Wednesday, 25 May 2016

There's a one-eyed yellow idol To the north of Kathmandu

Kathmandu, like Mandalay, is one of those places whose name fires the imagination but in reality is a bit of a shit hole. It’s the third most polluted city in the world. The rivers are filthy and litter clogged. The poorly constructed roads, normally covered with a generous covering of dirt and dust, become quagmires when it rains and are choked with too many cars and bikes - all of whom drive to their own particular rules. The majority of the streets, and many are no more than narrow walkways, are congested and have pedestrians rubbing shoulders with handlebars of motorbikes that squeeze through beeping their horns so much that it would be a greater warning if they didn’t beep at all.

A collection of skinny high rise flats 
The city is there to principally get as much money out of your pockets as possible. As much old mystical shit as you can carry; enough fake outdoor branded equipment to make you ‘look’ like you are serious (until it rains, that is, and you’re left standing there drenched in your new waterproof jacket); enough restaurants selling you tourist versions of the local stuff that you begin to think Nepalies must be well off (Until you walk into a real locals restaurant and realsie you are paying 4 times the price). Walk down the street and you will be offered the opportunity to “Just look inside…I give you good price” by nearly every shop; to take a cab every 20 paces and to refuse or accept “Smoke hashish” from every shady, sideways looking character you see.

Budhas birthday bash at Monkey Temple
The city as a whole is tired, grubby and architecturally uninspiring or bleak. The three or four districts we covered during our ambling turned up some nice things to look at but if you want nice stuff then go elsewhere. Here you have to pay to go into the one main square for the privilege of being mobbed by beggars and hawkers and even then they want more to actually enter some of the buildings.

Political rally bringing traffic to a halt
Kathmandu is a transit lounge. Its where people generally start or finish their Nepal experience consequently it has a bit of a party town feel to it.

Maybe we had just seen too much by the time we got there to accept it as it was. We had met and lived with Nepali people. We had heard their stories and seen the sorrow of the country and seen the beauty. On top of it all I felt crap which obviously tinged my views a little.

So that’s that. Nepal all done….although I strongly suspect it is not the last time we will have seen it.

Anything for the weekend sir?
We are now in the States after a mammoth 4 flight/stopover journey which was greatly improved by getting a free business class upgrade as far as Abu Dhabi – Thanks Ethiad!

Up and coming schedule. Ft Lauderdale  (housesitting and learning Spanish), Everglades and Florida Keys (Bit of a honeymoon), New Orleans (visiting our friend Jill), North of Mexico City (housesitting and really learning Spanish this time) then onwards into the big wide wonder of Mexico, central and south America.

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