I was lucky enough to be joined in Kathmandu by over 35 friends and fellow volunteers thanks to yet another national holiday. I was also joined by my brother Peter Hugo who I hadn’t seen in over 18 months.
We enjoyed the weekend at Alobar 1000 hostel which is the place to staying you are after a chilled out backpacker vibe.
Kathmandu is different. It’s just as mad as cities I’ve visited across Asia but in an unique and colourful way. Poverty is clear to see, as are the affects of the 2015 earthquake with many buildings destroyed and propped up with wooden poles.
The people here are quiet but friendly, not much pestering for business which I like. I walked the streets many times with my iPhone in hand and not once did I feel uneasy.
Traffic wardens tried to help me cross the road but the roads are just as manic as the pavements and in the end Hugo and I agreed to just close our eyes and go.
On a walk, we came across a residential square where kids were playing. I took the opportunity to show off my footie skills and drew out a pitch in chalk for us to play. We then guess what each other had drawn with the chalk and, as usual, the kids artistic skills were miles ahead of mine.
Indian-style food and steamed momo’s (Nepalese dumplings) can be found on every corner and there’s a decent choice of western food too. Or2k Mediterranean restaurant and Himalayan Java Coffee are my two favourites. However, like the rest of Nepal, a menu doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a choice in what you eat. Many places serve just one or two dishes because of the fuel crisis – lack of power/supplies – I believe.
I saw cows asleep on the street, chickens stuffed in ladies hand bags, a birthday celebration in which a young girl was smothered in make up and paraded through the street followed by a brass band. What I didn’t see though was a bin, apart from the one I put my can of red bull in, which I later released was on display in a bin shop.
To be honest I haven’t actually done anything in Kathmandu apart from roam the streets, drink and eat. We even forgot about Hugo’s Indian visa which is the reason why we are here in the first place. Luckily this is Asia and we were able to change the date of our bus ticket to Pokhara just a couple of hours before we were due to leave so we could sort out the visa. If you’re a bit more organised than us, there are plenty of cool things to see in Kathmandu, like a cremation into the river, heaps of Hindu stupas and a glimpse of a real life princess. If you’re lucky enough like me, a visit to the Hyatt Regency is out of this world. I spent a day here stuffing myself silly with the finest red wine, smoked salmon, cheese, make-your-own cocktails and breads, thanks to Ryan for that.
Kathmandu I like you. I’ll be back.