DAY 1 – 25th April 2013…continued
I was brave enough to venture out from the hotel and did a good 30-minute walk in the Thamel area staying close to the main roads within a short radius of the hotel. I had carried along a card from the hotel in case I got lost so that I could get redirected back to the guest house relatively easily. I had left a message prior to leaving at the front desk of the guest house to ensure Mahesh was to wait for my return in case he got there before I got back. Mahesh walked to the hotel just as I got back too. That worked out quite well.
The two of us then proceeded to walk to the Nepal Environmental Trekking & Tours office on Tridevi Marg. It took us about 10 minutes of weaving in and out of various alleyways to get to the office. I left my shoes out at the door upon my arrival and swapped over for a pair of slippers from the shelf inside. This seems to be the custom when entering someone’s home or private office here in Kathmandu. Possibly a way to keep at least one avenue of dust creeping in from the streets out of the personal space. This was my first meeting with Nava. Nava is the tour company owner that I’ve been dealing with until now only through email to get our itinerary booked and confirmed. It was great catching up and he took the time to walk me through the latest itinerary for our climb. He also told me about an Italian and a Korean who would be joining us on our trek. So, all of a sudden, our party of 2 turned into a party of four.
We are scheduled to start on Saturday. Today was Wednesday. That gives us 2 days to prepare and make any last minute purchases for the climb that we would require.
After our catch up, I took his leave and here started off the real adventure!
I had to make my own way back to Kathmandu Madhuban Guest House using the compass on my Tissot T-Touch and the little map that I had picked up from the guest house earlier in the day. Lucky for me, I saw some familiar shop signs from my previous walk around the area when I ventured out on my own so I was able to navigate my way back to the hotel rather easily.
I got back to the hotel only to realize there was still no power. I left immediately towards Nava’s office in the hope of getting to pizza hut for a bite. I was starving by this time. As I passed the Nepal Environmental Trekking & Tours office, I saw a restaurant on the 2nd floor across the road. It advertised wood fired pizza so I was immediately drawn towards it. Not to mention the 2nd floor location offered a fantastic vantage point over the bustling city. Tranzit restaurant. I went in and the friendly waiter ushered me towards an outside table on the balcony so that I could enjoy the sights and sounds as I watched dusk set over Kathmandu.
At the restaurant, I ordered the following dishes, a peanut sadeko, vegetarian momo and a wood fired paneer (cottage cheese) pizza to be washed down with a tonic water.
During my walk back to the hotel in the wraps of a food coma, I started talking to a spaniard whose name I didn’t get at the time but he mentioned that he had been travelling through Asia for 7 months and had managed to get himself a room at a nearby guest house for 300 NRs (Nepali Rupees) which is roughly about 2 bucks a night. Meanwhile I had successfully managed to enrich expedia coffers by $55 for 2 nights!
I was picked up by Hari, also an employee of Nepal Environmental Trekking & Tours, to accompany him to the airport to go and collect Manoj who had landed by now. We got to the airport and luckily, within 5 minutes, Manoj appeared with all his baggage in tow. Hari welcomed him in the same way I was welcomed earlier that day by Mahesh. We were driven back to Kathmandu Madhuban Guest House in Thamel.
I took Manoj out for a quick stroll and to look for some water bottles and dinner for us. We ended up at a restaurant called Alchemy. It was an italian restaurant where I had a lovely hot lemon and honey drink. I decided to skip dinner that night considering my earlier food binge. I was still pretty full from that meal I polished off.
We got back to the hotel soon after Manoj finished his meal and I began preparing for bed whilst Manoj was freshening up. I was asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.