We arrived in Kathmandu late afternoon, I thought Vancouver and Seattle were an assault on the senses – I was wrong. Kathmandu takes the crown. I had forgotten the madness. And the smells. The smells are overpowering.
It took 1 hour 40 to get out the airport, it is hot and it’s chaos but somehow it all works. We got our visas, got into the country, got all our bags and found Pemba waiting for us without many problems. Getting out of the airport can be a bit like running a gauntlet, people appear from nowhere and ‘help’ you with your bags, they may lift the bag off the trolley and put it on the ground and then they ask you for a tip. We were surrounded. Everyone asking for money. I don’t remember it being that bad last time.
Kathmandu was hit by an earthquake around 6 months ago but on the way back to the hotel we couldn’t really see any sign of damage. In fact, it looked like it had moved on since we were last here 3 years ago, cleaner and tidier (but do not mistake this for clean and tidy, there is still a long way to go before that is achieved).
There appear to be very few rules of the road. Most people drive on the left. I think if you can locate and use the horn of your vehicle you get to drive on the road. It doesn’t matter that your horn sounds like a squeaky dog toy, as long as you have one. If something – a dog, a person, another car or a cow for example – is in your way, beep at them. If you are about to perform an odd manoeuvre, beep. If nothing else is on the road, beep anyway. Try not to drive faster than 20mph.
It was a long day of travelling. I had now crossed 13 time zones in less than a week, I don’t recommend it! I have no idea what’s going on…no idea of the day or the time. My body is completely confused.
I feel anxious about what is to come, will the PCT have helped me or will I be completely exhausted from it? Will I be ok with the altitude or will I have to turn back? Will I be warm enough? Will I get sick?
Well, I’m about to find out…