Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Kathmandu

And then there were 5.......
Yep, another female has arrived to drive me crazy. Bre's friend Brittany arrived last night safe and sound (oh, but not for long, heh heh). We were in high heaven with all the great stuff she brought us from home. I think half the weight of her backpack was candy. Yep, we are junkies, but it'll be good energy for the trek. Unfortunately she is here but we are having trouble getting her any money as her bank card is not working for some reason. I don't think we are going to get it fixed in time as we are flying tomorrow morning to Lukla to start our trek.
We have spent the last week or so just sitting around here in Kathmandu getting lazy. We have a new record as we've been spending $1.25 Canadian a night each for our rooms. With Brittany now arrived it's $1! Ha, I love that. We've been spending the money saved on western food, unsuccessfully trying to fatten up for the road ahead. It has been great though. It is so different here from everywhere else we've been. Lots and lots of backpackers have been pouring in in preparation for the trekking season. The locals complain that tourism is down but it seems pretty busy here to me. We've mostly been hanging out in Thamel, the "backpacker ghetto" neighbourhood that has absolutely everything. We traded in our half dozen books finally and got a whole stack of new ones to read. You don't know how happy we were for something new to read. We have ventured out to a few sights but we are trying to avoid temples in general still. Durbar square (the center of the old town and site of the old royal palace) and Pashiputinath (the most important Hindu temple in Nepal) are the only places we've been. Guides are desperate for business and will chase you around the site which is really annoying.
Nepal itself is very Hindu and very Buddhist depending on where you are and as such have some very interesting traditions, rituals, etc. They have a little girl living in Durbar square that is worshipped as a living goddess and the temples seem to be half Buddhist and half Hindu as the religions have been totally mixed over the years. Nepal has had a Maoist revolution going on for the last decade and it is all a bit of a mess as a result (though there is currently a 3 month ceasefire and they've never targetted foreigners) with military checkpoints and soldiers and security is all over the place. We don't feel threatened or anything here though. Traffic is totally insane. There are now many many more motorbikes than we have seen previously and I've nearly been hit a million times already. Streets are very narrow, dirty and look 1000 years old though most seem to be only 300. Monkeys and cows in the middle of the city are not uncommon sites either! Pollution is really bad too and I am looking forward to being up in the clean, quiet mountains for a while. Everyone here seems to speak some english (thanks to the British presence in India) unlike China or Russia but that means they also drive on the left side of the road so we keep running into people not knowing which side to pass them on. It is also the tail end of the monsoon so we've had lots of humidity, warm weather and a few strong rainstorms too.
The craziest thing here is that apparently I have a wife and 2 kids, not a mother and 2 sisters. Now that people are able to talk to us in English and we can understand what they are thinking it turns out that everyone is saying "your wife is over there" or "go talk to your wife and decide" or "can I take a picture with your daughters", etc. Wow, do I look that old?
All is well here, we are looking forward to our next (very) big challenge.
Ammon

1 Comments:

At 11:11 AM , Blogger SherpaTrek said...

It's great to hear about your trip, and I'm getting ready for my own trek. I'm leaving this weekend, so I'll add to the waves of white monkeys backpacking through town. Thanks for the little insight so I'll know what to expect.

 

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