8 Jan 18
En route Istanbul to Kathmandu
We are nearly (two hours) to Kathmandu. It’s been almost twenty-four hours of traveling with three hours’ sleep at most. I pray to be awake and present as begin our time in Nepal.
David has told us we may be able to see Everest from the left window of the plane. It just so happened that Paul and I had reserved seats there, unknowing of this perk!=)
We have arrived in Kathmandu, Shechen Guest House. It is a peaceful haven, though the rooms are chilly. We had nearly two hours to wash and rest.
The airport was an interesting, escalating experience. It seemed a very quiet airport when we landed- only two other planes at the main gate and little activity outside. Yet that lasted only until we got inside, where lines were long for visas. Once through that process, we experienced the baggage claim area, which was chaotic and posed risk of being run over with a luggage cart.
The city: dusty- every plant, tree, and surface is covered in it. There is much traffic and unlike home, there seem to be few traffic laws. On the way from the airport, we saw all this and noticed that outside storefronts and in public area, many men sat idle even though it is midday. This is something one in our group noticed and asked about, we were told there is 46% unemployment here in Nepal, which explains the visible idleness- there are simply not jobs enough to go around.
After our two hours of rest, we walked to a restaurant for dinner, where Sarala (our group leader and host from Shakti Samuha- more about her and Shakti later) ordered a sampling of Nepali food. Nepal food seems exactly what one would expect geographically- with India to the south and Tibet/China to the north, Nepali food is the perfect mix of Indian, Tibetan, and Chinese. We ate a lot of naan and daal on the trip, as well as fried rice, soup, and chow mein. This dinner was also our introduction to momo- wonderful little dumplings filled with spices and steamed vegetables or chicken or buff (water buffalo)!