At the moment getting from Chitwan National Park is a bit of a marathon journey. For the vast majority of the ride, the road is very much in an under-construction condition. There are frequent stops to allow access for construction vehicles. To describe some of the road as bumpy is an understatement. Driving across some sections physically hurt as you were being banged against the side of the bus or even the roof when on one occasion I bounced clean off the seat! Apparently the six hours it took to negotiate around 100 miles is classed as good going.
The brochure states something about the journey encompassing all of the sights that define Nepal; rice terraces, deep gorges, fast-flowing rivers and looming mountains. Through the dust and mist we saw a small amount of the first three features but unfortunately the surrounding mountains were very much invisible.
Most of the hotels used by Intrepid on this tour have been nice and the Kathmandu accommodation was no exception. The previous hotel here used by the company was unfortunately demolished as a result of the 2015 earthquake. We stayed in the backpacker hangout of Thamel. This area consists of a few narrow and crowded streets containing most of the stuff that you’d expect; souvenir shops, hiking equipment stores, cafes, restaurants, bars, hostels, etc. Being in tourist central you are naturally pestered a lot from people trying to sell you rickshaw rides, nefarious substances, accommodation and the like. One of the local variations are Gurkha knives, which would put Crocodile Dundee’s implement to shame. I think that I mentioned about when I was somewhere else that it would be worth designing a t-shirt advising salespeople that I wasn’t interested in any of their wares. It looks like someone had already had that idea as tonight I spotted this exact garment for sale.
For tea we visited a place that claims to sell possibly the best steak in Kathmandu. This is the first beef that I’ve eaten in Asia. I know a lot of Nepalese people follow the Hindu religion so I’m not sure where steak fits into society. However it was an excellent steak and could very well be the best in Kathmandu.
It’s 2073 according to the Hindu calendar. Ajay must get asked this a lot because as soon as I mentioned it he said, “24 hours in a day, 365 days in year. We just started counting at a different time.”