What do you do in Kathmandu?

For the people who want it’s another early morning as we go bird watching. Not that I’m especially into birds, but I want one last chance to get out into the bushes before leaving for the city.

Mostly we see very common birds, but one of them is less common: a yellow oriole. As we head back the guide also spots a rhino on the other side of the river! We hustle up to higher ground to get a proper look, but only manage to see some of it as it heads back into the forest. Still really cool though as these are wild, almost Jurassic, animals weighing in at 2 tons. Further on back to camp we meet another guide that informs us that the rhino tracks we saw on the way down, a mere 100 m from camp, were in fact from 5:30 this morning. Talk about having the wilderness in our backyard!

After breakfast it’s time yet again to hop on the bus, this time to Kathmandu. I end up next to Petra this time and spend some time psychoanalyzing her trust issues. We’re really heading into the mountains now and the road is winding to and fro with the mountainside with us hanging out the window, trying to get good pictures. After a long while we’re at the only intersection in all of Nepal, to the left is Pokhara and to the right is Kathmandu. Being the only road in the country it’s just as bad as you’d expect, it’s more or less single file, so the edges are really frayed since every time you meet someone you have to drive out on the shoulder.

After yet another eternity we go down into Kathmandu valley, which is actually a collection of towns, where Kathmandu itself is the hub. The outskirts brings back memories of ugly India, even if the houses are a bit more colorful. But as we pull into our hotel, the perception changes. We live in some sort of touristy shopping district, filled with nice stores, bars and cafés of every variety. It’s actually very nice and we browse around the numerous trekking stores where the prices are at 10% compared to back home. These are of course copies, but most of them are really good copies and the merchants are rather open with that fact and can explain the quality differences between the price ranges. There is some room for haggling, but not much, maybe 10-15%. Something I personally like.

Tired of browsing, Me, Ricard, Sara and Elin eventually find a nice café where we sit down do get a snack. I order some kind of dried, marinated meat which is really weird tasting, but good. Later on we also run into Petra and Helena and we all decide to go to another café. This one turns out to have a drink menu so we decide to order some really fancy drinks. We’re served by a really good looking waiter and the girls are joking around a bit about him. We others don’t think much more of it, but Petra actually goes out and asks for him as we are leaving. He’s already off for the day though, but a friend of him gets ahold of him on the phone and Petra is able to arrange a date the following day. Say whatever you want about it, but it sure is a gutsy move! =D

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