I’ve been in Kathmandu for almost a week now, and it’s been a very welcome change…everything is a bit more laid back than what I experienced in India. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to get very far outside the city, which I think would be the best part of Nepal. Because of how much there is left to do and see here, I think it’s the place I’d most like to revisit out of all the places I’ve been so far.
OK, on to what I have been able to see with my time here.
First, I was welcomed to Nepal by this kid…he was absolutely obsessed with my bike, inspecting every square inch of it.
Durbar Square – This area of Kathmandu is home to various plazas, temples, and idols. If you’re in Kathmandu, check it out…it’s really touristy, but a pretty neat area to walk around for a couple hours.
Hanuman statue…kinda creepy if you ask me.
There’s quite a few stairs to climb before getting to the temple…And before getting to the top, I started to realize that I’ve been eating too many momos since I arrived in Nepal.
Two dogs I saw at the top…One, mangy as can be, the other, asleep on a golden pedestal
Nagarkot – This is another village outside of the city, with some views of the Himalayas…unfortunately it wasn’t the most clear day when I was up there.
Getting up to Nagarkot was an interesting experience…The plan was to ride up there with a couple German friends I’d met earlier in the week. We’d meet at a bar not far from my hotel, then ride up from there. As I turned my last corner, and could see the bar straight ahead, I got flagged down by a police officer. When I stopped, about 5 of them came over to me, and there were at least 10 more standing across the street looking at me…it was definitely an uneasy feeling from the get go. They asked for all the paperwork on my bike…some of which was in my hotel room…whoops! I explained that I didn’t have everything, but I could make a quick run to my hotel room and come back with it. As I’m explaining this to them, I see my friends, Kati and Natalie, pull up in front of the bar, only 20 or so meters ahead. The officer starts to get confrontational with me about not having my paperwork, and I start to get defensive, which might not have been the best way to handle it, but that’s what happened. It seemed like he thought that if he got angry enough, my paperwork would appear…or maybe he wanted a few hundred rupees to appear?? All the while, most of the other cops crowded around…some looked angry, others looked curious, so I didn’t really know what to think of the whole situation. Behind the cops, a much larger crowd of local folks had gathered to see what was going on.
He finally agreed to let me walk back to my hotel to get all the paperwork, and said that I could leave the bike where it was, and they’d watch it. As I got off the bike, he told me that I needed to leave the key with him, which gave me a good laugh, as I walked away, keeping the key of course.
I walked up to Kati and Natalie to let them know what was going on, and as I was explaining the situation, I noticed the cop pushing my bike to who knows where…I take off back that direction and ask what their plan is…
“We need to move it to the other side of the street.”
“I’LL move MY bike to the other side of the street, as long as that is where it will remain, untouched, while I got get my paperwork.”
Once the bike was parked in this much more logical (yes…I’m being sarcastic) location, I was off to my hotel. Kati and Natalie stood guard by my bike, which was reassuring, and Kati let me take her bike to make my trip a bit quicker.
When I returned, the police officer started going through all the paperwork…most closely inspecting my Carnet, which it was very clear he had no clue about. He read through every page of the Carnet, with a very serious look on his face, which was rather funny…other than the first page he looked at (which dealt with my entry into Nepal), every other page was an empty and identical template, meant to be filled out at future border crossings. After reading about 15 of these identical pages, he handed it back and let me go on my way…so…on to Nagarkot to see the Himalayas.
Later on that evening, we went to the bar that we met in front of (where I was pulled over). Turns out the bartender had seen the whole incident from the rooftop bar, so he was pretty curious about what was going on…and he didn’t seem surprised by it.