Impressions: Two days in Kathmandu

March 2, 2015

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYesterday’s dust, pollution, and confusion, along with the chagrin of confirming the recommendations of so many climbers who told me to spend as little time in Kathmandu as possible, gave way to air cleaner air filtered by a thunderstorm.  A thunderstorm in Kathmandu was strangely unexpected, however as dirt roads gave way to mud, the particulate matter in the air noticeably decreased, and yesterday’s N95 mask gave way to today’s GoreTex.  I’ve always had a secret joy for staying comfortable in waterproof clothing, ever since my brother and I had to dig ourselves out of a blizzard that hit our house in Denver  back in collage.

Officially, the past two days have been filled with meetings at the Himalayan Rescue Association and language lessons.  Today we met with Dr. Buddha Basnyat, the medical director for the HRA.  Buddha has a genuine warmth of a long-time friend, even when you just meet him for the first time.  He met with all the volunteer staff of the Pheriche and Manang Aid-posts along with volunteers from another organization that run an outpost out of Machhermo, which is an approximately 2 day hike over the Cho La pass from Pheriche in the Khumbu region.  We had a good conversation about various high altitude illness and gastrointestinal diseases of Nepal (which is notoriously frequent).

I still do not yet have a good feeling for the city of Kathmandu.  The hotel we are staying at, the Hotel Marshyangdi, is nice, but basic.  Most importantly, I have a room to myself.  They also have sufficient Wifi access to allow me to speak to my family on the phone through Viber.

Having been here for two days, I have yet to see a mountain.  I feel stuck in alleys cut between a dense population of 3-5 storied buildings.  It kind of reminds me of a movie I watched on the plane to Qatar, the Maze Runner.  The streets are filled with a flurry of motor vehicles, pedestrians, and rickshaw like machines, all of which are trying their best to take you out of commission.  The time has been useful to pick up a few last minute items, including a Primus French Press, two pounds of coffee from locally grown and roasted Himalayan Java, a pack cover, and a copy of Peter Matthiessen’s “The Snow Leopard”.  According to the FedEx website, my precious spirometry turbines will be coming in tomorrow, which is critical to the success of my research.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Still, I am anxious to get into the mountains of this country.  So many of the world’s most beautiful places seem to share their plain of existence with the ever encroaching consumerism of humanity: Yellowstone to West Yellowstone, Denali to Talkeetna, Machu Picchu to Cusco, the Wasatch Range to Salt Lake.  Perhaps as the Himalayas (which I just learned means “abode of snow”), as the greatest of mountain ranges, also has the greatest of tourist embarkation cities, in Kathmandu.

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The author risking “life and limb” in a 300 rupee taxi, Kathmandu, Nepal.

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2 Responses to “Impressions: Two days in Kathmandu”

  1. Cheryl Bayly said

    Hi Andy, thanks for blogging, i always enjoy reading of your adventures.

  2. Bonnie/John Hankinson said

    WOW..@!! thanks for wonderful adventure insites. We are
    living these travels thru you. Our thx..and MN hugs.

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