Much Ado About Nothing
Our flight to Kathmandu was scheduled to leave at 11:55, so we left for the airport at 10:00. Raju met us at the hotel with a driver. But, before we got to the airport, Raju had to stop at the travel office for some reason and then we had to get gas just outside of town. This was a bit annoying because we were worried the flight was overbooked and wanted to get to the airport early because we have heard horror stories about not making the flight because your seat was given away. Little did we know how unnecessary our concern was.
We checked into our flight with no problem, and then sat in the little airport waiting room – for two more hours. At around 12:15, they opened the doors for the security check and we all lined up to go in. And we stood in line for a good half hour as they were only letting through two people at a time every few minutes. When we finally got through, it was to get our boarding passes stamped again and to identify our luggage.
Then we stood in line again for another 45 minutes. And – again – they let through two people at a time to have our carry-on bags hand-searched. We also had to pass our carry-ons through the X-Ray machine and pass through a hand-held metal detector check.
Finally, we made it into the waiting area at the gate. By this time, it was 1:30. I noticed that a guard was taking people outside one by one, so I went up to him to see what more we needed to do. It turns out that we had to identify our luggage again, so he took me out and around the corner. I ID’ed our luggage, but one of the ID tags on our bags had fallen off so I had to wait for the airline agents to get another tag. While I waited, I sat on one of the bags and chatted with the agent who was helping me. He was very friendly, and wants to visit DC next year because he has “relations” there.
I went back inside and we all waited for the plane to arrive and board. Finally, at about 3:00, they started boarding the flight. This, however, required waiting in line again for another hand-search through the carry-ons and another hand-held metal detector check. As we were standing and standing and standing in line I said to Jon, “Why are we waiting just to sit on the plane while all these other people get checked? Why not just be the last people in line and we can sit for a while longer?” He didn’t really like this idea, but I was tired of standing. So I told him I would see him on the plane and sat back down until I was one of the last 3 people in the waiting room and the guards made us all get in line. But I passed through the security check in 5 minutes, got on the plane, and we took off 10 minutes later!
The flight was 45 minutes, and we cruised through customs because we already had our visas. We shared a taxi to the Thamel area of town with a nice couple from Argentina who were very happy to leave India. Kathmandu is much, much cleaner than India and already we can feel ourselves relaxing. We checked into our hotel – the Kathmandu Prince – which is cute and very clean. We relaxed for a little while and then went exploring.
Kathmandu is wonderful! We think it’s much like what a ski resort would look like during the summer – only much less up-scale. There are many “trekking” stores with sleeping bags, hiking books, coats, etc, and Jon and I are looking forward to getting some new Tevas. We also stopped into a book store to find some Lonely Planets for the next few countries of our trip.
Dinner was at a precious Thai restaurant called Ying Yang. We ate outside at a wrought-iron table beneath trees with little lights strung all over them. There was a CD store across the way playing some pleasant music and – for the first time in weeks – we had a beer! We were SO happy. Dinner was delicious and the staff was very, very nice. Nomaste!
After dinner, we went to the Pheasant Lodge to find the couple from Argentina because they gave us too much money for the taxi ride today. They weren’t there, but a precious little puppy dog was so we played with it for a while and then were on our way. We walked around for a little while longer and then went back to our hotel.
There are no street lights around the narrow little streets, so it’s understandable how we got lost. We weren’t terribly, terribly lost, but we definitely weren’t on the right road. But we ducked into an Internet Cafe to get our bearings and then found our way back again.