I’ve been to quite a few places around the globe and have never been shocked at the border so much as my entry to Kathmandu. To get into the country, a visa, payable in only USD is required. After some bad information botched my India trip, I checked and double checked the ‘visa at the border’ feature of Nepal. Exiting the airport I was surrounded by taxi vendors (not a first, but never this bad) along with an airport official with a loud whistle telling us all to get the hell away from there.
After I said ‘no thank you’ with a smile of the 100th time I noticed two of them get into a fight with each other. I’ve learned to detest tourist predators. I play games now, all too fun to play “I like Hannah Montana” with a hash peddler.
What is “I like Hannah Montana” you may ask? It is an answer to someone you don’t want to talk to. Want a taxi / weed / guide / unwanted conversation starter in a tourist area? Reply with “I like Hannah Montana, do you?” Their response depends on their country, but they will either say “Who is that? / What?” or “I love her.”
Then you go into the straight repeat after them until they leave game, usually with the line, “glad you like Hannah Montana.”
I’ve had too much time on my hands, you now know.
So Nepal, or Kathmandu is a zoo of activity. No sidewalks to speak of, and the roadways are built for one way traffic, although that doesn’t stop two way traffic. Horns are a dime a dozen. A motorcycle not blasting its horn is parked.
Need some gear? There is Nepalese made, Chinese made and Original which means actually made by the companies logo represented. There is everything you can imagine at pretty cheap rates. I ignored advise and didn’t get proper trekking shoes before I showed up (lightweight travel) and was lucky to find tons of shoes (even 46′s) in stock. Even some Original ones. I opted for some low top Mammut boots. They have a great sole and are lightweight and waterproof. I passed on the leather boots, which I have sworn by in years past, because of the no break in time.
Espresso. They took pity on me being cold and gave me the ‘heater next to my table’ treatment.
I went around town in a dizzying circle trying to find the best quality hats / gloves / socks / sleeping bag / socks / pants and water bottle. Owning just 15 things, this is exhausting. I think I can rent, but the price is so similar I’m going to buy. I spend most of my budget on shoes ($14,000 or $193) with a coat, pant, socks, glove, and thermals ($6000 or $82) rounding out the list.
I’ve turned down weed about 30 times, mushrooms 10 times and am holding two bags full of knock off outdoor gear. It isn’t even noon.
Time for some curry.
Time to plan out my trekking. Annapurna looks amazing. Everest Base Camp feels packaged, although so does everything in Kathmandu.
Local news reporting some very uninterested kids attended church.
ATM makes me look like I’m buying for the town at the bar tonight.
I go back to my hotel, which is lacking a heater even though it is freezing temperatures outside. While plugging in to charge hero laptop here, I touch the bonus part of the charger giving me my first real charge in my life.
Then, on a walk to get wifi, some guy asked me if I like Hannah Montana. Weirdo.
Not that, that is an experience. Shocking in fact. Nepal too. I’m looking forward to the trekking.
That also means 28 days offline.