Here’s some of what the Lonely Planet – Nepal chapter on Kathmandu has to say about the city of Kathmandu:
“For many, stepping off a plane into Kathmandu is a pupil-dilating experience, a riot of sights, sounds, colours and smells that can quickly lead to sensory overload. Whether you’re barrelling down the atmospheric winding streets of the old town in a rickshaw, marvelling at the exquisite medieval temples of Durbar Square or dodging the tiger balm sellers and trekking touts in Thamel, Kathmandu can be an intoxicating, amazing and exhausting place.
As the largest city in the country, Kathmandu is regularly paralyzed by political ferment, electricity cuts and traffic seizures on a scale that is almost apocalyptic. Town planning is not Kathmandu’s greatest strength. The fact that the city keeps moving at all is a testament to the patience and equanimity of its people.
Take a walk through the backstreets, however, and the capital’s rich cultural and artistic heritage reveals itself in hidden temples overflowing with marigolds, courtyards full of drying chillies and rice, and tiny hobbit-sized workshops.
Since the 1960s Kathmandu has been supplying the closest thing backpackers have to Disneyland and, with over 2,500 tourist-related business in 5 sq kilometres, Thamel boasts a collection of hotels, restaurants, trekking agencies, bakeries and shops that is rivalled only by Bangkok’s Khao San Rd. This endlessly fascinating, sometimes infuriating, city is well worth a week of your time, but it’s easy to spend too much time stuck in touristy Thamel. Enjoy the Internet cafes, the espresso and the lemon cheesecake, but make sure you also get out into the ‘real Nepal’ before your time runs out.”
KAPOORS ON THE ROAD
I did mention previously that Anil’s bag flew on the following flight from Delhi. We were told that the flight would arrive at 5:00pm (a couple of hours after our flight) so we waited at the airport for it. It took at least an hour before we knew it had not come with us, and then we had to fill out all the paperwork. It made sense to wait, though we did not know for sure if it was coming.
While we waited, we made a mental checklist of what was in the suitcase, and it seemed it was all only clothing and toiletries except for a small gift bag containing the Christmas presents we had purchased in Sicily.
We were thrilled when we saw the bag on the conveyer belt - it was a brand new suitcase, purchased in Bangkok and this was only its second flight - both on Jet Airways.
We had no problem getting money from the ATM and then booked a prepaid taxi to our hotel. The hotel is beautiful, done up in Tibetan style - we had a very comfortable sleep and now we’re up and getting ready to head to the restaurant for breakfast.