After a much needed lie in, we drifted downstairs to enjoy an outdoor buffet breakfast in the warm morning air. A morning welcome was extended to us from one of the denizens of the inner courtyard as we sipped coffee and enjoyed a lovely Nepalese meal.
Our guide Anjal met us in the lobby late morning and we set off for our first exploration of the city. Markets are everywhere and being a holiday (Sunday) the streets were jammed with people as well as motorcycles, Tuk Tuks, small cars, bicycles and other types of interesting transportation. The cacophony of horns and motors, plus vendors calling became overwhelming at times. Welcome relief was found in the small alley ways we traversed leading to restaurants deep in the core of buildings lining the streets.
Wonderful, wonderful food including lentil pancakes with egg, Mo Mo’s (wonton like pockets stuffed with vegetables of chicken) , curried potatoes and soya beans, bamboo and potato soup, sweets dripping with honey and sugar – one bite of the latter and I could feel my arteries slamming shut- sweetened yoghurt drinks garnished with nuts and sweets, as well as chick pea cakes. We visited a number of restaurants, tasting a few delicacies at each stop. People watching as we travelled around the city was second to none.
This is a wonderful country. The people are very friendly and welcoming to tourists such as ourselves. The views down the streets are unparalleled as we stand about 6 inches higher than the rest of the population. Dogs are common : all well fed and generally healthy. Conversations, as we ate and drifted down the myriad streets, covered a number of topics including the economy of Nepal. Interestingly the major source of revenue for the country comes from Nepalese expats in other countries who send a good portion of their wages back to the families here. Tourism – this is a mountaineers mecca – and agriculture are the other main generators of money for Nepal.
A massage appointment awaited us back at the hotel. My masseuse was a tiny woman about 5 feet tall who delivered a much needed 90 minute Thai style massage. For those of you not familiar with that style, your masseuse actually gets up on the table and uses elbows and her full body weight to get some of the muscle knots out. Rejuvenated after the massage and a hot shower we met our group and headed out to dinner. Another excellent meal with live entertainment that brought some of us up to the dance floor to give it a whirl during the final dance number.
Lovely first evening. The group is well balanced, a mixture of couples, single women and married women travelling without significant others. Everyone is well travelled and the conversations at the table were interesting. Looks to be shaping up as a good trip.
The plan for tomorrow is the flight to Mt Everest in the early hours, leaving the hotel at 5:15 am. Fingers crossed that the weather stays good!