The kindness of strangers when I travel never ceases to amaze me. Our guardian angel who got us into the hotel lounge appeared again around midnight with a friend who offered to come and get us at 3 am, take us to get our boarding passes and then guide us to security. Adnan is a lovely young man, married with a young child. His dream is to immigrate to Canada. His wife is attending nursing school and he has started a Masters degree in business with the goal that this will make the family a suitable candidate for relocation to Canada. I hope he succeeds.
Delhi airport was already insanely busy at 3 am when we emerged from the hotel and made our way to the Air India counter: people everywhere in the international terminal. Security checks went smoothly and we were in the Air India Lounge by 4 am enjoying a hot breakfast of chicken marsala, jalapeño/cheese rolls and chili paneer, all washed down with cappuccinos. Some charming people from Calgary were sitting behind us. They turned out to be avid photographers who had been many places I have – was a lovely couple of hours comparing photos and chatting travel.
The morning sun was just peaking over the terminal buildings and breaking through the pollution haze as our fully loaded jet backed off from the gate. The old girl had seen better days, rumbling and wheezing down the runway before taking off with a shudder and some very odd noises which we hoped didn’t indicate something like a wheel falling off. A dose of WD40 would not go amiss. The location of airsick bags was confirmed just in case 🙂
The approach into Kathmandu was stunning, cloud formations competing with the Himalayan Ranges to create an amazing tableau of shapes and colours.
Once through immigration we found our ride into town and pushed off into chaos – cars going every direction, multiple lanes coalescing into one, horns blowing, pedestrians avoiding what looked to me like certain death. Signs of the devastation caused by the earthquake several years ago are still obvious with reconstruction everywhere you look. 20 minutes brought us to our hotel, a lovely peaceful oasis in the middle of the city. We have an airy third floor room overlooking the pool. Perfect!
Today will be spent resting, doing some laundry and possibly some pool time – temperatures in the mid 20’s and high humidity definitely encourage a dip in the cool water. After a quiet afternoon we ventured downstairs for a brief walk about the hotel grounds. A quick stop at the news counter in the hotel sent us right back up to the room after reading about the spike in dengue fever cases in the city.
Armed with a layer of deep woods off we headed downstairs again, settling in an outdoor restaurant /bar courtyard area attached to the hotel. A lovely couple of hours spent in the balmy evening air enjoying an excellent Pinot Grigio and Mo Mo’s (a Nepalese dumpling): watching egrets, parrots and Nepals version of a crow perform their evening aerial acrobats before settling in their groups for the night in the large trees which surrounded the courtyard.
Tomorrow we start the day with a young lady Anjal who works through Tours by Locals a Canadian based company that I used many times over the years. Our plans are to visit the local food markets and then a series of restaurants to try local Nepalese cuisine. We then meet our Intrepid group at 6 pm and will head out for dinner, It will be a foodie type of day. I will also blog more about the history of the city.
Until then Pachi bhetaumla.