Well we both like Kathmandu, poor India, it didn’t really stand a chance in comparison! I guess Rob always liked it here, being his second home, but as a first time visitor I have to say I’m impressed. It’s like a cleaner, friendlier, more interesting Delhi. People striking up a conversation will sometimes just want to talk, not just sell you something, and we have actually enjoyed a day of shopping today, not feeling pressured into buying anything (and spending a lot more because of it!)
Our hotel is lovely, chilled out and a little potted-plant haven above the bustling Thamel streets. Thamel by the way is the area of Kathmandu where we are staying, it’s aimed at backpackers and trekkers and it’s busy in a good way. There is a constant buzz of taxis and chatting and musicians, playing the monkey donkey song that Becca taught me on skype and now I can’t get out of my head whenever I hear it!
We arrived after a very cramped flight from Delhi, to realise that our preparations of getting photos taken for our visas beforehand were useless as we had packed them in our main baggage. So we were the last ones out of the airport, luckily our lift from the hotel was waiting for us still. It was funny watching Rob as we drove through, because there were obviously bits that he recognised, and he said that the roads haven’t changed at all, it’s just a bit more built-up. I don’t think he is disappointed so far, he had been worried that it would have been too ‘westernised’ after hearing about the introduction of fast-food places! We got back quickly and crashed in our massive room for a bit. No air-con here but you would hardly need it as its much less humid despite still being just over 30C. The only thing that’s taking a bit of getting used to is the power-shedding which is timetabled but can be a little erratic; can’t complain too much about candle-lit meals though. We ended the day on the roof top watching the sun setting over the Himalayas – well apparently their just hills but they look pretty big to me. The photos we took were from earlier in the afternoon, neither of us wanted to miss the amazing colours of the actual sunset to go get the camera, so that will have to wait for another time.
Today was our first full day and we spent it well; shopping. I needed to replace a few tops so we went in lots of girly clothes shops (the style here is pretty much fat-face, so you can imagine I am struggling to pick something rather than find something). I ended up getting a really nice floaty summer dress which a second shop around the corner is currently taking in for me, We also spent ages looking at singing bowls for Rob and Thangkas for me. A thangka is a beautiful, hand-painted Buddhist scroll, framed in silk. I’m being a little bit picky about the one I want and we’ve been to several shops already but haven’t found the right one yet (one had the most amazing colours, but the Buddha in the middle looked stoned). We are going to end up spending most of our ‘treat’ money here I can tell, under the pretence of kitting out my library/meditation room… in the house that we don’t have! If anyone wants to put in any requests for anything Buddhist related or pashminas do so this week – I think we’ll be sending a crate of stuff home!
We have a whole week here which is nice, don’t feel at all rushed, but we’ll probably try and do some sight-seeing in the next couple of days, and go and visit Shanti (the Fletchers’ landlady) and her family.
Namaste! Nic & Rob