Sunday, January 7, 2007

Time in Kathmandu

We spent a lot of time in Kathmandu. At first, we booked a hostel online that didn't exist. Our taxi driver was great though, he stopped and asked for directions twice. Finally, we found a building that matched the phone number of the mysterious hotel, but the name was different. We went in and it turns out that the previous owners sold the building a while ago and another hotel was in it's place. After all the efforts of the taxi driver and the owner of the new hotel, we decided to stay there. The place was ok, it smelled of moldy, rotten walls, but it has a private bath and air-con. Plus, it was like $15 a night. We decided to get out and see what we could find. At first, it was a little strange walking around this part. It was located just outside of the main Kathmandu area. A familiar, yet unsettling feeling of being the only white people walking down the street. We found the Everest Steakhouse- to keep in mind for a later date. And we came across the Kathmandu Guesthouse, the most popular place to stay in Kathmandu. Online it was completely booked or else we would have stayed there. But since we were passing it, we decided to stop in and see what all the fuss was about. It wasn't fancy or over the top, it seemed to fit the needs of the traveler in a clean, safe environment, and no moldy wall smell. Hmmm- we asked for availability and we booked for that night! We would have to take a loss on the other place, but this was worth it.

After grabbing a taxi to transfer our bags between hotels, we settled in at the Guesthouse. It was located in the center of the main Kathmandu area. There were tons of handmade, cloth, leather, wood, and trekking shops, as well as, restaurants and bars. Of course, the concrete-block road (covered in dirt) didn't have sidewalks, so we had to walk with the flow of traffic. Traffic consisted of taxis, rickshaws, other people, more taxis, bikes and motorcycles. The taxis were a generic-looking vehicle. We didn't see any foreign made cars. Most people walked everywhere. But you had to be careful walking. The New Orleans Cafe was located across the street- perfect. We loved it there, they had awesome breakfast and dinner. We were there almost everyday. The staff starting saying 'see you tomorrow!'. It was down a little alleyway, away from the bustle of the main street. Like a little oasis to take you away from Nepal every once in a while.

While on our way to the bus station for the Safari, we found the third highly acclaimed restaurant, FIre and Ice Pizzaria. The pizzas were really good and we ate there a couple of times, making sure we got the same seats every time.

While dining at the Guesthouse one morning, a gentleman came over and introduced himself to us. He said he recognized our accent as being from Philly. His name was Dave, a surgeon that works at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. He was taking time off to volunteer at the hospitals in Nepal. There aren't too many people like him, and we admired him. Shawn invited him to dinner one night and where did we go... the New Orleans Cafe of course. It was really nice to meet him and we exchanged contact information.

Our stay in Kathmandu was pretty cool, but we were ready to go toward the end. We even tried to move up our flight date to Bangkok, but there wasn't anything available.

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