Apr 9, 2013

Kathmandu - 'Home away from Home' & Packing... again!

There’s something about the city of Kathmandu which heightens the senses. A city where chaos rules. Where life slows down a gear and ‘life’  - well, London - seems like a whole other world away.  It’s easy to ‘lose’ yourself in the chaos… It’s hard to believe that less than 48 hours ago I was still sat behind my desk at work..!

Dust clouds swirling around in the sticky heat, bumper-to-bumper traffic crawling at a snails pace accompanied by the persistent honking of horns at decibles which pierce the ears, generators grinding and humming loudly echoing in the alleys, cell-phones ringing, chimes tinkling as they sway in the warm breeze against the red-clay buildings framed by green windowpanes and trimming that has gone grey from the pollution. Flea-bitten dogs laying lazily in the middle of the broken sidewalk with concrete slabs jutting in all directions as barefoot pedestrians walk non-chalently past… children laughing and running through the streets, zig-zagging around the cars and kicking up swirls of dust as they go with red cheeks and huge smiles… the entire scene framed by bright pink-fuschia bourgainvillias which emit a sweet incense over the city… 

Heading into the ‘backpacker’ area of Thamel one is overwhelmed by huge photos of Himalayan panoramas juxtaposed against brightly coloured signs “Best Expedition Everest”; “Helicopter flight to Everest”; signs as big as the shops themselves selling every outdoor brand and combination of trek you could possibly imagine. The dust is omnipresent and the pollution and cacophony of sound is overpowering as hundreds of motorcycles fight for space on the narrow dirt roads, zig-zagging between cars, pedestrians, dogs and the sacred cows which roam the streets…  weathered-looking peddlers selling Tiger-balm out of small wooden boxes while women and children sit alongside the streets with their hands outstretched for money or food as the dust continues to swirl around them. The soothing sound of the ‘Om mani padme hum’ mantra gently keeping the calm through the chaos. 

Looking up at the darkening sky it’s clear that a storm is brewing as the sound of thunder can already be heard rumbling in the distance – no doubt about to be proceeded by a downpour of biblical proportions to clear the air and send people running indoors…. Tourists looking for cafes offering cheap internet, cinnamon buns and some of the best pizzas on this side of Italy....

Tomorrow it all changes. We fly into Lukla and officially 'start' our 'walk' into Everest Base Camp..! Tomorrow night we sleep in the small village of Monjo and then walk up to the Sherpa capital of Namche. I am psyched and really can't wait to get going..! Our start is 5am tomorrow so with that in mind, time to log off here and catch up online in about two days time.


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