Himalaya flyby and water works! Kathmandu – 17 April 2017

Eva Sifis

Thoughts from today when we rose at 5 to catch the sun rise over the Himalayas (or the cloud bank – whichever won out) and we were served a 3 course breakfast with coffee for 3 (including dins for 3 came to around $8 total) from our appropriately named Sun Shine Hotel in Nagarkot. Like every where else we have encountered it relies on solar for hot water, that may work 50% of time.
Before returning to Kathmandu we drove up even worse roads and heard how when they were laid, the foundation stage had not been properly carried out. As a result, erosion had caused whole swathes from either side to break away. Our destination this morn was a look out point where we may have been able to see the Himalayas.
Our driver parked in the middle of the road (no biggie) and let us out. Bawan – our most excellent guide, ascended the steps ahead of me and when the metal bannister ended, was sure to hold out his hand to steady me at every possible occasion. We got to the landing atop the hill and the sun was just right burning away the dense clouds to allow us to spy the singularly named peaks.
It was more exciting than I could have expected. Everest was to the right and had we stayed up there another hour the vista may have extended that far but we saw the three Ganesh peaks, connected with the three other different Aryan flavours of people (Indian, Nepalese, Germanic and European/Australian) we met there and caused amusement with our fascination for the dog pack stretched out in different states of consciousness, hunger and disability (yet all were content).
The trip back to Kathmandu highlighted to me a definitive difference between Aussie drivers and Nepalese drivers in that there is a complete lack of frustration on the roads. Even though traffic sometimes stopped altogether or there may have been an older person walking in the middle of the road, drivers adjusted their course with no angst.
The roads are partially sealed and there are long stretches where they are not. The cars drove at regular intervals at 25kms an hour.
We were told that industrial farming practices are expanding as the population is too (there goes my fantasy of free range eggs) and they have a socialist system of government. Some random facts we learnt also is there are 365 species of orchid and 300 species of butterflies in Nepal.
Traffic lights are non-existent or the rare ones only work intermittently therefore at big intersections a traffic cop will be standing in the middle directing traffic with his dust mask firmly placed.
There is a lot of traffic on the road ranging from big old trucks transporting buffalo to slaughter (😕) to the thousands upon thousands of motor bikes and scooters. An interesting observation is that only the rider ever wears a helmet. The pillion passengers invariably remain bare headed and casually dressed. On the occasion of a child being transported, their position would either be squeezed between the two or riding in the very front!
Cows lay in the middle of freeway, resting, and the traffic flowed around them. The lines on the road are but a suggestion.
Upon return to our room we were greeted by the basin falling off completely causing great gushes of water to spray from the wall. A merry dance of our very own boy-with-his-finger-in-the-dyke followed by the charming boy (about 12 or 13) who serves us our breakfast and laughs shyly every time I say ‘Thanks babe’ climbing out the sliver window and negotiating his way over the extended spiral of barbed wire to reach an outside tap to turn off the water along the window ledge 3 stories up – bare footed, no ropes or harness. I have video footage as he wanted me to film it.
The fun never stops and it was so refreshing to leave the city for even a night.
Right, tomorrow, Everest flyby