Wednesday, October 3, 2007

When Can I Stop Holding my Breath?

We're on the other side of the world right now. The flight from Toronto to Delhi was the most pleasant trans-atlantic flight either of us has ever experienced -- mad props to Jet Airways for the excellent food, service, and comfortable ride(nb, though, Shrek III is very very bad.) We slept for hours and arrived in Delhi rested and ready for our 12-hour layover! Yay!

The layover more than made up for the ride, though -- there was no place to rest, and as we had arrived at 11:00 pm local time, the urge to sleep arrived in a crashing way after a few hours of restless walking and twitching. We dozed, sideways, in chairs, and were introduced to some lovely Nepalese locals who gave us travel tips and let us hold an adorable baby. Then we tried to have "breakfast". I chose a vegetarian sandwich, and to my dismay realized that the vegetarian filling was a slice of brown bread... in between slices of white bread. For $2.

We got into a fight with a tooth-sucking, eye rolling, insolent Jet Airways employee who refused to give us his name when asked when we called him on his terrible manners... props get taken away from Jet Airways for this fool! The flight to Kathmandu was short, thank goodness, because it was about 300% less comfortable than the trans-Atlantic crossing had been.

After a long wait in line at the Kathmandu airport, we wrestled our way into the bus waiting to take us to our hotel, and realized we had truly arrived in Nepal. The streets of Kathmandu are crowded and dusty and full of bikes, scooters, vans, taxis, people, and... cows. I can't believe the small spaces that drivers can pass their vehicles through. I swear that our taxi yesterday made it through an opening smaller than the width of the van -- I'm not sure how, but it happened.

On arrival, we had a lukewarm shower, made friends with the cockroach living in our bathroom (BG introduced him to the sole of his sport sandal,) and slept, and slept, and slept some more. Then we got up, wandered around Thamel (this area of Kathmandu, and clearly the tourist part,) and slept some more. This morning we are bright eyed, and if we're bushy-tailed, it's only because we're constantly on terror alert from the car horns and vehicles passing our tourist butts by with millimetres to spare. I wish I could describe the cityscape, but I can't. We can see the mountains in the distance, and the town is a spider-web of cobblestones and paved streets with shops, restaurants, and internet cafes packed in sideways and on top of each other. Men on bicycles are selling fresh fruit in big baskets, children are rushing side to side and dodging the stray dogs that wander about, and every other Nepali local that approaches us is selling either Tiger Balm or sandalwood flutes.

This city reminds me of other cities I've visited in the past, like Stone Town in Zanzibar, Tanzania, and it's very exciting, but I'd be lying if I didn't say that I'm still a bit scared and sad. In the past I've been able to adjust by saying that life will be normal again in a few weeks -- I'll brush my teeth with tap water and be able to wear makeup without it melting off. This time I'm facing the reality that this is the reality for a very. long. time.

At least the coffee is good. Mmmmmmm, coffee.


Chelle said...

Glad to hear you've safely made it to Nepal! Happy exploring, and take care!!

Anonymous said...

We're following the blog closely,congrats on your arrival, and stay safe. N & H

C and J said...

Yay, you're there! First stop Nepal, next stop, the rest of the world! Great first post, looking forward to reading much more!! Hope things are going well. Be safe, miss you already. Love you guys!

Raquel said...

Stay safe!