We arrived in Kathmandu after a short flight from Delhi, and were very glad that we’d been organised and pre-filled our visa forms. As we were parting with our $100 and our passports were being stamped, we looked back to see that the other passengers from our flight were forming one enormous queue behind us. Phew.
I’d also prepared myself for a bit of craziness when we got outside the airport but it wasn’t too bad. We’d read up on what was a reasonable taxi fare to Thamel and we just agreed the price with one of the guys that was hanging around.
The drive into town was my first experience of Asia’s roads and I’d never seen so many people on motorbikes in one place. Each bike had two or three people crammed on the seat – sometimes a small family.
Our driver wove his way through the traffic, dust flying up in our faces and the horns blasting every few seconds. Josh, Krista and I sat squashed together in the back seat, along with some other Nepali guy who was trying to sell us his tour guide services. There wasn’t really enough room for three western adults in the back of the car so we could have done without him.
But they got us to the guest house that I’d already booked online and, other than the dead rat lying on the driveway, the place seemed decent enough.
Later we made our way into Thamel proper on foot, maneuvering round the honking bikes and rickshaws, dodging the dogs that were curled up on the side of the road and avoiding the tiger balm salesman and hash peddlers that would sidle up and murmur in our ears.
We ventured as far down as the rooftop of Helena’s for a drink and some food and watched the sun set over the hazy mountain range in the distance.