Trip Reports: Kathmandu, Nepal - November 2014
During our recent travels to Nepal, we spent some time in the capitol city of Kathmandu. Here are a few photos from this crazy and amazing city.
The most immediate observation any first-time visitor in Kathmandu notices is likely the chaotic traffic. With a complete absence of traffic lights or stop signs, cars and motorcycles and people jam the streets inches from each other in a harrowing flow of machinery. Car horns are used more frequently than blinkers. Though it seems like utter chaos at first, one soon detects a certain harmony and efficiency to the madness, like a river with thousands of chaotic particles flowing together seemingly without effort. In any case, it’s traffic on another level.
Walking through the streets of Kathmandu requires complete attention, or perhaps eyes in the back of your head. Back home in America if a motorcycle swerved inches from me on the street, it would be an outrage. In Kathmandu it happens by the second and you soon get used to vehicles brushing by as if it’s completely normal. In this city you must adopt a strangely laissez-faire attitude about your own body. Sure, you might get run over at any moment, but you’ve got to go somewhere, right?
The hustle and bustle in Kathmandu is intense, to say the least. Rooftop terraces seem to be the only refuge of calmness, where you can sit above all the honking mayhem and gaze across the city towards the mountain ridges beyond.
In Nepal the standard greeting of hello is “Namaste”, which translates literally as “I bow to the divine within you.”
As someone who generally avoid cities whenever possible, Kathmandu was a shock to my senses. But a good shock. We met many friendly people, relaxed in cafes, toured some of the temple sites, shopped for thangkas and fake down jackets, and survived the general chaos. But you can be sure I was excited to get out into the Himalaya!