7summits forum!

Mountally challenged => Everest 2007 updates => Topic started by: bruce matthews on Mar 24 2007, 18:11

Title: Kathmandu, Kathmandu!!!
Post by: bruce matthews on Mar 24 2007, 18:11
Flying into Kathmandu was a revelation! It was not as I expected...verdant green hills, brick yards with huge chimney stacks, large brick homes and all surrounded by mountains.

But all of that changes when one arrives at Tribhuvan Internation Airport. A stark red brick building with no air conditioning and staff as laid back as gentle Yaks.

All of this changes once you leave the airport terminal...chaos reigns and the drive into Kathmandu City with a population of 1.5 million is hair raising...a cocophony of sounds; hooters, bells and more hooters. How there are so few accidents is probably testimant to the laid back attitude of the people...the hooters are for show and there is hardly any aggression evident!

I was picked up by an agent representing Asian Trekking with the apprpriate surname, Nepal. He was assisting Alexander Abramov, our expedition leader, in doing airport pickups. The drive was in an old 1988 Toyota Landcruiser that was in remarkably good shape for 19 years and taken to my hotel, Samsar Resort. My room overlooks the terrace garden of the famous Rumdoodle cafe!

I think you will either love Kathmandu, or hate it! I love it!!! The smells and the visual delights of the shops and the friendly, sometimes over friendly populacein the streets, will amaze!!

To call them streets is stretching it. This is not your "normal". Walking down these byways, one feels as though one is walking down a pedestriam mall. However, pedestrians share these roads with bicycles,rikshas, motorbikes and cars.There are no excited shouts or drivers becoming wild and displaying westerner type road rage. It somehow flows and the hoots alert you to the fact that this is a main thoroughfare. And somhow, one survives.

The "pimps", for want of a better word, offering their services for treks and guiding are a little OTT (over the top) and one needs to ignore them or politely decline. Cleverly, they enquire where you are from and that is difficult to ignore. Of course they love the Black Caps, New Zealand's cricket side;this allows an easy diversion and escape.

If you are not used to seeing beggars it's hard to say no to them. Then how much do you give? The Nepal Rupee has so little value against the NZ$ and when one has only been in town for an hour this is doubely disturbing! Tipping, anethema to Kiwis, is strange because you are tipping 100 Rupee bills! The fact that equates to only about $1.50 makes it easier to get used to the practice.

I was preparing this post while drinking an Everest Premium Lager on the terrace at Rumdoodle...what a quiant restaurant and with so much history! I know where I will be having dinner tonight!

Tomorrow, who knows? What I do know, is this is a truly wonderful place!


Bruce Matthews

Title: Re: Kathmandu, Kathmandu!!!
Post by: m.c. reinhardt on Mar 25 2007, 03:00
Great post on Kathmandu....I have a feeling I would love it! How cool that your hotel room is looking over the terrace garden of the Rumdoodle cafe! Enjoy, Bruce!

MC  :)
Title: Re: Kathmandu, Kathmandu!!!
Post by: bruce matthews on Mar 25 2007, 21:32
Hey MC

I may have used a little licence however, it is difficult to do Kathmandu justice with my limited descriptive powers! You will love the place and my second day was better than the first...Just stunning!

I fly to Lukla in the morning and with Alex's best advice, will take it day by day and see how far up the other side I can get...at this stage it's looking like 4200.

I will post a full report on my return on march 31.