The time had final come for us to leave Sydney for and start our trip around Nepal.
The first leg of our flight was 14 hours long to Dubai. We only had a two hour gap between flights. After a bit of a rush to the correct terminal for our flight to Kathmandu we were hit with a delay for two hours. This two hours soon stretched into another two and ended up being a 10 hour delay in Dubai. Finally we got a call over the speaker that the Kathmandu flight was boarding. I was just so happy to be finally boarding the plane I never even thought ‘Why were we delayed for so long?’. The flight was smooth and empty, we stretched out to get some rest. The pilot let us know due to the delays in Kathmandu airport we could not land so we would have to circle. I was to tired to care about us circling. Looking out the window at the mountains it was just a relief to be so close to finally being in Nepal. All of a sudden a huge plane came from under us and up the left hand side of the plane. I have never seen two planes so close to each other in the air, it scared me to death. All of a sudden I was wide awake and just wanted to land. My wish was granted only a few minuets after our close encounter with a China Eastern plane we were landing. The plane came to a halt, we had finally touched down in Nepal. When we were exiting the plane two men got down on there knees and kissed the ground. It was at this point MK let me know the reason for our delay was due to a plane crashing off the end of the run way that morning…Welcome to Nepal!
30 hours later we were slowly making our way through Nepal immigration. Immigration is slow and painful so just remain calm. It will be a long process. There is a line for the paper forms, then the electronic form and one for you to pay. After all that is complete you line up for the immigration desk. We were unlucky our immigration officer finished his shift. We had to stand and wait for the next one to come on duty. Once we were in the country we went through security again and collected our bags. As we exited the airport we were met with a crowd of people yelling names and holding signs. I spotted our name and waved. Our guide Raju came running up to us with a smile on his face welcoming us to Nepal. It was such a relief to see him as we thought with us being so late he might have given up on us. We got into a car and were given welcome flowers around our neck. Driving into Kathmandu at night was chaos, cars, trucks, people and motorbikes going in every direction. Exhausted from our travel it was hard to take it all in. We arrived at our hotel Kamuri Boutique Hotel in Thamel (tourist area). We arranged a time with Raju for the next day and we checked in. The hotel was lovely boutique hotel. Both of us were so happy to be safely in Nepal and at our hotel. We ordered some food and beer to the room. The night consisted of drinking our beers eating some great food and passing out.
The hotel included breakfast, we made our way down to the dinning room. Breakfast was a continental style with all the favorites; tea, coffee, cereal toast and eggs. Once we had food in our belly’s we went for a wonder around Thamel, which is a bit harder then you may think. The city is still recovering from the earthquake 5 years ago. The roads are dirt roads and there are no pavements. Buildings are still badly damaged or completely destroyed. Everyone seems to be working hard to get the city built up again. Walking down the small dusty roads you have to be alert as scooters and cars are just centimeters away from you. Electrical wires hang across the streets in mass quantity. We even saw two men trying to put one up and it was just hanging in the middle of the road. Most of the shops are hiking, tourist or food shops. There is such a buzz in this city it is beautiful chaos. After a small walk we decided to change some money and head back to the hotel. The only bit of dodgy trouble we had the entire month happened this day. Once we changed our money we did a quick count in the shop. As we counted the man at the counter was straight on the phone to someone and we heard him speaking Nepalese then say ‘Australian Dollar’. I assumed he was phoning the bank. We left the shop and not 30 seconds later a man came up to MK talking to him. When I turned around I saw another man very close to MK’s back pack. MK soon realized something wasn’t right when they complimented him on his Australian accent (neither of us are Aussie). We made a few quick turns and lost the two men. We figured the guy at the shop had tipped off his friend that we had changed a fair bit of Australian dollar. As I said earlier that was the only dodgy incident with people we had for the entire trip.
In the afternoon we met Raju in the lobby of our hotel and walked over to the trekking companies office. In the office we ran through our itinerary and paid the balance of our trip. We received a t-shirt each and a map for the route to Everest Base Camp. At this point it felt so exciting and nerve wracking to think we were so close to starting the trek. The trek did not start for another week but they really went over and beyond to look after us. We had booked to go to Chitwan National Park before the trek. Raju offered to take us to the bus the next morning and pick us back up from the bus when we returned. With all our questions answered we left the office and headed back to the hotel to get ready for tea. That night we walked around Thamel to a place called OR2K. Really laid back restaurant with a huge menu (veggie menu). Chilling on the pillows we tucked into different types of bread and dip along with a Everest beer. It felt great to relax and start to enjoy Nepal. Back at the hotel we packed a small bag for Chitwan and planned to leave our big luggage in our trekking hotel the next morning.
Early start as we had to meet Raju in the lobby at 6AM. He pulled up on his bike and we popped our duffel bag on the back of the bike. We walked behind him with our backpacks. Our first stop was the trekking hotel were we checked in our backpacks. Next stop was the bus. We followed Raju down to the main road were about 10 buses were lined up. Everyone was trying to get us on there bus. Raju took us to our bus and sorted our tickets out for us. The roads were still busy even in the early hours of the morning. The buses have a unique way of reversing. The ticket boy stands at the back of the bus and bangs on the back to let the driver know hes fine to reverse. When he stops the banging the driver stops reversing and waits for the banging to start again. 7AM came and we were off on our 8 hour bus ride to Chitwan National Park.