Arrival in Kathmandu

Nice place for a meal or drink.
Shangri-la hotel Nice place for a meal or drink.

Kathmandu at last. After leaving just after midnight our first flight reached Kuala Lumpur some eight hours later at about 7am local time. We were in the air again a couple of hours later. The window seat is occupied by a young girl from Shanghai. Not long out from Kathmandu we find we are on the correct side of the plane for a pretty good view of the peak of Mt Everest showing just above the clouds. Fantastic! As we exit down the stairs from our plane we see that we are just behind the buses taking the passengers from a flight that arrived just before us. This means that after we join the rush to fill in visa forms forms we find ourselves in a massive queue and end up waiting for about an hour to reach the front, pay our US$50, collect our backpacks, pass without incident through customs and then exit the terminal. In front of us is a narrow road but just beyond it begins a fence are dozens of Nepali agents for every imaginable tour company holding up a mass of signs. Fortunately in amongst them is a man from Peregrine. So we wheel our pack laden trolley to the designated van and join several other Peregrine clients. Karen joins them in the back and I have the dubious honour of sitting next the driver. Even as we leave the airport area it is obvious that traffic will be heavy like peak hour even though it’s only about 11:30 local time and that tooting is a necessary one of the many driving skills required. Amazingly there is no sign of road rage which would be evident if this was Australia. The route is occasionally moderated by traffic police but totally noisy, dusty and on sometimes partly sealed and mostly dirty, dusty roads. There are signs of road work but not much progress. After about an hour or is it more, we finally arrive and the Shangri-la hotel in a small enclave just off Lazimpat Road. We are greeted by a number of representatives from Peregrine and finally are shown to a lounge area by our tour guide Chris, a delightful young man. We fill in a number of forms for hotel registration, trekking passes etc and then he explains a few things to us, giving us some tips about where to eat, what not to drink and what to consider seeing tomorrow which is a spare day before our tour begins. As he finishes the other three members of our tour group, Rodney, Judy and Carol arrive so we briefly greet them before heading to the hotel’s ATM machine to get some Nepali cash. So 22 hours after leaving home we make it to our room, number 321. Our bags are carried by Tutu who we duly tip before crashing on our beds. Karen manages to reach a deeper state of slumber than I. So I decide to brave it and go for a walk down Lazimpat. The road is partly sealed but dusty except where local shop/stall owners throw buckets of water over the road surface to quell the dust. The footpath is a work in progress and will eventually be great but right now I pick my way carefully. There are school students making there way along the road and path where it exists. There are shopholders waiting for customers. Some people have chooks or goats tethered to their properties but mostly it’s the traffic, dust and noise I notice. After about twenty minutes the way becomes even more dodgy so I start my return trip. A dust mask becomes an obvious priority so I stop at a pharmacy stall and luckily the lady speaks English. After showing me two possibilities I purchase two for Karen and I. They cost the equivalent of 30 cents. When I try to buy them with my smallest note from the ATM, a 500 rupee note, it provides a change problem. She sorts it out by going next door to break down my 500 rupee note into five 100 rupee notes and from there things are sorted. My next stop is at what looks like a drink stall but what turns out to be a cafe. Here I buy two bottles of recommended mineral water for about 30 cents each but that’s double the going rate at a drink stall.Back at the hotel I visit the bakery shop and buy a few items for late lunch. Karen is still sleeping but I eat before taking a nap. When we awake we take showers and change. After seeing no sign of the restaurants Chris had suggested we decided to eat in at the hotel. Apparently it’s BBQ night. Even though they are keen for us to indulge, something smaller than an all you can eat BBQ is on our agenda, so we order some rice dishes. Soon after the other three from our tour group appear and sit on the next table so we are able to eat and get to know each other better. Sleep beckons so we make it an early night at about 9:40 local time.


8 thoughts on “Arrival in Kathmandu”

  1. Happy to hear that you arrive safe. Overhere everyone is fine. Hawthorn won the GF by 15 points. Wild storm and a tree in the backyard fell down over the patio area. We called SES.
    Keep in contact and look after yourselves.
    Chela, Scott & Grace

  2. Hello to you both and lovely to hear from you and know you arrived safe and sound. It sounds like you’ll have a wonderful adventure on your travels. Enjoyed reading your first post and look forward to others. Take care and travel safely. Mum and dad loved their anniversary card and thanked you both. Charles and Suzanne xx

  3. Hi M&K, I will look forward to following your trip.very blustery here. Must visit when you get back. Enjoy & take care…Cheryl Mc

  4. Happy Birthday Mark for today . AUS time 10.45. Enjoyed reading your arrival blog. Look forward to more…
    love Janice, Mark , Jarrod and Callum

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