Onwards to Kathmandu

by Andrew Stein

Saying goodbye to Southeast Asia is no easy task. The people are friendly, good clean hostels can be found for cheap, the diversity of landscape means there is always more to see, and the food especially in Thailand is inexpensive and delicious. That said, the trip must go on, and Nepal is next on the list.

Soon after arriving in Kathmandu, along with the differences apparent among the locals to those in Southeast Asia, I also notice many differences when comparing the tourists. The tourists seem more intense, but that is likely because many if not most plan to do a long trek. Hiking boots are now more prevalent than sandals, and of the non-trekkers, there is a larger population with tattoos and dreads. Although the differences, the locals and the other tourists are friendly and happy to talk.

Kathmandu scene

Kathmandu in contrast

After getting settled, learning about my trek, and finding my rain coat, I set off to explore some of the city. Thamel, the part of Kathmandu where my hotel is situated, rivals Khaosan Road of Bangkok in that it is full of souvenir shops, internet cafes, restaurants, guest houses and hotels. Not far from the hotel, someone approaches me who I assume is just another scam artist trying to get me to buy something. Instead, after walking with me for a little while, he is very helpful in explaining the sites and temples as we go. I am careful never to spend any money in case this is still an elaborate scam. However, I make it to the end of the tour without paying anything except for a cheap entrance ticket. I give him a small tip for his help and his time, and we part ways.

More of Kathmandu

One last note about Kathmandu is the power outages. The area where my hotel is located has semi-scheduled outages twice a day totaling about 14 hours. The whole of Kathmandu cannot run on the electricity that is available, and therefore the government set up a system whereby the electricity rotates from region to region throughout the day. Luckily, my hotel has a generator, but the generator only powers specific functions; therefore, if I want to charge my camera battery, I will need to make sure I time it right, and I should never go anywhere after dark without a flashlight.

Power outages mean candle time

My room is equipped with a candle for when the power goes out.