By shear coincidence, it appears I arrived in Nepal on New Year’s Eve, which is 57 years ahead of western dates. Sammi met me at the airport after some lengthly customs-form filling in, and we took a taxi to Tamal where out hotel is located.
First thing to sort out was what we’re doing for the next few days. Sam has nailed down a fairly comprehensive itinerary already which is really good as it brings together all the good and bad stories of the other people out here and means we should get to pass on the not so good and make sure we get to see the better stuff. The travel agents here are really friendly and offered us tea (not exactly Going Places) and we sat for an hour talking about where we’ll end up and the Gurhkas (San, one of the travel agents had tried for the regiments).
Most of the volunteers who work in the orphanages surrounding Kathmandu meet up once a week on a Friday at the place we are staying (which is fairly touristy district). It meant that last night we all met up on the roof terrace where I got to meet all the other guys before we went off for food, live music and then finally, and totally unexpectedly – a new years mini-rave in the back of some little bar called Funky Buddah.
There was a powercut (as always) but they soon got the sound system back up and running.
This morning we had breakfast at a little cafe called Organic and it was interesting to check out ‘morning cuisine’ (buckwheat toast). The language here is pretty straight forward for basic phrases and most people have got a enough of a grip to make talking to the locals a little easier – especially when it comes to bargaining.
There have been one or two ‘horror’ stories shared about experiences out here, but it’s more to do with the plight of the locals at the hands of the different factions. Everyone here in Kathmandu seem very friendly and the street kids have a good temperment are also quite amusing and willing to walk with us down the streets.
Apparently last night was particularly busy, in the past two weeks things have got crowded (compared to in Fenruary apparently, when it was dead) so we’re off to explore some of the areas outside of the city.
It’s a bit of a welcome relief from the hectic and non-relenting Delhi. Obdul, a guy I met just before I left the hotel in India was not very complementary about the local area but said that if I found my back there he would make sure I get a better deal on a hotel and see that everthing is taken care of. Even if I didn’t care for Delhi particualarly, the people are at least fairly friendly although the level of poverty appears much higher than here in central Nepal.
Today we’re going on a walk to the city square to see the New Year celebrations. It’s really very nice here.