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Happy Diwali!!

sunny 20 °C

Travelling at 800km/h straight towards the sun makes for very short nights. Wednesday we flew out of Barcelona at about 4pm, a quick stop in Doha, Qatar at 11pm (local time) and on to Katmandu for an 8:30am landing. Only about 9 hours of actual travelling time but with the change of time zones there was no time for sleeping. The sunrise at 37,000 feet was pretty, but landing into the Katmandu Valley with the Himalayans and their snow capped peaks was amazing. The guest house promised to pick us up, but apparently they are in the midst of their New Year's celebration so that didn't quite work out. Anyway, we grabbed a cab and found our way to the part of town called "Thamel" where our guest house was located. Right in the middle of bars, restaurants and trekking provisioners we are exactly where we need to be. Our host, Raj, apologised profusely for the mistake at the airport and immediately got to making all of our Nepalese plans. We have had to change our plans due to the time we lost with my visa stuff, but we are making the best of it with a Poon Hill and Annapurna Base Camp circuit that should be spectacular.

A quick note for anyone who might make this trip in the not-to-distant future. Don't bring anything, we are amazed at how cheap everything is here. From fleece to boots and tents to backpacks, they have great named brands at unbelievable prices and whatever you don't want to buy, you can rent.

The food is a mix of Indian and Asian and we are really enjoying it. Plenty of rice and chicken curry. Everyone is accustomed to speaking English so it is pretty easy to get whatever we need. The afternoon was lazy with some lunch and some provisioning for our big trek. We hit the cash machine early and pulled out 15,000 (Nepalese rupees)...sounds like a lot, but at today's exchange rate it's about 190 USD. That should last quite awhile, depending mostly on the shopkeepers sales ability and the elasticity of Nat's bag.

Diwali being the festival of light, the town is lit up like a Christmas tree and everyone is celebrating. I'm not quite sure how it compares to regular days, but the narrow streets are total chaos with motor bikes and cars and people. Tomorrow we explore Kathmandu which should include some wild rides, monkey temples and more chicken curry.

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Posted by colincampbell 11:16 Archived in Nepal

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Katmandu has wonderful memories for me as I was there in '68/'69.I am sure many things have changed but the people were so friendly and happy. I look forward to hearing more

by phoebe

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