I woke up on my first full day in Kathmandu and we all met downstairs for breakfast. Everyone lets me know that it’s a good idea to get a scarf or a buff to cover my mouth and nose with because Kathmandu is really dusty and they all got sore throats or stuffy noses from it. Noted.
And then almost immediately forgotten.
We decided that we’d visit Durbar square and tour the temples there. We also decided that based on our map it’s not that far, so we’ll just walk it.
Here’s what walking the streets of Kathmandu looks like:
And that’s a quieter side street on a good day. There are cars going in both directions on roads that to me look like they’re meant to be one way, and then motorcycles, mopeds, bicycles, and pedestrians filling in the rest of the street.
It’s common, and pretty much expected, for people to drive on the wrong side of the road. If you’re on something smaller than a car (motorcycle, moped, or bicycle), and a car is stopped – you just go around. If there’s room, go.
It was the most organized chaos I’ve ever seen in my life, I didn’t witness a single accident the whole time I was there. They just make it work for them. It’s how they roll.
Then there’s the beeping – it’s constant. Everyone beeps, all of the time. It’s never an angry beep like you’d normally get in the states though. It’s more of a “Hey! I’m here! So try not to hit me. And I’ll try not to hit you because you also beeped, so I know you’re there too. Cool? Cool.” kind of beep.
You get used to it after a while and it stops scaring the shit out of you when you’re walking down the street.
Oh, and let’s not forget the occasional goat passing?
That’s for real.
We were all okay with the craziness of the streets though. Like I said it was organized chaos and it was interesting to watch. The only issue we came across in our attempt to walk to Durbar square… was that they don’t have street names. Like, at all. Which rendered our map completely useless.
So we realize we may be lost, but it’s okay because while they may not have street names in Kathmandu, do you know what they DO have? Rickshaws!! So we decided it’d be fun to hire two rickshaws to take the four of us to the square.
If you don’t know what a rickshaw is, here’s a picture I took of Mike and Ang’s:
It’s basically a bike with a carriage attached to the back.
And here’s a (very grainy and weird) picture of PJ and I enjoying our own romantic rickshaw ride:
Looking back, and knowing that I survived it, I’ll say that rickshaw ride was really fun. At the time though, I didn’t think we were going to make it.
Take another look at the picture of the busy streets of Kathmandu, then add rickshaws into the mix, and then put yourself in one. Yikes.
As soon as I sat in it I began doubting the structural integrity of it and regretting my decision. There was one pothole we went over that I seriously thought was going to capsize us. We made it though! Hooray!
Below are a few pictures I took from that day. Unfortunately, I don’t think any of these are still standing.
We get back to the hotel and the guy who runs the trekking company told us that it’s a good idea to do a “practice trek” before we actually head out to base camp. Our guide can take us the next day, and we can meet him and get a feel for things.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned about myself over the last few years, it’s that I’m not a city girl. They’re fun for a while and I do enjoy time spent in a city. When it comes down to it though, I want nature and mountains all around me, all of the time. So I’m super excited at the idea of getting out of Kathmandu and seeing some more rural parts of Nepal.
So it turns out that “getting sick in Kathmandu” will actually be in Part 3. Sorry for the false alarm! I have more to talk about than I realized and I don’t want these posts to get too long and drone on, so I’ll stop here! Next time, I promise 😉