Nepal, first impressions, again.

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Last time we arrived in Kathmandu, almost four years ago, we were fresh from the slightly stressful New Delhi. Thamel, in comparison, was a peaceful haven. We were both a little nervous that culture shock might not be so kind to us this time around.

Well, despite being very noisy and very hot, we seemed to have done okay so far. We started slowly just relaxing and getting our bearings, getting over jet-lag and it’s taken a couple of days to emerge from the stupor of travel. Now we are finding our feet in our new routine; breakfast on the terrace, coffee in Himalayan Java, meandering around the shops. We read, write postcards and journals on the rooftop and listen to the clanging and clattering of Thamel life. Everything here is punctuated with horns and whistles.
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I’m not sure yet whether it’s changed much, or just my perspective but it does seem louder than it was four years ago. We are sandwiched between a Rock bar and a cheesy disco; I am just glad that I brought a month’s supply of earplugs with me.

Rob’s sister, Nim, has joined us – the first time she’s been back to her childhood home since they left fourteenish years ago.
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While the sun shone we have wandered further, down to Kathmandu’s Old Town. Away from the leafy tourist cafes and breezy terraces, the heat really hits you.

It is Teej, the festival of women , who are all now wearing red to celebrate. The streets are heaving with people, but not that many tourists yet. It’s still a few weeks before the rains stop and the trekking season begins. And it’ll get hotter and wetter before then!
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The rains seem to arrive every afternoon, rolling in over the Kathmandu hills (not mountains, although they seem big enough from here), the skies darken for an hour or so. It’s both calming and dramatic, and I’m loving it so far. Just a few more days until Sarah arrives and we can begin the real touristy business of seeing our favourite parts of Kathmandu, and all the parts I didn’t get a chance to visit last time.

Nic and Rob x

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