The first part of our trip to Nepal, our arrival and trip around Kathmandu.
We started our trip with a 8 hours flight to Abu Dhabi, followed by an 4 hour flight from their into Kathmandu. As you might expect this did weird things to our bodies, not least of which was thinking it was lunchtime at tea time. We also managed to meet 4 or 5 of our fellow Explorers on the plane, we all seemed to be seated together. Watched Spiderman 2 and tried to sleep (didn’t go very well). Also had the closes approximation to real food I’ve ever had on a plane – some form of curried lamb, unfortunately we had exactly the same food on the way back when I wasn’t in the same mood.
We arrived into Kathmandu accompanied by lightning over Nepal but didn’t notice it by the time we got down.
We stayed at a hotel called Hotel Mountain – but that doesn’t really matter as we didn’t stay there long.
Kathmandu itself, which we investigated the following day is one of the most polluted cities in the world, and it shows. The air is thick with smog and fumes from the car, buses and motorbikes. The streets have large piles of rubbish throughout (although it must be said, the piles have been nicely swept into place, leaving most of the pavements litter free). We where also harassed, to an almost epidemic level by street sellers. At one stage our group (of about 8 people) where literally surrounded on all sides by people selling flutes (looked like large pepper pots to me), smelly chess sets and rather interesting postcards based on the Karma Sutra – including helpful motions from the seller if we where in any doubt of what he was selling.
Nepal’s national religion is Hinduism, and this isn’t seen more highly than in Kathmandu. There are temples and shrines everywhere, and they where all very busy. It’s a very public religion, but still very personal. There seem to be no large ‘congregational’ meetings, like one might expect with western religions – none of the temples we saw had large seating areas inside or outside, in fact no places to sit at all – a kind of walk by religion :D