Wednesday 29 March 2017
I had been corresponding with a girl called Steph, here with her boyfriend Ollie, who was conducting some research of her own for a PhD and was already in Kathmandu. The Xtreme Everest organisers were also here as they were giving a two day conference this week, so I was due to meet them all at the Summit Hotel at 6pm (this is where we set off for the trek from and where I will be moving to on Saturday). I asked the Guest House (called Rokpa, I’ll explain how I ended up here another time) to arrange a taxi for me at 4.30pm so that I could get there a little earlier. I am hiring some kit from a trekking agency that have an office there so I wanted to check everything was ok, and also ask them for some trekking poles.
The guy who transferred me from the airport is actually the son of an older man who works here and he is the one they call when a guest asks for a taxi. He looked a bit worried when he found out where we were going and said it would cost Rs800 (about US$8) because of the traffic. We set off and got caught in the worst traffic I think I’ve ever been in. There is one main road out of Bhouda (where I am living) and two cars were at the junction of this road with their hazards on, one of them chocked with stones on its back wheels because this road is on quite a steep hill. We sat in the traffic for about 45mins, inching forward a few feet every 5mins as everyone fought for a spot in the one lane we had to go down to, as the traffic policemen let out a few cars at a time. I started to get worried that we wouldn’t make it as the next road we needed to go down is also really busy and we were bound to get caught in a jam there too.
In the end it took us 1.5hrs to do a 30min trip, and I got there just on 6pm. The driver got a tip and the poor man asked if I wanted him to wait so he could take us to a place called Thamel, where we were going to eat, because I don’t think he wanted to drive back in all that traffic! As it happened, the XE people had only just got back and wouldn’t be ready until 7pm at the earliest so I had to let him go. I made a mental note to leave in the morning on Saturday in the hope the journey will be a little quicker.
It was nice to see some people I had already met on the Sheffield weekend, and meet some new ones. Everyone was in a good mood and we got some taxis to Thamel to a bar called Tom & Jerry’s. I had my first beer of the trip – it was called Everest – and won my first pool match (doubles) of the trip! From there we went to a place called “K-too!” to eat. It was serving steak, but everyone says don’t eat the meat over here so I decided not to have one but it was really nice and I wished I’d gone for it.
By the time we finished it was around 11pm and I thought I’d better get back because Thamel is a bit of a way from Boudha and I didn’t know how to get to Rokpa in the dark, and what I also didn’t realise was that there are no streetlights on the roads so travelling at night is almost as scary as in the daytime as its pitch dark! While there are hardly any cars on the road, you can’t see the numerous pot holes and not every vehicle has lights. All the shops and houses are shut up so it’s really eerie as there is literally no one around. However, as when I got lost in a taxi in Abu Dhabi (trying to get back to Charlie’s house after getting the bus back from Dubai where I met with my cousin Ian), I was confident we would make it and between the driver and me we got back to Rokpa safely. A late night but an enjoyable one 🙂