We arrived in Kathmandu last night on a slightly late, half empty, flight from Hong Kong. Usual random acts of confusion at the airport. At immigration, there were no landing forms. I finally found two that had been partially completed and discarded by other people. We filled those in. Then at the desk, the immigration official wanted me to show him my boarding pass to prove I had arrived on the flight I said I had arrived on. So how else would I have found myself in the immigration line at the airport I wonder? I told him that I’d left it on the plane and gave him my very best 😃. Then he decided our visas should have been stamped before we left Canada. None of my previous visas have been stamped, but this guy seemed to think a stamp would be a nice idea. He even went to far as to suggest the design. Eventually he let us through after he got tired of us just smiling at him.
Due to less people on the flight, it was not as chaotic as usual in the baggage hall. Our checked bag arrived quite quickly – always a relief. Binod and Tendi were outside to meet us. Always wonderful to see my Nepali brother. With Khatas draped around our necks we wandered around in the dark for some time looking for our vehicle, then away to the hotel. Soon Michel and I were enjoying a cold beer then into bed shortly after midnight.
This morning we visited Arun, my money exchange friend. A cup of masala tea before the business transaction. We of course received 2 cents per dollar better than the posted rate. Michel did his down gear shopping – for an outstanding bargain. I’m now equipped with another yak blanket with which to line my sleeping bag on cold nights to come. We’re told there’s still snow in the mountains.
We bought plastic wash basins for laundry and baths while trekking. At $1.40 each I could not resist the extravagance. I’m now kibitzing with Michel as he wraps his mind around personal pack and porter pack and what goes in which. This is always a challenge for people who’ve not done porter assisted treks before.
After lunch – very spicy momos and cold beer – We went with Tendi to Boudhanath Stupa – my favourite spot in Kathmandu. We walked around the stupa, Michel found a really nice bronze Buddha statue, we met up with two of Tendi’s children – Nima and Phulu – they’re so grown up now. We went for banana lassis – delicious. Then to the temple to get ourselves and the Buddha statue blessed. Corinne, Michel has a story for you about Buddha underpinnings. It’s been a warm start to our visit to Nepal.
Will have an early night -to chase away lingering jet lag. Tomorrow breakfast will be at 6:30. We aim to be away by 7. We face a seven to eight hour drive. Jim and Claire you’ll be pleased to know, we’ll be in a brand new 4×4 with functional seatbelts.
Good night from dusty, noisy, hazy Kathmandu. (I know Trevor – that was three adjectives.)