Monday, March 25, 2013

Touchdown in Kathmandu

On the final descent into Kathmandu, we were greeted by sunny views of terraced hillsides, a mountainous background, and countless colorful little stacked box houses. Apparently the Nepalese travelers were as enthralled as me--everyone was craning to see out the windows--window seats were prime real estate on this flight judging by the bickering and trading spaces before take-off. 
Upon landing, the collective hush that enveloped the cabin during descent erupted into cheers and celebratory rabble. Appeasing the Safe Landing Deities?
Giving new meaning to the term "crushing horde", airplane touch down obviously equates to permission to jump out of your seats and grab your bags, then push forward through the aisle--even though everyone else is doing the same, and the doors aren't even close to being open yet. 
All of a sudden, someone yelled something ("Yeti is at the front door!"?) Not sure, since my Nepali is, umm, a bit rudimentary (ok, nonexistent) at this point...but whatever it was, everyone jumped and turned around to crush toward the back door. It was hilarious to watch. Being taller and able to hold my own definitely has its advantages.

Security and "customs" was a breeze, unlike the shady dealings in Mumbai, with its overly complicated checking of name tags and boarding passes (no fewer than 12 checks within an hour), and its random charges with no receipts (receipts only if you pay the highest charge). A stamp on my passport, a cursory glance to make sure it was me, and a mere wave through with my bags. I was in. :)
 The parking lot outside Kathmandu's airport.

The parking lot redefined chaos, however, and prepared me duly for the streets of Kathmandu, where cows, goats, pedestrians, trucks, mopeds, cars, and bikes all share the roads, and painted lines are a blatant waste of resources and time.

 Fruit vendor, one of many stands along the narrow
road I would consider an alley.
As we headed toward my lodging, the driver turned off onto a walkway that doubled as a road. One that barely looked wide enough for 5 people to walk side by side accommodated--as if through magic--passing vehicles. And nary a shout from the pedestrians who were so close I could reach out and touch their tikas.

 Selling an Indian dish of panipuri. Described as a puff
of bread with a special "cooling liquid" (syrup?) poured into the center.
Good for hot days, so they say. I shall take their word for it.
An arrival that has brought my sleep-deprived senses alive, and I've only just begun. That's all for now. Tomorrow is Holi, a national holiday, so stay tuned to learn along with me.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Wendi...
    Namaste from Dan O in Greensboro... This is the first I've heard of your trip... I'll be reading... Cool.