India to Nepal – Getting on to Kathmandu

Day 4 – 2008 RTW Trip

Alrighty, first thought after last night’s bottom antics was, ‘Can we make the flight?’ The last thing we wanted was to be stuck in Delhi another day with nothing to do but make further contributions to their bulging sewers, but as it turned out I felt a lot better. Not good exactly, but certainly less leaky.


We got a taxi out to the airport with, randomly, a Nepalese driver and he gave us the first hint that things were on the up with his totally cheery, friendly banter. Don’t worry though, India wasn’t done with us and we ended up having to stand outside the airport for a good hour, held back by two policemen who told us they just had to check something before they could let us in. They were checking passports and tickets at the door but didn’t seem equipped to deal with something so abstract as an e-ticket – slightly useless considering that the top budget airline, Jetlite issues nothing but. I ended up having to track down the JetLite reservations desk and got them to print out a good old fashioned and highly ironic paper e-ticket. The policemen seemed satisfied with this and not the least guilty at totally flouting the entire point behind the system, but hey, we got into the damn airport so bugger the trees.


Delhi airport was pretty unremarkable apart from a middle aged businessman with an encyclopaedic knowledge of asiatic diseases and a good half hour of panic when we realised that we hadn’t got hold of passport photos for our Nepali visas. We’d already passed through security though and there was a distinct lack of photo booths so we resigned ourselves to the fact that we might well be on the way to being deported from our first country. At least that’s another thing to do before you die ticked off tho. In the event we needn’t have worried – an enterprising young Nepali guy had spotted the gap in the market and was fleecing stupid forgetful tourists for well above the going rate for a couple of photos. The situation could have defined the phrase ‘captive audience’, the options being pay or stay in the arrivals lounge for eternity. No matter though, I saluted his enterprising and ruthless spirit, paid him as many rupees as the majority of his countrymen would earn in a month and passed on through into Kathmandu.

We had booked a hotel ahead, another wussy move that cost us over the odds but got us a free ride into town, so on leaving the airport I was looking out for a guy with my name on a board. We spotted him next to the most beat-up little bus you’ve ever seen, naturally, and headed over. They all seemed really friendly at least so that was an improvement on Delhi, and I’d been here for 15 minutes now and noone had tried to sell me anything. We got into the taxi/rust-bucket bus and were quickly folled by about 3 guys. This slightly unsettling move was made better by the fact that they then all started jabbering away saying how nice the hotel was, where were we from, how much we were going to like Nepal, etc, etc. It was all done in so innocent and polite a way that it was actually quite nice, and when he made a pretty friendly attempt at selling us a tour I felt bad turning him down. He even stopped asking as soon as I said no and I almost felt like saying, ‘Aw, go on mate, have another go. Maybe I’ll change my mind if you just ask me 16 more times.’ He wasn’t for it though, the Delhi way didn’t fly in Kathmandu and we trundled on to the Hotel Horizon in the heart of Thamel.

The room was pretty nice when we checked in and we ended up sleeping for an hour or so before heading out into the streets of Thamel. I’d heard that Kathmandu was busy, dirty and full of pestering salesmen, much like Delhi, but it was so much less so than Delhi that it seemed positively relaxing. Over the next couple of days it would become less and less appealing, but I still like the place. It’s definately chaotic, noisy and smelly though and I’d never stay more than a couple of days in the town itself again. That first day we just enjoyed the smaller nature of Kathmandu though and walked around getting supplies for our trip scheduled two days later. I had booked us into the Last Resort from home weeks in advance as I really wanted to try some river rafting on the Bhote Khosi river. They also looked like they had some great accomodation consisting of a bunch of safari tents in a secluded little place near the tibet border which I thought would be cool for a few days. And added to that they had supposedly the highest bungee jump in the world at 160m, suspended from a rope bridge spanning a pretty skinny and dramatic looking gorge.

The rest of the day was spent buying flip flops, water bottles and torch batteries, booking a mountain flight to go see everest the next day and then eating a slightly strange but surprisingly authentic italian meal in the middle of Nepal. I didn’t eat too much though, still feeling slightly fragile after last night, and we were in bed pretty early.

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