Trip Start Sep 22, 2010
28Trip End May 17, 2011
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Kathmandu is a big sprawling city, but flying into the valley from Mumbai, it felt like a small town. Most of the sights are within walking distance and it is easy to gain a quick familiarity with the city. Some of our favorite parts of Kathmandu were the temples and stupas randomly scattered about, the bustling markets, the ancient royal residences, and the street food available everywhere. We happened upon much of the above by wandering down narrow lanes and through tiny passages. There are many different districts to visit, including the tourist mecca of Thamel and ancient Patan, more than we had time for
Kathmandu does have its share of problems. As a result of the decade long Maoist insurgency, the city was flooded with people seeking safe haven from the turmoil in the hills and mountains. The consequences of this influx were an inadequate infrastructure to handle the present population, leading to snarled traffic, daily power outages and intoxicating air pollution. There is a huge orphan population, with many of the children attempting to survive on the streets themselves. While begging in the tourist district is the norm for these children, a number of them were openly "huffing," or sniffing bags filled with toxic gasses, most usually shoe polish. Jay got the chance to prove his machismo when one of these kids accosted Susie. The kid had to be pried off of her and pushed down onto the street. Luckily for Jay, the kid was only about 8 years old and 90 pounds.