Thursday, 17 September 2015

The Travelling Part!

So on 16th September, it was time to leave Paris; week of Parisian food and sights. My flight was at 10pm so I said my goodbyes to my man, and off I went; to NEPAL! Leaving Pierrick behind was going to be hard as we had spent the last year and a half (our whole relationship basically) living, travelling and working together, so it would be weird to not see each other for a whole month, its the longest time we have spent apart.

So the flight was with Air India, I'd never flown them before and was extremely surprised with their 'Dreamliner' Aircraft - window dimmers instead of shutters, the windows were huge, loads of leg room, massive tv screens, a decent selection of films, I had a whole fillet of Salmon and Veg for my meal...oh and the flight was basically empty! Literally every row was only taken by one person, or maybe 2, no row on the aircraft was full. I was sat near to a really lovely Indian guy who was going to Delhi, and was very intrigued by my travels, especially after hearing how much of India I had traveled, but it seemed from the conversations of all the travelers around me, most were like me, transferring in Delhi to some other destination like Nepal, China, Thailand etc.

So the flight to Delhi was 8 hours and I managed to get some sleep, in Delhi I was taken straight through to transfers and waited for around 2 hours for my next flight - luckily we were delayed by half an hour getting into Delhi due to heavy air traffic that morning, so that cut my wait time a little. I then noticed that a few people from my Delhi flight were on the next one too.

I then boarded my Kathmandu bound flight at around 1pm on the 17th which was only 1.5hours and a pretty smooth flight. Coming through the clouds and seeing Kathmandu Valley was pretty amazing. Arrival at the airport was long, it was 33 degrees, no aircon and I had to que to submit my 30 day visa online as literally our flight landed just as about every other flight that day did! It was a simple process though, scan your passport, put in a few details, take your picture and then go to the pay desk.

Next came the baggage say it was unorganized is an understatement, it was chaotic! We got told our baggage would come onto belt 1 (there are only 4 belts), along with about 5 other airlines. So me and another french girl who was on my Paris flight, we waited...and waited...and waited. Almost 45mins went by and I was starting to realise not many people from our flight were around anymore, instead we seemed to be joined by more and more flights. So I went to check out the information board, and it turns out we'd been moved to belt 2...but no one had informed us, so I went and told the French girl and low and behold, in 2 mins we found our bags (the only bags left) chugging around belt 2!

After saying goodbye I went to find my hostel taxi and headed towards the chaos that is Kathmandu City! It was the middle of rush-hour by now so the traffic was intense - the roads are perhaps big enough for four lanes of traffic, but trust me, in India or Nepal, that's nothing...lets try and fit at least 6 lanes of traffic in! Honking is a necessity, as is swerving, getting real close to other cars or motorbikes, and generally...there are no road rules except to get somewhere as quickly as possible.

It's so weird, but for some reason, as soon as I was a part of this, I felt like I was home. Nepal, like India and most other asian countries, is loud, vibrant, hectic, chaotic, friendly, intrusive, dusty, hot, humid, colourful, peaceful, delicate, huge, exotic, cultural, smelly, touristy, local, bright, dark...and yet amid all this, is a feeling like I have met my match, that I have returned to somewhere familiar and somewhere I feel at home, at ease, in control, and happy. I love being part of a minority again, in an unfamiliar yet familiar surrounding.

Upon arriving at the hostel, I was taken to my room, a lovely twin room that I would have to myself until Saturday evening/Sunday, basic, with a shared bathroom, but it's all you need, and at £2.50 a night for a bed, breakfast, roof terrace, hot shower and western toilet, it's a bargain!

Downstairs in the lobby/seating area I quickly bonded with a lovely scottish girl who happened to have the same trousers as me from H&M - amazing what you can start a conversation with! And so we got talking and she gave me tons of tips on must-sees in Nepal as she was heading to Thailand tomorrow and had spent a month here. Then literally just as soon as we had begun talking there were a group of people, two Swiss guys, a German guy, and a Spanish guy, who were heading out to find food, so we thought we would tag along, so literally, upon arrival, I had already met a lovely bunch of people. That my friends, is how easy it is to travel alone and meet people - find something to bond over, invite yourself along for food, or invite others.

So we took a walk through Thamel and around 5mins from our hostel was a lovely restaurant where they served Momos (like Tibetan Dim Sum), Thali's, and Daal Bhat (rice with little portions of small dishes such as pickles, curry, daal etc). And I was happy to see...MASALA CHAI! Yay! I had been waiting for this again since India. So I had some Chicken momos and a masala chai and we all just sat for two hours eating and talking, getting to know each other, exchanging travel stories - most people who come to Nepal, are either in the middle of a long trip or at the end of a long trip, so there is plenty to bond over.

It got to about 7pm and I was knackered, so we all decided to head to the supermarket as we all needed to buy a few things - this time around I was so unprepared and came without some basic essentials, like a towel, appropriate clothing etc. Then I went back to the hotel, had a lovely hot shower, and skyped Pierrick, before trying to go to bed...which was a whole other story!

It was 10.30pm, and it seems the hotel across from us has a nepalese rooftop bar, that really gets going around this time. So I'm lying there listening to the live band, hoping I will fall asleep, then around 11.30, the music changes to club music, and the crowd gets loud, start the local street dogs, howling, yapping, barking...for 3 HOURS!! I literally wanted to throw stones at them. So around 12am the music from the club was cut off - as in Nepal parties are shut down by the police at 12am, the same as in India. And with the sound of the dogs in the background, I eventually managed to drift off to sleep around 2/3pm...only to be woken the next day at 7am, by music and what sounded like locals playing some kind of outside game in the carpark opposite...ah, Kathmandu life eh?

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