Sunday, April 8, 2012

Kathmandu


After trekking the Annapurna Circuit I went to Kathmandu. Kathmandu is an amazing place. First impression reminded me a lot of the busy bustling streets of India, dirty, flea ridden and mostly chaotic. It wasn't until by chance we stumbled along an alleyway next to a meat shop that we discovered the "real" Kathmandu. Once you venture beyond the dull main street you discover a hidden labyrinth of trendy cafes, boutiques and even (much to Daniel's delight) a skate shop! It had an energy that flowed through the alleyways that beckoned you to get lost within the backstreets and explore the city.

I must admit once emerging into this world I got a culture shock. After hanging with the sherpas and trekking through very small remote villages of the Himalayas and then suddenly appearing in a place with “Coffee Day,” spas, resorts, bars, CD shops and every comfort a tourist could dream of, it sure was a surprise. Daniel managed to organize another tattoo in Kathmandu with the same artist he had in Pokhara. This time it was a sparrow added to his ever-growing sleeve. The more you explored Kathmandu the more you began to understand why the Hippies had chosen Kathmandu as a stop-off during the Hippie Movement from the 1960s.  Kathmandu attracted people from around the world to enjoy Nepal’s famous hashish stores and to marvel at the amazing stupas and Himalayan landscape. There is still a road in the city centre of Kathmandu nicknamed Freak Street in memory of the many thousands of hippies who passed through during that time. As soon as I had grown to love the comforts and the energy this big city had to offer, it was off to the airport and off to Thailand.


Unsurprisingly our plane with Nepali airlines was delayed, by an hour, which made us a bit nervous as to whether we would meet our two new travel companions, Ariane and Clemmy on the other side. However, after realising that alcohol was complimentary on the flight over, our worries were soon gone by the third or fourth glass. Upon arriving at the airport, almost two hours late, we were not entirely surprised to see the organised meeting place empty. After a frantic two hours of running around the airport looking for our "lost children" we finally found Ariane and Clemmy.

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