We touched down at the airport in the morning, grabbed our bags and met our ride as we exited the airport toward the parking lot. Our hotel arranged for a driver to pick us up, just an additional $10USD for our peace of mind. The driver was good, but there were a gaggle of other people who insisted on 'helping' us to the car... for a tip.
We brought most of our gear with us to Nepal and so there was a short list of things we needed to pick up before leaving the city. Shona's is the ideal place to pick up last minute items. They are well-stocked, fair, and knowledgable. We rented sleeping bags, and bought Nalgene bottles and iodine pills. The only other things we bought in Kathmandu was candy and cookies for the road.
We also visited our trekking company's offices to settle our bill and check in. There, we met the man who would be our guide: Kazi Sherpa.
The Streets of Thamel
Travis and Simone walked the streets of this neighbourhood enough today that they seem pretty comfy by day’s end. Comfortable in that they know the way back to the hotel, but not so comfortable with the dust and smoke and smog that fills the eyes and lungs.
And so, we changed our cash to Nepalese rupees, we unsuccessfully attempted to withdraw a bit more from the ATM and they sourced out the gear needed to rent for tomorrow.
We converted about €1500 to rupees at the bank exchange at the edge of Thamel. This was plenty to cover our budget on the road. As we were worried about any random overages and extra costs in Kathmandu, I also withdrew 50,000 rupees from a bank's ATM (I am less comfortable with the random, non-bank ATMs throughout the city). The extra cash could be used to pay our hotel bills while in Kathmandu if it didn't get used up on the trail. As it turned out, we had more than enough
Restaurants in Kathmandu
Lunch, as recommended by a gentleman at our hotel, was at Gaia. My biryani was quite good. I have become paranoid about illness and really, really don’t wanna deal with a bout of food poisoning before even setting off.
Suppertime came early tonight—by a little after 6:00pm, we decided an early meal was just the ticket for our overtired selves. We took that same gentleman’s other recommendation and headed to C2SK. It was hilarious watching poor Simone and Travis trying to contort themselves into sitting on the floor. I was glad for it—crossed-legged at the dinner table is pretty standard for me. The local menu options looked good so I ordered up some Dal Marihani (a bean and lentil stew) with Naan and it hit the spot. Cheap, hearty, filling and delicious.
- Ask your hotel for their airport pick-up service. After long travel, it will be worth it (and usually much cheaper than taxis will charge you!).
- Unless you're ok handing over your luggage to random strangers who run through the parking lot with your things, keep a hand on your things and speak clearly and firmly that you don't need help.
- Bring or buy a face mask. The dust on the streets can be surprisingly hard on your throat and lungs, even if you can't always tell in the moment.
- Meet your guide before leaving, if you can. Make sure to have a list of questions for your outfitter.
- Get your cash exchanged at a bank exchange in Kathmandu. It's a better exchange rate, and you won't be charged extra fees or need to perform multiple withdrawals from ATMs to get enough cash for your whole trek.