Part 1 – Journey, Khumbu, and Kathmandu
(Not to Sound Cliche but: At the Top of the World…Literally!)
Alright, let us continue the momentum and jump right back into the story of Matt in Kathmadu. If you remember we have just seen that crazy Swede we love so much: Axel!
If you are new to this journey you can find the beginning HERE.
Chapter 2: Of Cultures and Kathmandu
(Monkey Temples and Uniform Chaos)
Axel was about the same age as myself and super friendly. So naturally we hit it off right away. He told me that he was meeting a friend for dinner in the lobby at 7 and asked if I wanted to join. I immediately said “YES” because, after all, meeting travelers is half of the adventure. He headed out and I headed in for my nap. So far everything was going well in Kathmandu.
I awoke a few hours later, still tired but a little refreshed now. Most importantly I was hungry. I met Axel in the lobby right at 7 and he introduced me to Romain from France. I found out that they had met while Romain was sitting in a restaurant by himself and Axel came up and introduced himself. I took Axel’s bravery to heart and decided to emulate it to meet many more people on this trip in the same fashion.
To those traveling… Go meet people. Say hi to the person sitting by themselves in a restaurant. You will form fast friendships. To those of you not on the road somewhere… do the same at home. You never know what kind of story you are going to hear.
I digress, as per usual. They had met the day before and had already experienced some of the sights, sounds, and most importantly: smells, of Kathmandu. Their plan was to continue onto some more places tomorrow; today being October 25, 2012 (WOW… this day was more than 8 years ago!), also known at Arrival in Kathmandu Day.
We went out to one of the hundreds (if not thousands) of places to eat in Thamel. My first dish ordered in Nepal was a Chicken Tikka Masala over rice. At the time I thought this was exotic but now I have learned that it is actually a dish invented by the British, during their conquests of India, to be a more palatable version of local dishes. (You can fact check me if you want, I don’t know if that is actually accurate, it is just something I read somewhere). Oh and of course I ordered an Everest beer. For those outside of the know, Chicken Tikka Masala is a chicken curry that was spicy and amazingly wonderful.
In fact all of the food was amazing and wonderful and CHEAP. In contrast the beer was less than average and expensive, but of course that slowed us down almost exactly none.
With all that and two new friends from the other side of the world, that was still and will forever be one of the best dinners of my life!
We chatted and made various plans for the next day. Romain was headed early to Pashupatinath and Boudhanath, Hindu and Buddhist (respectively) holy places of pilgrimage. Both sounded enticing and exciting and definitely places I would have to visit.
Beer floated us through the night and we discussed home, traveling, and of course plans for this adventure each of us was having. I found out that Axel was doing an Everest Base Camp Trek so we both decided to go get our TIMS cards (individual trekker’s permits) in the morning and meet up with Romain at Boudhanath later that afternoon.
I do not remember if we went to the Reggae bar after dinner that first night or if it was after Boudhanath the second. For this narratives purpose we will assume it was the following night because after jet lag and my first days adventures in Nepal, I can only imagine that I was utterly and completely exhausted.
That was my first half of a day in Nepal, a month later (as I originally wrote this) I look back and realize how much I have learned since then; about this country, about these people, and most importantly: about myself.
The most difficult part in recording these events a month after they have happened (and now transcribing them 8 years later) is not in the actual recollection of them. That part is actually fairly easy (some details and an unfortunate amount of names will be lost) because they still live so stongly in my memory. The most difficult part is going to be remembering and re-creating the first impressions and initial feelings felt in certain (now comfortable) situations. I will continue to do my best though and hopefully the story will come together as it should.
The first Nepali Sunset has sank beyond the horizon to rise upon my family and friends at home. We will leave me with two new friends, a few first experiences, and a whole slew of adventures waiting to come. There is still so much to see and do, so much growth and change that needs to happen before we get to the chair I sit in now. The first day is over and with the following sunrise, the first few adventures are about to begin.