Part 1 – Journey, Khumbu, and Kathmandu
(Not to Sound Cliche but: At the Top of the World…Literally!)
Once again I will transport you back in time to 2012 to the Nepalese capital of Kathmandu! Some adventures await us!
If you are new to this journey you can find the beginning HERE.
Chapter 2: Of Cultures and Kathmandu
(Monkey Temples and Uniform Chaos)
So far I have traversed oceans in the biggest commercial jet ever built, I had passed through customs in two separate foreign nations, I had a taxi ride to rival the most terrifying of any roller coaster, I had met people from around the world and had ordered and eaten something with absolutely zero prior knowledge of what it was. This sounds impressive but it truely pales in comparison to what October 26th had in store for me.
If I remember correctly, I woke up somewhere around 4 AM because in the States that is around 1 in the afternoon, a time when no one should still be sleeping. I couldn’t go back to sleep so I got up and played around on the internet for awhile. Eventually the sun rose and I was greeted with another beautiful day in Kathmandu.
I went out on the town and was suprised to find that a relative quiet had fallen over the previous day’s busy streets.
The early morning hours showed me an amazing change in the landscape of the town. I wandered aimlessly, for most of the shops were still closed. After awhile I made way back to the Potala Guest House to meet back up with Axel for my first venture outside of the tourist district of Thamel.
After only going a few blocks outside the tourist area, the city changed dramatically. This is where you truely find the horrible remnants of a thirsd world nation
Poverty and disease are on the sides of the road, and trash by the ton is strewn across the landscapes. Mountains of plastic can be seen through every alleyway and on every street corner.
We made our way out of Thamel and headed south near the great park, near some of the larger and busier streets. We were making our way a few miles to the trekking tourist center where we would purchase and recieve all of the permits we needed.
First I had to get some new passport sized photos because I had already used my last one to get my Visa. That proved to be the trickiest place to find. After almost an hour of searching, we found a small, hole-in-the-wall printing shop that would do passport photos.
Just a few minutes before, Axel needed to purchase his bus ticket to Jiri so at the great bus park a man put a decorative yellow and red festival mark on my forehead. That is why my TIMS card has that in the picture.
Anyway, I was led to a back room while Axel waited outside. After 5 minutes or so they printed my pictures and we left. Axel later told me how nervous he was that they led me to some creepy back room and he didn’t see me for over 5 minutes. I told him I was just sitting there and we both had a laugh. It goes to show what misconceptions and fear exist when visiting new and strange places.
From the hpoto place we proceeded to the tourist center to get our TIMS cards. WHile there we noticed the Everest office was still closed. That worried us until we asked the guys from the Annapurna office (another popular Himalayan trekking route). They informed us that we could easily purchase our Sagarmantha National Park passes upon entry in the town of Monjo. After that we got our TIMS trekking permits and noticed that most people in the office were doing the Annapurna circuit. Getting our permits was as simple as handing over the money and signing some forms.
With that taken care of, we both were ready for our journeys up into the mountains. We left the office and went back to the guest house. After eating some lunch (Papad-look it up, it is amazing) we took of in a cab towards Boudhanath to meet up with Romain.