Living alone again, rickshaws, and erotic carvings in Thamel Square!

So after a chilled afternoon by the pool, enjoying our last bit of luxury at the Shang Ri La hotel, roomy and I head off to our respective hotels to settle in before coming back to meet the remaining Trekkers for an evening meal. My hotel is a bit out of town? Down a dirt track and middle of nowhere?? But they great me with a free drink, and all seems quite nice. I’m on the third floor and fortunately a porter takes my suitcase up for me. Two single beds, a very 80’s looking tv and wet room/toilet. But my first room to myself in 5 weeks!! There are two sets of taps and the top two both say cold! Damn it. Have to have a crouched shower using the hot tap before I then head out to find roomy. I put some laundry in as I have so few clean clothes. It’s a bargain though. Five t shirts, two pairs of shorts, trousers and some underwear all for just £3. I get it back in 24 hours. Fortunately my new Sherpa tops are doing a good job of clean clothes for now.
I walk in the direction I think is thamel where roomy is but after 20 minutes realise I’m lost and get a rickshaw! Catch up with roomy at her very posh looking hotel, maybe I should of stayed here! Although she’s not that impressed. We do some shopping, I book my excursions to pokhara, although the manager thought both of us were going so he is a tad moody as I think the fab deal I had was based on two!! Never mind, he honours it!! It takes longer than we planned so are late to meet the others! Decide to get a rickshaw again, bless the man riding us. His little legs working so hard and some of it is uphill. It’s quite a ride to the Shang Ri La, about 20 minutes. We feel bad for him so give him a tip. Not sure the Shang Ri La are used to rickshaws arriving there, it’s a bit common, so we get funny looks!! The door staff are not as friendly once you’ve left!! We still get a salute from the guard as that’s his job but the bell hop is rather off as he knows we left to stay elsewhere!! We are half an hour late so go to find the others. Gragma is eating at the hotel on his own, he tells us that ex pat and Hagrid are at the same place as last night and mr miyagi and son are opposite hotel. We leave him to finish his meal, feel a bit bad but don’t fancy another night there! We wander to the restaurant and luckily find ex pat, Hagrid and Mexican with there starters. Better late than never!! We have a nice evening, no food needing to be sent back which is quite an achievement for old Hagrid! They have to head off at 8.30 as flight is later so we walk back, say goodbye as they squeeze into a tiny car with their four bags and themselves. The taxi service at the hotel is very weird, no one wanted to take them to the airport? Missing out on money how weird!! So a local taxi had to be called. Anyway it was quite a sight seeing them head off! Roomy and I then headed back to out hotels and had an early night. We plan to meet up tomorrow as it’s my last day before going to pokhara. I arranged to meet her and gragma at the square to do some sightseeing at 10.30am.
First night in new hotel was rather noisy! You can hear everyone outside from early doors!
There’s a man shouting outside at about 5.30am, pain in the arse! Anyway I can’t get back to sleep so I head down to courtyard and have a lovely breakfast outside. It’s very picturesque out there, nice tables set out, trees all around, you do have buildings surrounding the walls but otherwise is quite relaxing.
Roomy not replying? She was supposed to walk to my hotel and then we head off to the square? So I assume she’s not bothered or asleep? so walk myself there to meet Gragma. It’s really quite an easy walk, about ten minutes and I’m there. What greets me is a mass of tourists, locals, pigeons, tour guides and religious monuments. I frantically walk about looking for gragma, trying to wave off the advances of tour guides wanting my business! But he is nowhere to be seen. One particular tour guide has tried so hard to get my business so eventually I relent and let him guide me. He shows me the rude wooden engravings, I’d never of spotted that on my own. Very sexual bunch these Hindus, who’d have known!
We go in to a courtyard by a religious building to see the ‘living god’ which is actually a girl who is chosen when very young for this task by an absolutely bizarre ritual. They are put in a dark room, scared to death and if they don’t cry when screamed, spooked, scared etc then they are deemed to be the chosen one and then live a life of what I can only describe as spoilt princess. They have maids, staff, luxurious clothing, everything they need or could want and in return pop their head out a window in a building for tourists to see but not to take photos of. She doesn’t smile or interact, in fact looked positively bored, then just disappeared when she’d had enough!! What a premadonna! Anyway on we head to the square with thousands of pigeons being fed by tourists, they are apparently sacred, but equally as annoying as at trafalgar square. The guide takes some photos of me but to be honest is no David Bailey, they are pretty crap! Still better than nothing! He does tell me some fascinating stories and tales about the place so I am pleased I have a guide. I pay him about £4 but had agreed £2 so he’s at least got some money. That sounds mean but that is a good price out there and I didn’t ask for him! Am I trying to convince myself or you?? I finish at the nine floor temple which does have awesome views over the city, then head down to get a drink in a cafe. Harder than it sounds!! Only one big cafe that is very western so I have to stop there, it’s like a Starbucks but a Nepalese version. I chill, use free wifi, have the most expensive shake, then decide to wander back. Now there is a live band playing in the square. Well I say live, they played the same song out five times over the speakers whilst the band was setting up, then when they were singing live it was over the soundtrack again so was really just miming! Everyone loved the song though, dancing in the streets, singing along.
Back at my hotel I have lunch for one, which ended up being popadoms with the spiciest mix on them so I had a burning mouth for about five hours after!! I finally hear from roomy. She’s been ill all day so was asleep when I was trying to get hold of her. I go for a sleep as knackered but we agree to meet later. I manage to look like I’ve bloody wet myself as tap spurts out all over me!
As I’m chilling for some reason I decide to unblock my ex from Facebook and see what he’s up to. He has met someone new, that’ll be why I thankfully, haven’t heard from him in 7 months!! I wasn’t bothered by seeing him with another woman but maybe slightly annoyed he’s settled down again first?? I then need to pack as off to pokhara in the morning, kind of wish I was packing to go home. Had enough now, but I am sure the weekend will be awesome. And realise the top shower taps actually do have hot water even though they say cold on them. So my crouched shower yesterday was completely unnecessary. What an idiot!!
So after packing, watching a movie and a good chill I’m off to meet roomy. Hoping not to get lost again walking through the streets. Er no, manage to bloody get lost again so have to get another rickshaw to meet her! It was a tad weird seeing her again even though it’s only been a day. Maybe because for 18 days we saw each other every minute and then suddenly all alone again!
We went for a dinner on the terraces of Kathmandu shops. Nice to look down on the streets below, saw our first road accident as well. Bike and car collided, fortunately everyone, although in a mad rush, can only go about 5 miles an hour so they literally bumped, the bike slid then after dusting themselves off drove off! I have fajitas for dinner though I’m not sure I’d call them that, it looked like dal baht, rice, veg and beans?? And the tortilla was more like Tibetan bread (nan like) so hard to wrap it up!! Still had a fun night, even with a sick roomy, and I had to say a final farewell to my smelly clothed, young, laughing, friendly, Aussie room mate from the last 20 days!! Sad as may well never see each other again! I rickshawed back to the hotel, passing a quite busy Kathmandu nightlife on a Friday night, and back to my hotel to get ready for a 6am start in the morning. White water rafting and paragliding here we come!!

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The final frontier, dirty stop outs, showers, breast massages and drunken chats!

Another great sleep, oxygen is underrated in day to day life! Roomy seems ok this morning after her sickness last night, bless her, let’s hope she is ok on the walk. Someone else however was ill in the night and there’s blood sick in the sink, what a delight. Still cleaner than at the base camp tea house, and is has a light and a flush still working in the morning. At brekkie I find out that Mexican and mini miyagi didn’t come home last night. They went out drinking during dinner but the tea house locks it’s doors at 9.30pm. They tried to get in at 2am and couldn’t so slept at a shop owners place until 6am when they came back home. Poor mr miyagi who was going spare all night wondering where his son was! Oh to be young and in the party mood! Mexican pulled a Danish girl but wasn’t interested, he said she hadn’t washed for 8 days so that was gross. Erm hello who are you calling gross?? So of course we took the mick out of him for hours!
I seem to have lost my trouser legs! When I stripped to shorts yesterday i have left the bottom halves on the mountain somewhere! Oops. Last day of trekking, hooray. This should be a two day hike but because we couldn’t fly on the first day this is where we make the day back up. So off we go, shorts and t shirt as it’s very warm being so low down. I can’t remember the route up here but others remember there is lots of uphill for us as we had lots of downhill on the first day. Oh joy. First part is good, roomy is struggling so I stay with her at the back and have a chat about jobs, travels and just life. I don’t think I had asked her all trek what her job was. She is an airport controller ground staff dude, (can’t remember the actual name). As usual we meet a stray dog who follows us for ages, he even starts to come across one of the long bridges, very brave. My dog at home won’t even go over grates or drains. But the poor doggie freezes about a third of the way in, and good old gragma and his puts his own fears aside and encourages the pooch across the bridge and they conquer it together. Gragma says it gave him something to think about other than the fall to your death below! We pass the last view of Everest. Sad to say goodbye after two weeks of the views. I will really miss sagmartha!
Our first stop is at our tea house from the first night. So much has happened since we were last here. This is where we met the doctors climbing Everest, and I got my bubbles out for the first time. It seems like such a long time ago. Roomy still feeling rough and is just about coping. Gragmas tooth ache has disappeared with coming down the mountain. Mr bean is dripping with sweat it’s gross (I know he can’t help it), he has an army like outfit today which is green and just shows the sweat!
Second part of the walk is not too bad, down and up hill sections, still loving the colourful horizon and butterflies etc. Lunch is at the stop that we would have been staying at, lovely view, quite busy though with people on their way up and down. We have passed lots of people on day one of their trek, looking all fresh faced, out of breath and clean! I have continued my namaste tradition so far and am again on about 95% response rate. Sad keeping count I know!
I have momos for lunch and order vegetable ones but get meat. Didn’t want meat on the mountain but never mind, taste quite nice. We sit and chill for a long lunch, nice surroundings, sunny, life is good.
The afternoon drags. I walk at back with ex pat, gragma and roomy. She is really struggling with tiredness having hardly eaten for 24 hours. I find out that mr miyagi is actually a doctor/consultant even though he told everyone he was involved in finance. Why would you lie for two weeks? Ex pat found out at the hospital they visited when he said to them he was a doctor. All in shock at this bizarre lie. Also just realised that hagrid has harboured an annoyance (to put it politely) with mr miyagi all trek. I had picked up on the odd comment but didn’t quite get the whole picture. Others have told me today and I had heard some sarcastic comments from hagrid on the walk this morning. Maybe because I walk at the back I don’t see so much or I’m just not paying attention?
Passang had told us the walk would take about two hours after lunch, at the two hour mark he says it’s about an hour left. Very annoying when we are so tired of walking and you set your sights on finishing times and it changes. All having a good old moan this afternoon, and Passang still hasn’t said two words to me since being ill! We stop for a well needed drink by a little shop. There are three little girls that live there and they are having their feet washed. Looks like its a treat to be washed but the youngest screams when being scrubbed. Bless her. We continue up some very steep sections, I really don’t remember going downhill so much on day one but it’s bloody hard. My legs are pretty knackered. After a mere 6 hours of walking today (and three and a half after lunch!) we get to the gate that marks the start and finish of the trek! Roomy makes it but looks spent! Hooray, hooray, hooray!!!!
The tea house though is another half hour walk through the town as it’s beside the airport.
We traipse through at a very slow rate, passing lots of shops, pubs, tea houses, restaurants, kids playing in the streets, stray dogs sunbathing. We lose half the group into a pub we think, but the rest of us continue to the tea house and toast our triumphs with a glass of wine. Pleased to be at the final hurdle, relaxing and cheerful. The tea house has flags and signed t shirts all over the walls and ceilings. It’s nice to have a read of them. Lots of kiwis and Australians have been here. The rooms, well what can I say, en suite!!! What a luxury! Cold showers, toilet roll and flushing toilets, as well as a sink with running water. We don’t bother with the shower, there really are no clean clothes left to put on so it is a pointless task, well maybe not for sweaty mr bean who stinks but for less sweaty people like us girls!!
I sit outside and watch the last sunset over the mountains. Very relaxing out there, looking over the runway. The guides head off to see family and friends. Mi-ma lives in a house just down from the runway, I see him playing with his daughter outside. Ne-ma goes off to, I think his parents, and Passang visits his aunt. So it’s just us Trekkers at the tea house for the afternoon. There’s a really annoying American dude in here. Loud, a bit weird and just annoying to listen to in general. Quite funny though, his room mate has gone into town and taken the key with him so he is locked out. Shame!
The missing group members return, some a bit worse for wear!! Kiwi lass is rather drunk, they’ve been at the Irish pub and she only had a couple of drinks but clearly can’t handle them.
We have a celebration evening, the porters come for food and to be given their tips from us. We all put in about $80 for the porters and assistant guides to share. There are 8 porters and 3 assistant guides and with 14 people putting in a total of around $1300, that’s a pretty good tip for these poor boys who don’t get paid much. Their little faces were so happy when they got the money, so appreciative and came and shook all of our hands. I ordered yak steak for my dinner, just because one should try the local delicacy. Well it was burnt to a crisp so i can’t tell you what I thought of it as couldn’t taste it!!! Never mind, you live and learn. We ordered red wine to drink this evening, old mr miyagi has taken over the choosing of the wine, rather than hagrid or indie, not sure why but as long as it’s nice. Kiwi lass is getting more drunk, and starts playing the guitar again but it’s out of tune so she tries to tune it. Oops, she breaks a string so it looks like no guitar playing. However Passang manages to source another string so kiwi heads out the room to tune it once more. Maybe interesting whilst drunk!! She appears about an hour later with a tuned guitar, and manages to play well whilst drunk!
The dirty stop outs from last night can’t take the pace and aren’t drinking tonight, both on soft drinks. I’m pretty sure I could drink night after night at mini miyagis age, what a Larry lightweight! We had a lovely final night but most are still knackered after the walking so it’s not a late one. I’ve had about three quarters of a bottle of wine so did need to drink some water half way through the night so I’m not too drunk, just merry!
Last wake up call, I’m going to miss this! ‘Good morning, washing water please’. I was sound asleep again, still loving the oxygenated air! We leave any unwanted clothes and toiletries for the porters to share out. I leave some t shirts and jumpers, gragma has brought loads of Adidas clothing to give them. Wish I had more to leave. We didn’t have time for breakfast and shot off at 6am to get to the airport, it’s only a quick walk down the alley to the check in. It was all a bit rushed, bags were opened and checked, hand luggage weighed, then told to go through security. Didn’t even get to say goodbye to the guides. Passang travels back to Kathmandu with us but the others live here. The women had the longest bloody line at security, men through in a minute. We had to queue for about eight minutes as the security were looking through bags, body searching and then asking loads of questions. Security lady even opened my lip balm tin to check it was lip balm and made ex pat empty her tampons from her pocket. However never checked our camera bags? Clearly the men look less suspicious than us women!!
Finally through to departures and we are flight three so shouldn’t need to wait too long. I had a cup of tea whilst waiting and an alpen bar for breakfast! First flights land and out go flight two, then four, then five. What about bloody one and more importantly three? Passang was on flight four so he’s gone already, let’s hope we aren’t stuck here if flights suddenly get cancelled!
It’s ok flight three gets called next to a big cheer from us. Poor flight one though! I wondered who would get in the front seats this time, pom and gragma did on the way out so would only be fair for others to get to see the view of take off and landing on the way back? Nope, Pom rushes to the front and gets front view again. Very selfish but am I surprised? At least gragma sat near the back. Ex pat got the other seat. Less bumpy journey this time and thankfully I didn’t feel sick. Lovely views of the Himalayas as we fly away. Touch down nicely and herded onto a bus that takes us to baggage reclaim. We have no idea what time we can get our rooms at the hotel as it’s only 8.30am, but fortunately do find Passang at the baggage reclaim and head off to the bus and to the hotel. You forget about the dirty, dusty, noisy streets. I miss the mountains already. Random cows in the road again, horns blaring as we sit in traffic. Everyone so angry and in a rush. We get to the hotel an unsurprisingly the rooms aren’t available so we all go to buffet breakfast which costs a whole £6! We eat like we haven’t for a month! Western breakfast what a treat. Pancakes, bread, croissants, orange juice, normal (well cats piss) tea. Lovely. Rooms still not ready after brekkie so some of us head to the pool to sunbathe. We do look a sight in our trekking clothes and trekking bags taking over the joint! We don’t swim though as we don’t have our gear and quite frankly we are filthy! As others guests start to come around the pool we start to go inside and wait, free wifi and all that and then oh yes the rooms are ready! Roomy lets me shower first, age before beauty I know!!
Oh yes, what an awesome experience. A hot, powerful, luxurious shower! I spend probably an hour in the shower. I have to shave, wash and condition my hair, wash more than once to get the dirt off my legs for a start!! It feels good to be clean!! Roomy was sorting her suitcase out in that hour and still hadn’t finished!
Roomy and I head into town to visit the huge Sherpa store. We get a taxi from the hotel but they misunderstood us and took us to the Sherpa mall. No idea where we are so just walk to the shops we know. I drag roomy into several trip companies, up seedy stairwells, down alleyways, all in the name of getting me to white water raft and paraglide in my few days before I go home. It looks possible though, I can head off to white water raft on Saturday, then afterwards continue the coach journey to pokhara stay over night, then paraglide the next day, stay another night then fly back to Kathmandu. Can’t spend another whole day on one of those coaches. They are so uncomfortable and it’s a 7 hour journey! And all of this for about £160 what a treat!
We get a rickshaw back to the hotel just because we can!! And then head in to see what others are up to and hear about their awesome massage, so off I head to get a massage. It is the funniest thing ever. The first half she bends me into all kind of weird positions, I feel like I’m going through the karma-sutra book! Then she offers me a bottom massage. I say yes why not! Then I have to ask her to repeat herself as I’m in shock at the next question, ‘do I want a breast or tummy massage?’. Really, a breast massage???? What kind of massage place is this!! Hilarious. I decline!
I feel quite battered, bruised and slightly abused after the hour and a half massage, and I’m covered in weird smelling oil, but I’m sure it did me good?? Now it’s time for my eyebrows to be threaded. Now what a treat that was as well. Into another building that has no electricity so she’s doing it in partial darkness only helped by light through the windows. She kneels on me to get close to my eyebrows. I do feel like a giant next to this petite Nepalese lady, probably only about 4ft 8. After some painful plucking and asking me to check, I can’t really tell, it is dark after all I think it’s all over. I say yes it’s great (get me out of here!!) she then notices something she wants to change more than once! I finally leave not sure I’m relaxed or more beautiful but still. (Back in the Uk I realise my eyebrows are very uneven!)
Back at the hotel the group are all sat down discussing the trip. Hagrid is not happy with the finer details of his tour. He’s tried to work out why it costs so much when we now know the cost of accommodation and mountain passes etc. He also didn’t get picked up from the airport when he arrived so isn’t best pleased about that either. It is bloody expensive. Tour cost is £1500 without flight or food so it’s cost me about £270 for the 21 day tour! Maybe they should put us up in a less expensive hotel before and after the trek, because to be honest anything is luxurious after trekking and it might reduce the price! I find out ex pat accepted the breast massage, in her words ‘it’s the most action I’ve had in weeks!!’. Love it.
We discussed at various points, getting tour t shirts. I love a tour shirt myself but don’t think I discuss it with the right people. Ex pat is not a t shirt girl, and roomy just nods along. Mr miyagi would of helped me organise it but seemingly we have run out of time!!
We head off for our final meal out as a group. Passang is with us and we go to a nice restaurant down the road. I order the special that is from BBQ Wednesday! More because the man behind the BBQ looks bored stiff and I want to give him some work. Passang and indie headed off to get souvenir rum in bottles shaped like a Nepalese knife and are gone for about forty minutes?? The meal is supposed to be a goodbye to Passang as well as all of us but he hardly sits at the table as he’s off chatting to friends constantly. Bit rude? But then maybe we shouldn’t have put him on the end of the table with mr bean and mr miyagi beside him. Should of been with all the other men in the middle so he felt more sociable? Or maybe he’s just not that fussed to spend time with us Trekkers?
The starters come out and I am suddenly adorned with my Wednesday BBQ meal that turns out to be a starter!! Oh great. About 6 bits of BBQ meat for my meal. Luckily loads of people have large meals that they can’t finish so I clean their plates for them and get more of a meal than a starter!!
On the red wine again and kiwi is drunk once more! She pulls the funniest faces when drunk, looks so serious you laugh. Hagrid has a steak but sends it back. I’m sure this is about the fourth or fifth meal this trek he has returned. His steak is just a plate of gristle, so fair enough that he wants a piece of actual meat to eat!!
They have these lovely cosy looking seats at the side of the restaurant so kiwi and I head over for a lie down. I could sleep in there, like a cocoon! We are a bit like Billy no mates mind, no one joins us so we head back to be sociable and well it’s desert time too!!
There’s a band playing at the restaurant which is pretty cool. Although we are the only people here to listen to it. Hagrid does a little presentation for the constantly AWOL Passang. He brought over a necklace from New Zealand and presents it too him. We then say our goodbyes and head back to the hotel for drinks! The oldies (well not all oldies) head to bed but 8 of us stay up in the bar and socialise. We have tequilas due to Mexicans influence, cocktails because they look nice and generally have a fun evening! Ex pat with some Dutch courage asks mini miyagi why his dad lied about his job. His response “he’s just a bit weird about it!!” Mexican opens his heart and tells us that his girlfriend died in a car crash last year, and that’s why he’s come on this trek to try and help him clear his head. He then pays for all the drinks, apparently that’s what they do in Mexico and we are not to argue it. Must be a fortune with 8 people drinking shots and cocktails!! Bless him, such a lovely man and not voldermort like at all! As the bar closes I am knackered and head to bed as do a few others even though there’s a continuation party in hagrids room. However when I get to my room I decided its stupid to go to bed, I’m only here once so have a cup of tea to sober up and head to the after party, although I’m on water now. Party ended up in ex pats room and the late night party animals were ex pat, roomy, Mexican, mini miyagi, Pom and Swiss! So hard core!
Mexican spills his heart out some more, said he didn’t love the girlfriend who dies and feels guilty about it. Poor boys head is a bit of a mess! Swiss and Pom head off at 1.30am in true weasley twin style, following each other, the rest of us last until 2am before ex pat kicks us out! What a fun night with my new friends!!
In the morning we get up at 8.30 to say goodbye to kiwi and indie. Pom left early doors. It’s sad to say goodbye. The group is dispersing! After a huge hangover breakfast it’s time for more sleep, so much so we check out late!! What an awesome experience these last three weeks have been, namaste.

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