Nepal | Thank You, Kathmandu

Kathmandu has been nothing like expected, and such a welcome from India.

Truly, this is a case for the people making a city. Perhaps it is the mountains, but the Nepalese are beyond wonderful, full of smiles and warmth.

We have spent over a week in and around Kathmandu, now joined by Brent, with no plans except relaxing, eating, and booking our Tibet tour. Surprisingly, many people speak excellent English, and it’s easy to make friends. We even hired a guide (Lama) for a three-day trek to Chisapani and Nagarkot, which very nearly killed us, since it was largely uphill. It was quite a grand site to be in these small villages, nestled into thousands of acres of rice terraces, carved like clay into to rolling mountainsides. It reminded me of simple life in the Thai hill tribes, though we couldn’t stay long enough to get to know any of the villagers. We enjoyed the trekking experience, but we could not help but rejoice at our return to Kathmandu. Sore and fatigued, we stumbled back a few days ago, and haven’t wanted to leave since.

The city itself is rather simple, without any high rises or fancy buildings, save for the few squares and temples. However, it is full of life’s simple pleasures, including the most fantastic of cuisines, many of which incorporate our favorite Tibetan dish: momos. These are much like pot stickers, but come in various styles and fillings. You can even get them fried, which is clearly fantastic. Our favorite place is just down the alley from our hotel, where they serve local dishes for great prices, and everything on the menu is perfect. Happily, Kathmandu Peace Guesthouse has become a little home, with the nicest staff, including Raj, who we love dearly. Also, we have met a gentleman named Qayoom, who owns a shop called Rug Up Originals in the center of Thamel. He is one of the nicest people we have encountered in our adventure, and we have spent countless hours in his shop and with his assistant Sukadai, a tiny and cheery old man. They make us the most delicious milk tea, and we chat for hours. After our hike, we took Qayoom to dinner at a surprisingly superb Italian restaurant, where we splurged on bruscetta, pizza, and limoncello, which Qayoom loved. He also gifted us a set of amazing Mt. Everest photographs, which were taken by one of his famous photographer friends, Jeff Botz. (We later spent some serious time hunting down a packing tube so as not to destroy them in our packs.) It was terrible to say farewell, so we decided on “a presto” – Kathmandu, we will be back one day…

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