Our time in Thailand drew to a close and we made our way back to Kuala Lumpur for our flight to Kathmandu, Nepal. Nepal would be a new experience for us as neither of us had been there before and it was our first immersion together into true poverty.
On one hand it would present the most challenging aspect of our travels as we got off the beaten path that is Southern-Thailand where tourist infrastructure is aplenty. On the other hand we were going to stay with my sister in her apartment so we had the best sort of guide and someone to teach us the way of the land.
We flew into Kathmandu in the early afternoon and as we begun our descent, I saw peeking in the distance my first glimpse of the mighty Himalayas. In my excitement I threw my travel pillow at Chris to get his attention and beckoned him to the window.
Jo: “Look, LOOK it’s the Himalayas!”
Chris: “nah.., thats just a cloud”
Jo (utterly convinced it was the himalayas): “No it’s not!! It’s the Himalayas!”
Chris: “ No it’s too high up, it’s just a cloud Jo”
It did in fact turn out to be the Himalayas (I was right! *victory dance*) but instead of staring pensively out the window in awe of the highest mountain range on earth, we spent the time bickering.
As the plane descended through (scarily!) close mountain ranges, we were able to see the whole of Kathmandu laid out before us. The buildings looked like little brown shoeboxes and there appeared to be no rhyme or reason to the structure of the city.
Kathmandu is loud, dirty, noisy and special. If you’re looking for a quiet break then avoid staying here, head for the mountains or the countryside. Never has a whole country been more fond of laying on the horn. People here use the horn as an “I’m coming up behind you warning!” and we have agreed that if the horn was banned, the whole country would crash and burn.
During our time in Kathmandu we are staying with my big sister Kim. Kim works for a local NGO here in Kathmandu as a research assistant. Kim is one of my favourite people in the world and I am so grateful to be able to stay with her as we really haven’t lived together for about ten years (!!). Kim has a sweet little apartment in the Lalitpur district of the Kathmandu Valley, which about is about twenty minutes drive from Thamel.
For the last couple of weeks we have been spending a lot of time using the apartment as a base to see the sites of Kathmandu, mooch around, eat lots of delicious food, watch a lot of movies and generally just relax and enjoy ourselves.
A typical day sees us eating breakfast at home and doing a couple of hours of writing and general housekeeping in the morning, having a delicious lunch at our favourite cafe and then heading out to see some of Kathmandu in the afternoon. For dinner we usually eat cheap, local food. Plates of steaming spicy momos, flavourful Katti rolls (fresh roti stuffed with chicken and paneer) and big plates of the national dish, Dhal Bhaat.
It’s easy to forget that Kathmandu lies in the shadows of the great Himalayas but sometimes when the clouds clear over the city you can see the stunning outline of the mountains above. It is reminiscent of times when you look past the noise and chaos of the city and are reminded of how special this place is. Be it in the wrinkled face of lady sitting on some temple steps, or a quiet moment sipping sweet chai outside a teashop.
We are so looking forward to getting to know Kathmandu and Nepal and taking on the challenge of writing about this country.
Have you been to Kathmandu or Nepal before? We would love to hear more about your time here, any recommendations are more than welcome! Please leave a comment or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.