Namaste Kathmandu, reminiscing, krypton factor toilet moves and greeting my fat dog!!

So I’m completely alone in Kathmandu for the first time. No roomy to chat to or meet with! I wander around for my last afternoon, off shopping to get the last few items. I buy a blue and purple yak rug for my campervan, I get a cd of the monks chanting to music that will remind me of Nepal and then stop for lunch on a roof top restaurant just so I can watch the hustle and bustle below. Now as I have said it’s not my favourite place due to the noise etc but it is unique, and it has been great to experience it. Even the wiring of tv and electricity cables is a mele of madness, hanging in hug bundles, no seemingly order to them but all works well enough! I enjoy my last afternoon and head back to the hotel to pack and chill for the evening.
Wake up at 6am nothing new there! Try and dose then bloody realise I haven’t checked in on line!!! Damn it. Go to website and no window seats for long plane ride left, do get extra leg room though so bonus. Wide awake now so go down for brekkie. Try the hotel special. Not that impressive to be honest! Sausages cut like cheese string advert, fried potatoes a bit raw, nice eggs though! Realise this morning after just five weeks that milk tea is actually a cup or pot of hot milk with a tea bag in. I’d thought it was so weak due to milk going in first. What a plonker!! Lucky I don’t mind milky tea. Nothing beats the chai tea from the orphanage though. There’s a stray cat wandering around so I feed it the delightful sausage, happy catty! Feeling a bit lethargic and end up sleeping for two hours. Body must be shutting down after hectic five weeks. So decide no monkey temple which is what I had planned to do today, but one last stroll through the noisy, dusty, narrow streets of kathmandus thamel region. I will find my way there and back today without a rickshaw!
Buy a couple of tops, trying to be more girlie. Well I do need to find a bloody man!! Now I know the ex hubby has a new girlie I’m kind of jealous I haven’t. Not that when I saw the picture of them as a couple it bothered me, in fact surprisingly quite pleased and intrigued!
Whilst wandering the narrow streets I pass some men playing a game on the steps of a shop, chalked markings and some pebbles. The simple life, love it.
So after wandering the streets, in the non prostitute way, a few wrong turns it’s time to head back to hotel. I only bloody manage it! After 4 days of walking getting lost I now know my way around, stupidly proud of myself!! Did get begged for money from a local boy mind, he’s chatting to me saying hello, I ask why aren’t you at school he tells me it’s Mother’s Day here. Well after a bit more chitter chatter he then gets onto his task of saying he needs money, he can’t eat. To be honest didn’t look dirty enough to be that hard up but I gave him my bottle of water and 5 rupees which is nothing but better than nothing! Little scally.
Sit in the courtyard chilling, eating my last meal and it had to be momos just because, and finish another book, the one roomy started on the trek and got bored!! Eat, pray, love. I’ve seen the movie so knew what to expect, is a slow read though. I sit and reminisce the last five and a half weeks, what an awesome time I have had. And although I am ready to go home I would not change the travelling for all the money in the world, an absolutely amazing time that I will never forget. So after the memories it’s time to pack.
I managed to get a late check out, they call it half a day but it’s actually a whole 3 1/2 hours for the brain price of half a day! Still worth it though to relax in the room.
Hotels website very misleading. Says complimentary airport transfers but when I asked for my free taxi ride to the airport they say it means pick up, they never drop off. I do argue and say I’ve stayed here twice and neither time did I get a hotel pick up, but it doesn’t work so lucky I’d saved enough cash for emergencies!
I end up sharing a cab with German man so it is cheaper at least! Half way there though he realises he left his laptop back at hotel. In no rush so we head back. I quite like the traffic madness. There are no traffic lights just police men with their white gloves at major junctions. And I’m sure there’s more bikes than cars on the roads? Just a mele of noise.
German man starts to talk more on second effort at airport. He hates Kathmandu, too aggressive and dirty. He told me that money is smuggled out of the capital to Las Vegas, Europe, anywhere they can. Smuggled on flights cargo holds and then the rich people head out and spend it on casinos or lavish trips, instead of helping their home city and pumping cash back into the country! Interesting to hear. He learnt this from a friend in the mountains he’s stayed with for three weeks.
When we arrive at airport he pays most of the fare seeing as we did it twice! A man with a trolley tries to help German man but he shoos him away after some effort and wheels the trolley himself! He has to stay outside to smoke so I say farewell and head inside. It’s fairly small and simple enough check in, although in front of me is a family who clearly have too much luggage, so they no have to unpack, pack, move items around and it takes forever so I change lines. Then there’s a woman who has no print out of her boarding or booking so they have to search by name and that takes forever so I move again! Finally a quick queue. Small and simple airport. One shop, I get a coke and snack (should of stocked up in Kathmandu really, much cheaper!) was going to sit on internet but no wifi working so just read, chill, and wait. Nearly find myself using a squat toilet for one last time but fortunately if you checked the cubicles there was actually a choice of western too, how novel! Flights half hour late but otherwise all fine. I have the biggest grin on my face, so looking forward to going home. Have had an epic time but am tired and in need of some home comforts!!
Have a window seat on first flight, small plane, get dinner, watch the rest of the movie the Queen, the Mary poppins movie and then it’s time to change planes. Now the check in for plane two was bloody ridiculous! Had to queue three times (if you bothered to queue rather than wait that is) for probably half hour before finally being let on the plane. One staff member checking tickets for 400 people, stupid!! Have a lovely leg room seat, just harder to sleep without window to lean against. Get about three hours sleep, watch another movie, chat to Aussies next to me which was nice, they are touring the UK. So I land at Heathrow, hooray. Baggage claim all good, there is a tube strike today so it will be a slow journey across London. I’ve picked a route I think will work though. I get a cuppa and then wait for limited Heathrow express. Lots of people trying to get across the capital, fortunately one kiwi girl has brought her tube map so we can all check our routes. It’s easy to start with, get to terminal four then get on jubilee line but when I have to get off at hammersmith it becomes hard. I wait 15 mins for a tube and then it’s packed when it arrives. I can’t squeeze on with my huge suitcase! Not waiting another 20 minutes to not get on the train again, getting a bit annoyed now!! So I ask train man for help and he says circle line is working so try that. I head over to the other station and lo and behold I get on within ten minutes, straight around to Liverpool street, doesn’t go to tower hill which I wanted but I can at least get home. I need the toilet and at Liverpool street you have to pay. It’s ok, luxury comes at a cost! Not easy as a single traveller as I have my suitcase and backpack to squeeze into a cubicle. It’s like a krypton factor task! So I head for the train, it’s a more expensive route from Liverpool street but my parents will pick me up at station near them. That was less stressy than I’d thought and quicker!
As I arrive at the platform I see my mum in the car park and as I get off the train I see my dad and dog! Yay, however my dog is sooooo fat, can’t believe it, he’s just got a square body. So pleased to see him and parents though. Neither say I look skinny or tanned, blow rude! I’m sure I am both??
So back in sunny England. After some food, a cuppa and a chat I head home to a clean house thanks to the lodger, my cats pleased to see me and some home comforts. I still can’t believe how fat my dog bloody well is, I’m embarrassed! So straight out for a long walk this afternoon, get him moving again. Everyone I meet on the walk is in shock at the state of him!! Chilled out evening, get washing on, watch crap tv which I haven’t missed to be honest. One day off tomorrow then work hopefully Friday to start earning some money again, home sweet home though!

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Luxury before the hard trek begins!

Kathmandu is so dirty, busy and noisy in comparison to the lovely quiet villages in chitwan. The driving is just mad, everyone chancing their life by the looks of it! Those who dither lose!
My hotel however is a luxury in the middle of this madness. Comfy beds, lovely showers, tv, tea making facilities, porters carrying luggage, swimming pool, the list is endless. I have an Aussie roomy, nice girl who’s been travelling for 2 months already. However due to this her bag stinks out the room, sweaty feet smell, pretty rank not good! Although we’ll all be like that shortly, lol! My first hot shower in two weeks was a delight! Though the water colour after I had washed off the dirt was not.
The Trekkers all met up in the afternoon. 13 of us. 2 Brits, an ex pat now a kiwi, a Swiss, a Mexican, a kiwi and 8 Aussies. No potential dating prospects unfortunately although most of the men nice and tall.
The trip is becoming more and more expensive. We need to pay for all food on trek which I knew but it’s about £250. Water is another £25. Tips for porters about £45. And I’ve already paid £1500 just for the trip, which obviously includes his awesome hotel though.
The evening takes us to a local restaurant and we sit on the floor, more dal baht but other local dishes too. Dancing to entertain us. Rice wine which tastes like stroh if you’ve ever tried it.
Chatting to various Trekkers and some interesting stories. An Aussie teacher who also quit and does supply and he’s also pe. Spooky. An Aussie man who’s done the trip with his daughter before and has now brought his son to do it. The ex pat who has done Kilimanjaro. All lovely people.
Earlyish night but so nice to have a comfy bed and be clean. No mosquito net either. Yay.
My body clock must wake itself up after such early mornings at the orphanage as I’m awake at 7, but it’s been a good sleep. Breakfast I started jumping with joy literally. Cereal, pancakes, pastries, milk, tea. In heaven. It may sound sad but when you’ve had rice for brekkie for 2 weeks it’s a great joy to have a normal breakfast.
The day is a sightseeing day. Firstly a Hindu temple and watching the cremations of lots of people. Amazing scenes, they are burnt within 24 hours. All family help prepare the body, the oldest son or husband light the body and it burns until gone in 4-5 hours when it’s then swept into a river. The smell is a tad rancid but an interesting insight to their traditions of death. We see some Hindus painted and have photos taken, we can’t go in the temple as we aren’t Hindus.
Then we head to the Buddhist temple. We can go in this one. Fascinating. The prayer flags I saw at orphanage and on safari are flying here. We have to walk clockwise for good luck, we have to turn wheels of prayers clockwise. In a temple we can take photos of the statues and pictures. There are monks praying.
We see musical healing bowls. I volunteer to try it out so I have a bowl upside down on my head whilst it’s hit. Quite relaxing. Although the healing apparently takes a week of two. Bit rubbish if you’re trying to shake a headache!
We watch artists at work on intricate work, I buy a student one as master paintings are £150 and I can’t justify that. I buy some touristy t shirts for my collection, well actually to wear on the trek seeing as I’ve donated all my toos to the orphans. There’s a weird woman feeding dogs but one at a time rather than a few so they are fighting. I later hear a dog attacked a child too. The poor dogs are all manky and unkempt.
Overall a truly fascinating place. I can see how people turn to Buddhism as there are some interesting views and traditions.
A few of us girls then go shopping and have lunch on a roof top terrace. The food takes an hour to arrive so my planned swim won’t happen, but hey I can swim in many place but can’t eat on a roof top in Kathmandu again!
I buy a new water pouch, my cheap version from amazon leaks so I go back to the trusted camelback. Can’t have a leaky bag on long trek. I also get new waterproof pants got a whole £9. Purple too so I’ll be dressed all in purple if it rains. My mum said like Tinky Winky from teletubbies, I even have a red bag!
I love the randomness of the roads. You’ll be walking or in a coach and suddenly some cows will be strolling in the road. We passed a chicken, goat and dog all mooching outside one shop. A random huge hole that had been dug and left with just a sign each end in the middle of the road. Telephone lines all hanging and tied around posts looking all messed up but I’m sure organised.
When we get back we have a meeting and get our luggage bags. You’d think it was easy to pack just 10 kg but no first try 10.5 and day sack 6.2 (needs to be 5). After about an hour I’m sorted, no iPad for me as can’t fit it in. The choice was books or iPad so books win!
Seeing various people weighing their bags and sighing was funny. Everyone has too much and is carrying or wearing stuff. I’m travelling in extra trousers, waterproof jacket, wooly hat and pockets filled with gadgets!
I skype my mum. She’s not quite got the hang yet. I had a picture but I didn’t see her? But last chance to chat before I leave. Not paying for internet, it’s not important.
Most of the group have dinner outside on the veranda, (yes so posh), and it’s a lovely chilled evening. However we have all turned into wifi freaks as all check phones at some point as it’s free in communal areas. Ex pat tells us she was hammered at last nights meeting. It makes sense now as she did ask questions he’d already answered! But well hidden otherwise.
So after putting valuables in safety deposit box. Another lovely shower and maybe last shave of legs for 2 weeks, (i’ll end up looking like a hairy German from those summer holidays!) it’s time for shut eye. 6am wake up and the real adventure begins. Off to Everest, 16 days of beautiful scenery, hard work, probably tears and hopefully laughter!!

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