Guns Don't Kill People, Kathmandu

Trip Start Jan 20, 2012
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Trip End Jan 12, 2017


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Sunday, May 6, 2012

In Kathmandu it is not at all like I would have thought even on one scale to another, and by that I mean that if it were a sparse natural city, if there is such a thing, or it being a very built up city still does not feel like a city.  The area I stayed was Thamel and walking around it felt like a little community everywhere, little shoe shops, people knowing everyone else, overhanging little houses down dusty scrambled alleys and roads, a guy clearing his throat, wires hanging down, rickshaws squeaking, motorbikes honking, men spitting, a man resting on the window ledge, calm blue colours, a big slab of meat on a wooden table with flies all around it, potholes, dirt, rubbish, Indian lady selling fruit, a guy clearing his throat, spices, tea, a line of rickshaws, a little square with a temple, monks, candles and funky smells, a security guard whistling for you to move, a chickens remains falling out of the sky (this really happened to me, within inches of my head), a guy clearing his throat.  Whilst there and it will have been a few times that I visited until the end of my journey there were many things going on, for instance, when walking through the back streets there was a procession with guys twisting poles around themselves and old men walking along, many, many strikes whereby the government were assigned 4 years ago to draft the constitution but have not been able to so the within the three weeks I decided to see Nepal there was fighting and people doing nothing, I even rented a motorbike one day because of the boredom and they tried to stop me from using it.

Initially, I chilled for a couple of days and visited the main part Thamel with some friends, then trying to book a fruitless journey to Tibet.  I decided to leave my stuff with the guy while going to Thorong La Pass in the Himalayas, Annapurna circuit (to be posted) and then headed off to find my permits.  In all costing me around $50 I was ready for the bus to Besi Sahar the next day. That evening I went with some travelers for a Dahl Bat and beer.  The cuisine here is very limited, there is Mo Mo which is basically Dim Sum from China and Dahl Bat is just an extended name from India, so really I cannot give it to the Nepalese for their culinary skills, although they do make a great apple pie and there is a wrap store I have become particularly partial to called "Chick N Falafel", Falafel wrap with chips inside for 175 Nepalese Rupees (1 Pound 35 Pence) 

In Nepal I thought the people would be mixed like ice cream and chocolate sauce between Chinese and Indians. However, there are very few "Chindians" and mainly Indians, Chinese and Chinese pretending to be Indians, a guy on the bus described them as Indians with Chinese faces but I think my description is more accurate. There are also the mountain people who look more Chinese but are very much more robust and strong.  The roads in Kathmandu are busy and very very dirty, I have seen a kid defecating on the street, piles of rubbish strewn all over and an advert that says wiping your face with the same handkerchief all the time is a disgusting habit!  I have visited Durbar square where there were protests and some really nice buildings, in fact Thamel is not Kathmandu and when you walk just 5 minutes outside there is wonderful architecture to admire, old rickety buildings that are having trouble standing up but are beautiful.  
During the strikes I stayed in cafes and did not a lot but wait for my visa to India.  As Tibet was not an option I took a vote on Facebook which was unanimous although the only votes counted were those from the ones who said YES (George Bush Jr knows what I am talking about).  The visa to India takes 5 days and the system is how you would expect from India - Take a ticket fill out this form, wait until 2 p.m. for your number (I was A51), go to the counter to get another form, fill it out and then go to the cash counter pay 300 rupees (non explained charge), wait 5 days with your form and passport, go back, take a ticket, wait until 12 noon for your number (C47), go to the counter, hand in your form, pay money and an extra 250 rupees 
(non explained charge), then go away, come back at 5 p.m. to collect your Visa and passport.  Whilst waiting in the queue the second time there was an old American dressed in similar to monk garb and a french guy and we started conversing, the old fella said this process might be to check out whether or not the applicant has "Heat" on them, I later found out he had been living in India and Nepal for the last 30 years due to the fact that he was avoiding prison in the United States, I think he was a big dealer in Drugs.  
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