Kathmandu at last

We rose early to make sure we got to the airport on time, but it turned out that this wasn’t necessary. The staff downstairs had already sorted us out a taxi and it wasn’t leaving until 9:30. Our 11:40 flight had turned into a 12:15 one as well. As a bonus, they’d also found two more people to share our taxi, which meant the fare had halved. Good stuff.

After shaking hands with a load of local kids and getting some pics of a ludicrously cute baby, we made the short drive to the airport. A parade of ambulances screamed past us and tried to box us in at one point. Reading a newspaper later, I think they were protesting at several of their staff members and vehicles being attacked by other protesters in the current “strike”. Madness.

The airport was a tiny affair, but the staff were as helpful as everyone else we’ve met so far in Nepal. I was ushered into a back room to pay for my flight ticket on Visa using a manual swipe machine that was still stored in the cardboard packing carton from when it had been mailed to the airline. Shiny new!

We then found out that we had to pay departure tax of 170NRP per person. This was when we were very relieved that the taxi fare had been reduced, otherwise we’d have been stuffed!

Walking through security was a little different to the norm. Males and females had separate curtained alcoves to go into to be searched, which seemed pointless as they only went through our bags anyway. We sat for quite some time in the waiting room as our flight was around 90 minutes late.

Finally, our Buddha Air plane landed, emptied and sat waiting for us. This was the smallest plane I think I’ve ever been on (possibly one from Bradford to Aberdeen was the same size) – 18 seats. I was sat next to a mother with another stupidly cute Nepalese child, which kept me amused for a lot of the short flight.

On landing, we were off the plane and reunited with our luggage inside of ten minutes. Within another twenty or so, our taxi got us to the Kathmandu Guest House.

This is a lovely place and I’d definitely recommend it to anyone visiting. More like a hotel than a guest house, it includes all the facilities you’d expect. It also has a greater variety of rooms and prices than anywhere else I’ve ever seen.

We dumped our bags and took a walk. I checked out flight prices to Perth (via Hong Kong… tempting) and then got lunch at a random restaurant. We knew the food would be fresh when the staff walked to the shops to buy the ingredients after we ordered. My peppered steak was simply gorgeous.

Back at the hotel, we met up with Caroline who’d been in the room next to us in Palolem. Lovely to see her again! We nattered for a bit and then headed out to use the interwebnet.

25NRP per hour is the going rate (60 for the wireless at the hotel) and I spent a smidgen over three hours trying to catch up on things. I also checked alternative flights and think I’ve decided on an Air Malaysia flight via KL. It’s cheaper than the HK one and gets in to Perth at a more reasonable hour. The Cathay one via HK is still an option, though, as I can stop over in HK and I’ve not been there before! I’ll decide tomorrow depending on availability.

The other choice is when to fly. If I leave tomorrow, then I don’t need to extent my 3-day transit visa. If I leave any later then I have to cough up $30 for that. Decision time in the morning!

Dinner was guzzled at a rooftop restaurant and was also superb. The food here is as good as Goa and similarly priced.

Then back to our hotel and bed for the night. Tomorrow could be the last of my short trip to Nepal!

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