Same Continent Different World

Posted: November 2, 2011 in Kathmandu / カトマンズ

Julian and I are now in our hotel in Kathmandu. The flight from Seoul was about six and a half hours and despite avoiding all alcohol, tea and coffee, I got a pretty bad headache halfway through. The aeroplane was only about a third full and there was no turbulence but for me it wasn’t a good flight.

Things didn’t improve when we reach Kathmandu airport. Slow off the plane we joined a long queue at immigration everyone clutching their passport, visa form and a fistful of dollars. There were only two people processing the visas even though there were other airport staff sitting around chatting. I read a sign which said that children under 10 don’t have to pay. Hurray; that’s $40 we could save. Sure enough when we got to the front the chap said that Julian was free but we would have to join another queue to process the free visa! Another man who was stamping the free visas didn’t seem to know what he was doing and almost gave Julian a 15 day visa; half of what we needed. It almost wasn’t worth saving the $40 for all the extra hassle. We were last into the baggage claim area and I was pleasantly surprised to see our two rucksacks waiting against a wall. Son, 2 rucksacks and headache in tow we staggered out of the airport and were immediately met by a dozen taxi drivers offering to take us to a hotel. But I had arranged a hotel pickup and was now scanning the men on the other side of the road who were holding up name cards of people to be collected. After a minute or two I began to think that the pick up hadn’t come and that we would have to start negotiations with the taxi drivers who were pressing round us like hyenas. Suddenly I saw my name on a card. I don’t know why I hadn’t seen it the first time; maybe it was something to do with the fact that the guy was holding it upside-down. We made eye-contact and he lead us to a battered Nissan and the driver who would take us to the hotel. The man spoke good English but I was too tired for conversation and instead we looked out of the window. I think Julian was a bit shellshocked in that 25 minute ride. Well, he’s never seen a cow eating from a rubbish pile at the side of the road. Then there were the mangy stray dogs, monkeys jumping from roof to roof, more motorcycles then you could imagine and dust and smoke from trucks. In Japan, people use their car horns to say thank you for giving way. In Nepal, they just use them. Every 5 seconds! But then they have to use them as there seem to be very few rules of the road and every car we saw had a dent in it. Not surprisingly, almost all the motor cycle riders were wearing helmets. Yes, that was a very exciting 25 minute ride for us.

The hotel can best be described as grotty. There wasn’t much choice when I tried to book on the Internet and we are only here for a night so I’m not going to bother learning the names of the cockroaches in the bathroom (only joking, Kayo!). We’re going out into the street in a minute to find something edible, then buy a bus ticket to Pokhara and then an early night. It’s been quite a day…



  1. kayo in Fuji says:

    Andy, たいちょうは だいじょうぶですか?
    Julian、Daddyのことを よろしくね!
    Julianは、にほんのべんりさを しっているので、
    ネパールのせいかつは、すこし たいへんだと
    おもいます。でも、とてもよい けいけんになるので、
    いろいろと べんきょうしてきてくださいね!

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