AnneMarie and Andrew

Annemarie and Andrew – Trekking Asia

A Low Point in Kathmandu

Posted on Mar 6, 2014

Day 1 This was our third day in Kathmandu and hopefully our last, the next day we planned to leave by bus to the Langtang Valley. The first task on our list was to go to the bus station and buy the bus tickets to Syabrubesi. We could get the hotel to arrange the tickets but that would be 700 Rupees (£4) each, as opposed to the 40 minute walk and paying 340 Rupees for the tickets. With not many things left to do we weren’t in a rush and this might allow us to see more of Kathmandu. The tourist area of Kathmandu is Thamel, almost as soon as we left this area the surroundings became worse. There are no footpaths and the road is just wider than two cars. Add a ton of motorbikes constantly attempting to weave through the traffic and the result is a terrifying walk down the side of a busy road with cars, buses, bikes and trucks narrowly missing the pedestrians. All this traffic made a lot of pollution, the vehicles are generally knackered and emit far more emissions than Western cars. Anything large just belches thick black smoke! The road was very dusty too. When the dust and the smoke mixed everything was just a haze. Our mouths tasted of grit, our eyes hurt and it was starting to affect our chests. The highlight of the walk was the river, a dark grey sludge filled with rubbish. The smell was bad, really bad. We finally reached the bus station. A small metal shelter with two men sat inside. We bought the 7:30am bus tickets for the next day and headed back to the safer, cleaner more sanitised view of Kathmandu. The walk back was just as unpleasant. Walking through areas where every building was in some state of collapse. It reminded me of photos I’d seen of European towns and cities in 1945, a building standing then a hole or pile of rubble next door, followed by another building in some state of disrepair next to yet another pile of rubble. We had seen enough of Kathmandu for one day and hurried back to Thamel. We ate lunch then went to the supermarket to buy snack food for the trek and food for the 9 hour bus journey. The supermarket knows its audience well and is filled with Western brand foods, at a hefty markup. Lindt chocolate can be bought for £2.50, Milka is a little cheaper at £1.45. Mars bars and KitKats are also available. We bought a small amount of chocolate, plenty of granola bars, mints, washing powder and Diamox...

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