Into Nepal – Kathmandu, Nepal

After the short 1 ½ hour flight from Delhi to Kathmandu, I paid the $40 visa fee that would allow me a month. I will have to extend my visa by about ten days but that I can do later. After checking into my hotel, I went for a wander around. Thamel is the main tourist area and is packed with stores selling incense, trekking gear, elaborate pastries, and every kind of souveneir you can imagine. And probably some you couldn’t. Even though the sun was out, I was a tad chilly as I gazed into the shops from the crowded streets. I wrapped my scarf just a little bit tighter around my neck.

All through India, I was searching for this specific HEM brand coconut incense that Jen had introduced me to. I was in love with the way it scented the whole room like a tropical paradise and I was determined to get me some. Well, we all know how I feel about coconut. Anyway, after just five minutes walking in Kathmandu, I found a whole pack of six boxes for just 200 rupees. I was thrilled to bits. I still have to get my head around the currency difference. Even though Nepal and India both use rupees, Indias are 50 to the dollar and Nepals are 80.

When I located my first Nepalese supermarket I was delighted to spend the next half hour exploring. I ended up buying a snack of coconut flavored puffs which I devoured within minutes. They were sweet and tasty but I couldn’t imagine very healthy. I was impressed with all the health food and the wide variety of North American imports. Much more selection that I had seen in India which really surprised me. I reasoned that this was largely due to the concentration of tourists in this small section of Kathmandu. I probably won’t experience this further out in the smaller towns and suburbs where I plan to spend most of my time.

After a full day of meandering, I made my way back to Hotel Buddhaland. I did some writing and tried to catch up on some internet. I gave up after their “free computers” crashed on me thrice and the wifi refused to connect to my phone. I decided to try and polish off Shantaram which I am more than ¾ the way finished. I really don’t want to carry this brick around much longer. There is nothing like curling up in bed with a good book, right? Wrong. Not when you have to share the bed with uninvited visitors. Lo and behold, when I turned down my bedsheets, there I found a lovely assortment of black creepy crawlies. There were about a dozen of the bugs plowing around my white sheets. I inspected them closer but couldn’t work out if they were bitey or not. I decided not to chance it.

In bare feet and pajamas, I made my way down to the front desk and apologetically complained, as we Canadians tend to do. The night staff seemed slightly annoyed but moved me to a different room after hemming and hawing for a while. My new abode had a clean bed but a filthy bathroom that reeked of sewage. At this point, I chose my battle and sucked it up. It was late and I needed sleep.

Grateful for coconut incense.

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