Last Friday seems another world away…the mad rush and panic I was in to get all done…pack, get cash and foreign currency, make the bed, empty the dishwasher, bring in the washing, feed the pets – argh, the bird escaped from her cage and is terrorising Harry, get him out, entice her back and the cat is nowhere near – phew! Back to work. Oh no, now where’s the cat? Harry eventually finds her under a rug on the couch. Final quick email to my daughter. Abandon the dishes in the sink when the taxi arrives – off on the start of our adventure!!
The flight to Singapore was comfortable with great food and a restful sleep. Singapore’s humidity hit us but the air-conditioned taxi took us to the air-conditioned hotel and somehow in the morning after sleep, we relaxed in the humidity and strolled slowly around. A few shops, a great park (Fort Canning maybe?) an escape from the noise of the city, a boat ride along the river, no hobos living on the banks here as we saw in Tokyo. Singapore is way too orderly for that, even had two men in a boat with a net collecting leaves out of the water.
Singapore was a great stopover, a welcome break between home and what lay ahead.
Sunday morning and we flew into Kathmandu, awestruck by our first view of the Himalaya. The airport was such a contrast to Sydney and Singapore – a functional building where we were processed smoothly and quickly without any glitz or hype or shiny stores.
Kathmandu – like nowhere I have ever been before. Our hotel driver met us at the airport and drove us into the city. Home to 3, maybe 4, million people. People, traffic, dust, rubble, bricks, motorbikes, bicycles, chaotic roads, funeral pyres, Hindu pilgrims. Pollution haze dulling the views to the mountains.
All so new and disconcerting. Driving is an artform, apparently chaotic to me yet motorbikes, cars, bikes, pedestrians all come within an inch of each other without mishap.
We were so glad to have organised hotel (Tibet Guest House)and trekking company and even trekking gear shop thanks to Chris Walker. As we wandered dazed and fazed through the narrow Thamel streets yesterday, we were happy to have a clear destination and were able to stride past the masses of other gear shops with confidence. The narrow streets are a lane’s width, have no footpaths and flow with walkers, cyclists, cars, taxis, small buses, hawkers, motorbikes, rickshaws and us! We have learned how to go with the flow, though I do find crossing narrow, frantic roads a challenge.
Sonam from Sherpa Adventure met us and went over our trek plan. He reassured us that our outline is a guide and we can change and adapt it as we go.
Now armed with porter bags full of gear for the next 3 weeks, weighing in at 12kg each, tomorrow we leave for Jiri, a 6 to 8 hour drive from here. We’ve learned a little of the Nepali way of life, started to bargain, tried some new foods and have become more relaxed with the mayhem.
Ready for yet another step into the unknown..