As I write this post I have been sitting in a traffic jam for the past hour on the outskirts of Kathmandu, the trucks and scooters that pass from the opposite direction seem to honk their horns now in mocking tones and the local store vendors have taken to the dusty, dry roads to make a profit from the unfavourable situation. But I have no appetite for yet more packaged fat with questionable sell by dates, I am craving fresh fruit, and it’s striking me how for granted we take our year around supply of fresh produce.
The vast diversity of the two cultures is again clear as the locals and domestic tourists sit patiently for the next 20 metre push. This is life, simply out of our hands, reminding us plans are just that, just an intention behind a thought, not a guarantee the intention will become an action.
Today takes us away from Chitwan back towards Kathmandu and the valley beyond, up to Nargakot to watch the sun rise, I’m ready for Kathmandu now. Ready to fall in love with its insanity, unapologetic colours and eccentric people. I’m even willing to forgive the horns and give them another chance… Maybe.
Kathmandu lays splayed out before me in all its multi-coloured glory, dull whites, greys and browns disguise the intricately bright temples I know lay inside this vast city tucked amongst the hills of the Himalayas. I’m excited by the anticipation of arrival, knowing it won’t be long till I leave this madness for the craziness of Delhi and the welcoming of familiar faces from home.
Around 4 hours have passed and we’re still here, not yet passed into central Kathmandu.
News has spread India have restricted petrol to Nepal, this becomes clear as we near every petrol station and the traffic comes to a mind numbing halt and then relents to a slow but continuous pace as we push past. The result is pure mayhem, miles of unrelenting traffic and impatient truck drivers ensued, gone is the calmness of the queue on the outskirts and I am once again drowning in the language of Kathmandu traffic.
Kathmandu has since welcomed me back into its’ arms with all the grace of a bull in a china shop. Fuel embargos have caused disruption and chaos, but the days have also welcomed new friends and new potential travel plans with old travel buddies, as well as coffee, lots of coffee.
The streets are somewhat quieter as fuel shortages have deterred scooters and cars off the road and consequentially have treated me to a quieter Kathmandu. Sure enough as promised I’ve fallen for this hectic city and it’s beautiful streets. I haven’t managed to get to Nargokot perhaps that sunrise will just have to wait for another time I guess.
Political tensions running high though I’ve received multiple messages questioning my safety, but fear not(!) I’m safe and still on track to leave Nepal in the next few days. My first month hasn’t felt so ‘solo’, I’ve been lucky enough to have met some amazing people, but as a female traveller my confidence is building. I can do this, I’m sure of it. My friend said the other day she doesn’t yet have her ticket home, neither do I. At this point I don’t want one.