Kathmandu – Impression Overload (First Day in Nepal)

It’s funny, however you imagine a place before arriving, you’re always in for a surprise. Kathmandu, is not a small town with quaint little houses overlooking rolling green mountains. It’s a crazy, busy city full of noise, pollution, and yes, religious monuments.

Another God

As the plane was preparing to land, all I could see were four or five story houses, painted in shades of pastels; lime greens, rose pinks, aquamarines, daisy yellows and any variant of grays and beiges. Beautiful, but definitely not serene.

Wiring

With electricity cuts up to 14 hours a day, there are no elevators. And as luck would have it, our hotel room was on the fifth floor. Want to get fit? Kathmandu is your place! Just don’t expect to go jogging or biking, because the cars and motorbikes that are supposed to drive on the left-hand side, just use whatever side is convenient at the moment. If you’re a pedestrian you better learn to jump out of the way fast. Or, sorry, you’re mush.

Food

The negative aspects aside, it’s an amazing place. Walking around the old town, it’s difficult to walk ten steps without seeing a shrine, stupa, simple stone murti or an ancient statue several hundreds of years old. Look up, and you will notice a carved window, or wooden balcony, with the most exquisite designs. In the Durbar Squares of Kathmandu and nearby Patan, century old houses stand proud, exhibiting delicate (and erotic) details of gods, demons, animals and people having threesomes. In one day, you will see enough art to fill three museums.

Durbar Square

Although officially a Hindu country, the Buddhists will not forget that the Siddhartha Gautama was born in Nepal, and the two religions flourish peacefully side by side. In fact, Lord Buddha was a Hindu before becoming enlightened. Perhaps because of that, Kathmandu is rife with refugee Tibetans, selling their beautiful jewelry and paintings.

As with any place, it is the people that make it special. Apart from the drivers, the Nepalese are kind, respectful and for the most part honest. Sure, travellers pay more for almost anything than the locals. But walk into a crowd, and no one tugs at your backpack. No one digs their hands into your pockets. And if you tell a salesman you’re not interested in what he is selling, he will leave you alone.

More kids

One day in Kathmandu is not enough. In two days, you can see the main sights. In three days, you will feel like you’re coughing up your lungs because of all the fumes. Then, but not until then, it’s time to move on.

 

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Nick Domke
    Jan 28, 2013 @ 18:17:32

    Nice post. Planning to go to Nepal as part of a bigger trip later this year. Looks amazing!

    Reply

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