Yesterday I took a trip to Thamel, the tourist district of Kathmandu. Our neighborhood is truly upscale and quiet compared to this place. Nothing could have prepared me 🙂
The ride was about 20 minutes to near the Monkey Gate, but police wanted to charge a tourist fee, so I just got out early, with a little directional assistance from the driver on in what general direction Thamel was.
Began walking through hobbiton (shops and homes are half-scale), past the dogs, garbage, etc. Once the streets began looking half decent, I ducked into a hiking shop and “kati yo(how much $?)’d” my way into a $14 bag, after bartering a bit. Good price I think, as the further in to Thamel I went, the more touristy it got. I am like raw meat to the flies there; tall, blonde and blue-eyed. I had to “pardaina” (I don’t need it, no thanks) my way all around, and keep moving lest I attract (more) attention.
I saw perhaps a dozen or more other westerners, and even just after a few days here of observing Nepali’s, they looked enormously tall and under-dressed.
Had lunch at a westerner’s haven, the Roadhouse Café, incredibly clean (which is saying something) and only $3 USD for a 12″ cheese pizza.
The monsoons continue to bring in the warm air, which rises to the mountains, cools, and dumps rain on us. Usually begins around 2:00pm, sometimes abates and sometimes not until after dinner.
We’ve hired a Didi (literally “big sister” but means maid/housekeeper) on trial basis beginning tomorrow. Hopefully will allow me to keep from having to clean a 3000 sq foot home daily (which is necessary once out of monsoon season, when the pollution comes back).
The kids have begun school and are enjoying it. The other little girls walking home at the same time as we pick up L are fascinated by E & M and like to hold their hands.
Most times, to see a place one needs to spend a week or so there. We’ve been here nearly a week and I don’t feel as if I’ve even scraped the surface.