I’ve arrived in Kathmandu after my last ever drive on the TruckBeast! I’m a little sad about that. Actually I’m a lot sad about that, and just a bit terrified. I mentioned at the beginning of the blog that I was doing an overland London to Katmandu trip, but I don’t think I mentioned that it’s actually just part of a much longer London to Sydney trip, so I’m leaving early while the rest of the group carries on into Tibet. There were originally going to be 3 of us leaving here, but the other two decided to stay on through Tibet and China so I’ll be very much on my own. I’m not even still a Madventurer as my trip ended as soon as we arrived here, so I’m just a leech clinging on to the group while I pay for my share of the hotel room.
We’re staying in Thamel, which is very much the tourist district of Kathmandu, lots of restaurants and tons of souvenir shops, which pretty much all look the same – you pass a string of trekking shop, tea shop, jewellery shop, hippy clothing shop and think ‘oh, my hotel is just around the corner’ and then you pass the exact same string of shops 5 more times before you get there. We may be staying here a little longer than planned as the group is having some issues with their Tibetan visas, so I’m not sure how many days I’ll be here. Unfortunately other than acting as as base for trekking trips (difficult to organise when I don’t know how long I’ll be around, plus I’m way to lazy for a multi day trek) there’s not a whole lot to do here other than eat, drink, shop and look at a couple of temples.
Still suffering from the heartburn after 6 days, I finally went to the doctors here, so I suppose that was one good thing about being such in a capital city! Sucks to have to pay to see the doctor, but they do have very good English in the Nepal international clinic (the doctor told me he studied in Staffordshire during the English monsoon season – so for a whole year then I assume) and I now have nice shiny new drugs to get rid of this. I was also told that heartburn is more or less Nepal’s national disease so at least it’s not just me overdoing it on the meat. Thankfully I was able to lie down without too much discomfort just in time for another spa session, which I may have to make a weekly occurrence. Although staff who speak better English would be preferable. Minimal English does tend to mean that they can only pick out one word from ‘that’s a little too hard’. Guess which word that was…
Our one sightseeing excursion was to Durbar Square, where apparently the living goddess – a girl selected at 2 years old and then worshipped until her first menstruation when they promptly kick her out – is supposed to appear to the public every day. I didn’t manage to see her either time I went, but we did get to see the Magnificent and Divine Squashed Orange God. (I might be making that up)
My last task before leaving the group was a bit of an odd one. Chris decided a while back that since the trip was going to end close to Christmas, he wanted to produce a pantomime. The idea is that all the people who are leaving early have to prerecord their parts and then appear as the fairies with the main characters holding up their videos on an iPad. As the first deserter it was up to me to write my script (all in rhyme, because Chris is evil), come up with a costume (I begged a cardboard box from a very confused shopkeeper) and then try not to look too embarrassed on video. I happened to record this the same night as my leaving party, but stupidly got it over with before I had any alcohol. I sound about 10 times more posh on the video than I do in my head and of course had to drink a lot of vodka to get over the ordeal. You can rest assured that there will be a link to the final performance provided the rest of the group don’t chicken out. And if they do there will probably be a link to a cringe worthy video of just me on my own.
(I won’t give away my character’s name yet because, if I do say so myself, it is amazing)