Artists Impression

Artists Impression

Friday, 9 January 2009

Kathmandu Christmas

Tom: "No can do I'm afraid"
Nick: "No can do, what's that, place near Kathmandu? Meet me halfway mate."

So goes the line from Lock, Stock and two Smokin' Barrels. Needless to say when I told people I would be spending Christmas and New Year in Kathmandu they immediately repeated the name of Nepal's capital back to me, to which I replied: "yeah, place near no can do".

Perhaps understandably, nobody got it - hence I am taking this opportunity to explain my gag - you will be pleased to know however that I persevered with it throughout the festive season, perhaps to the detriment of several friendships.

You may ask how it was, and those of you who have read Kirt's blog will know two things, it was busy and we got ill. To put into perspective quite how ill we seem to have got, I am still suffering now, and Kirt only went back to work yesterday - so the lesson to be learned here is avoid the burritos. We also met up with Charlie BN who was out there, which was an added bonus as it meant we could visit the Yak & Yeti.

I do have a couple of fairly amusing stories however. First of all, for those who don't know, Kathmandu is mental. Honestly, the place is full of motorbikes(which incidentally, drive where they please - so be careful on the pavements), you can't go two seconds without someone beeping their horn or someone offering you some form of smokeable product.

That is on a normal day, on Christmas Day at about 7pm when we arrived in Thamel, the craziness was increased ten-fold. We had to stop our cab a "five minute walk" from the guest house as the roads were closed off due to all the people partying. What ensued was quite an experience. I had no money in my wallet after some chancer persuaded me to pay him for doing nothing at the airport, so was very much in the hands of our guide Nir, and his mate Billy - who at this stage appeared to speak no English.

I soon found myself battling through what can only be described as the central line in rush hour - except in the middle of the street. I was also at the back of our team of four, which I decided to rectify as quickly as possible - particularly as Kirt and the guides actually knew where they were going and I had no idea, and no money to pay anyone to show me.

This proved a very wise move as Kirt and Nir soon vanished into the abyss and I was left with Billy, who simply uttered the word: "gone" after we had waited about 10 minutes. Fortunately we found the others swiftly enough and had a great night in a few bars with some wild boar curry and Everest Beer...obviously. After a few drinks it became evident that Billy spoke considerably more English that I thought, funny he chose to demonstrate this several hours after my moment of sheer panic, I have no doubt he was chuckling to himself the whole time.

My other rather amusing episode took place the following day. As some of you will know, I was fairly bearded by the time I left these shores, and as we discovered we would be meeting some fairly important people I decided to sort my face out with a beard trim – but got a little more than I bargained for.

There’s a barbers in the hotel – which is rather convenient, so in I went. There were about five people crammed into a tiny room and after rubbing my face several times the chap got the point. So he went to work and did a generally decent job – apart from the fact that he kept pulling the scissors away before closing them fully, thus pulling out a few hairs and making my neck bleed – but I guess you just accept these things.

Anyway, it was all going rather well and just as I thought he was done I went to stand up and he pushed me back down in my seat while saying something I didn’t understand. He then began rubbing some stuff into my red-raw neck which, let’s just say, burned. He then started giving me what was, I think, supposed to be an impromptu face massage. Without wanting to go into too many details – it was hell on earth. This burn-juice was rubbed into my neck three more times and he kept pressing his hands onto my temples and squeezing. Why I am not quite sure and I fail to see why anyone would enjoy such an experience. Still, he did succeed in waking me up before the meeting, so that was good.

As for the rest of the trip, you can see from the main blog and Yak Yak Yak that we were busy. Lots of meetings, all jolly good stuff but I won’t bore you with the admin side of things. The important stuff is that we managed to check out several bars and restaurants, hang out with several of the chaps who will accompany us up the mountain and learn a few new card games. I strongly suggest everyone gets well equipped with these games, the Nepali people love cards.

The illness that got us on New Years Eve made for an interesting start to 2009, and I genuinely hope that it’s not a sign of things to come. However, since coming back things have really gone into overdrive. There’s loads of really good stuff going on, most of which is courtesy of the Lord’s Taverners, but I cannot go into too much detail here. There’s actually a whole load of other things I could blog about but am aware this is getting a bit long so will tie it off now and save my other topics for a future date…by when I would have almost certainly forgotten them.

Thank you and come again.

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