Never under-estimate a third world country;
Unfortunately, it was time to leave the feathered deluxe comforts of Gokarna and retreat back to the hustle and bustle of Kathmandu. The temperature was in the high 30's and by the time we had made it back to Kathmandu it was mid afternoon - almost too late to begin any activity as nightfall was close. I spent the few spare hours we had reminiscing and packing away the gifts and souvenirs I had collected on our travels. We treated ourselves to Vietnamese cuisine that night at a little restaurant nearby called Pho 99 where I indulged in the national dish of Vietnam, Pho. It consists of a broth with rice noodles, meat and vegetables with the ying-yang balance (the balance between texture, flavour and bodily benefits). On our walk back from the restaurant, we stumbled upon a family who were enjoying the Daishan with some cultural dancing and music; not to my taste but I regret not joining in!!
It was the peak of the Daishan festival and the city was abnormally quiet. When we had first arrived, roads were inundated with small cars and motorbikes (some bikes which carried a family of 5 in one go) and the constant echoing of horns filled the streets.It was the complete opposite now - locals had returned to their villages in the mountains leaving nothing but dust behind on the road and an eerie presence.
It was the day before we left to return home and some more souvenirs were in order. Cramming into a taxi, we travelled to Thamel, the tourist area of Nepal. The streets were comprised of tour guide businesses, hiking and trekking shops for mountain wear, small cafes (hygiene rating not applicable) and your typical tourist gift shops. The air was filled with the smell on incense, curry and spices whilst the streets were lined with tied up goats and cages rammed with chickens with the occasional stray dog skipping by.
I was determined to get a tapestry for my bedroom - we came across a small shop up some dark stairs where a boy and girl no older than 12 served us.The shop was towered with tapestries of all colours and designs. Of course when in Nepal, you never take the first price offered to you so some words later and I was leaving the small shop with 2 Mandela tapestries slung over my shoulder for a respectable price of NPR रू2300 (£15) .
Continuing on down the dusty streets i picked up a few more souvenirs ( bracelets and key rings) and came across a coat shop. Now, this shop had price tags on its' products which is usually a sign that bargaining is non negotiable - so I left with a Tibetan Yak wool coat slung over my other shoulder at the lovely price of NPR रू1200.
Thamel is a lovely area to visit but be warned that the locals don't exactly take no for and answer and try not to give eye contact or they will haggle you!!
We were setting off at 4 am to catch our flight from Nepal International Airport to Doha, Qatar where our connecting flight to London, Heathrow was waiting in which we would then continue on to and travel to Belfast, George Best. The waiting times at the airport weren't as extreme but it was still a long journey all the same, but one I was happy to endure. Flying with the Emirates airline, I was out for the count before take off.
I absolutely fell in love with Nepal and was by no means ready to leave. It was a content departure and I felt so blessed to be able to travel and meet so many amazing people. Learning new cultures and cuisine and being stripped back of the Western lifestyle was a truly enriching experience.
Never under-estimate a third world country because it can and will blow your mind!!
Till my next adventure;