… well except for Ali. Something had hit him square in the stomach. We were warned about getting a bug, but I thought for sure it would be me.
Turns out everything in Kathmandu closes very early. This wasn’t bad for this night, since we had to wake up early the next day.
Part of our tour was a mountain flight in a small plane to see Everest. Even though these small planes are very annoying to people my size, we knew we had to check this out. Mount Everest is one of the seven natural wonders of the world. You don’t pass up on opportunities like that.
Back to the airport, this time on the domestic side. This airport is very run down. But we made it through and boarded our plane. It was a little over an hour. We flew by the mountain then circled back. I can hardly find words to describe it. The whole range of mountains. It was awe-inspiring, breath-taking, astounding, majestic.
I am so glad we went on this flight. They even let you into the cockpit for an amazing view.
We met some great people from all over the globe.
After the flight we went to some more temples. By now, Mit wasn’t feeling tip-top either. Subash took us to a clinic to get them checked out. I can’t even begin to type the description of this place. It is a story best suited for in person telling. Remind me next time I see you, and I will tell you all about it.
From there we went to a Hindu temple, Pashupatinath, We witnessed a funeral. throughout history, women have not been allowed to attend, but with the new laws, they are now. We watched as a woman mourned the loss of her loved one. It was heart-wrenching. They burned the body by the river.
The whole area was beautiful and sacred.
Afterwards we headed home. We knew the next day would be a long one. We were heading up another mountain.
We wanted to see a sunset. So we left around noon to head up a windy road. The roads in Sri Lanka were surprisingly good… well these roads made up for it. They were crumbling and slippery. Our driver skillfully made his way up them though. It felt like forever, but we made it to the top. Except not yet. We still had more stairs to climb.
FINALLY. The top of mountain… Oh wait, there is a tower to climb now. Finally, I’m on top of the world
It was chilly up there. The fog was rolling in. But the sunset was beautiful. We took some pictures and enjoyed a mountaintop beer. Mit did his yoga poses.
On the way down, we stopped off to have a prayer session off the side of the mountain. It was very relaxing.
After we made it down, we had our final dinner back at Tasneem’s.
Overall the trip was perfect. The pollution is tough, and if I came back to Nepal, I would go to Pokhara and stay in the mountains. But I am so glad I got to go. We were there when the Consititution was signed. We witnessed history.
Thank you to Juliette, Priscilla, Manoj, Subash and Balaram for an amazing trip.
Until next time.