NepalRound The World Trip

Nepal: Kathmandu

Today was our last day in Kathmandu, and we had a huge amount of stuff (excess clothes and XMas gifts) to mail home.  We headed into Thamel to go to one of the Export Offices which could mail our stuff.  On our way there, we passed a store into which we had glanced before.

Gurkhas Khurkuri House

The Gurkhas Khurkuri House ( sells Gurkhas Knives, which are traditionally used by Nepal Gurkhas in addition to being used by local Nepalis.  The knives are big, beautiful handcrafted knives with sheaths made from leather, yak leather, bone, or silver.  And the blades themselves are often carved with lovely designs.  Jon, who really hasn’t bought himself a Jon-specific souvenir, decided it was time.  So we went in, looked around, chatted with the owner, and Jon chose a lovely large knife with a yak leather sheath.

When Jon asked about shipping, the owner (Rajendra Deuja) said that he can arrange it through one of the local exporters.  So then we realized that we can ship everything through him – including the 10 kilos of stuff we had in our backpacks!  Rajendra made some phone calls, and his son brought out a large scale, and we piled our stuff bit by bit onto the scale to weigh it all.  After a few more minutes of addressing, filling out forms, and exchanging money and business cards, we were on our way – one Gurkha Knife richer, and 10 kilos lighter!  I don’t know which made Jon more happy: getting a Gurkha Knife, or mailing all our stuff in a one-shop stop.  Either way, he was ecstatic.

Barnes and Noble Books

There’s a bookstore here called the Barnes & Noble Store which we’ve come to know very well.  It’s not the same as B&N Bookstore in US, but there really isn’t any copyright enforcement here in Kathmandu so what do they care?  They have a great selection of used books which they will also buy-back at 50% of the price.  We bought a few of them before we went to Tibet, and came back to re-sell them a few days ago.  On our last re-sell mission, we stocked up on books for China, but we were still looking for used Lonely Planets for Vietnam and Thailand.  So we made a last stop at Barnes and Noble to see if they had acquired any in the last few days.

In front of the Lonely Planet section, we met a nice French couple who told us not to buy them here – that we can get them for very cheap in Saigon.  They will probably be pirated, of course, but it’s good to know that we can still get them there for cheap.  So we’re happy for two reasons: (1) Cheap is good, and (2) We weren’t looking forward to lugging two extra Lonely Planets books around China.  They’re heavy!  But after our wild Lonely Planet goose-chase around Cairo (see July 16), we also didn’t want to run the risk that China wouldn’t have Lonely Planets before we arrive in Vietnam in October.

Lunch at Fire and Ice

As today is our last day in Kathmandu, we are having lunch and dinner at our two favorite restaurants here.  For lunch, we went to Fire and Ice and ordered some of their excellent calzones.  (We still haven’t decided if they’re better than Luigi’s in Harrisonburg.  Jon is determined to hijack one of our parents’ cars in DC and drive the two hours down there to find out.)  We finished lunch off with a chocolate soft-serve ice cream cone.  Yum!

Kathmandu Free Movie

Kathmandu has a bunch of “free movie houses” that regularly rotate their selections among each other.  We passed a place that was going to show the movie “Evolution” with Julianne Moore and David Duchovany at 3:00.  So after a little more goofing off around town we walked to the place that had the sign.  On the way there, it started to rain.  And by the time we got to the movie house, we were in a torrential downpour.  This was fine with us, because we are never without our trusty blue ponchos (which our friend Gabrielle told us in Shigatse made us look like two gnomes).

Sorry – I got distracted.  ANYWAY… we hustled back through an alleyway and into a room with a few tables and chairs.  The only requirement is that we order something while we watch the movie, so Jon ordered beer and I had a chocolate milkshake.  The movie was showing on a little television with a huge stereo sound-system that unfortunately was useless because the movie quality was so bad.  I think that someone recorded this by pointing a video camera at a television and hit “record”.  But we really didn’t care, because this was a nice way to spend a rainy afternoon.  The movie was relatively entertaining, but let’s just say that we’re glad it was free because it wasn’t that good.  Also, there were 3 other people in the room with us watching the movie.  And, although they were quiet, some of the guys who ran the joint were carrying on normal conversations in the back of the room.  But you really can’t shush someone when you’re watching a free movie.  I’m sure there are laws about that somewhere.

After the movie, we headed back to the hotel to pack up our stuff and to chill out before dinner.  Then we went back to see Surendra at Bajra Silver Crafts to get my Om charm, which was very nice.  Surendra was very excited about us having a website and insisted on writing down our email and website information before he would let us leave.  He’s such a great guy!

Dinner at Yin Yang

As I mentioned before, we’re eating at our favorite places today since it’s our last day here in Kathmandu.  So we had dinner at Yin Yang and ordered our favorite dishes.  We really can’t wait until Thailand – we just LOVE this type of food!  But then again, we said the same thing about Indian food and Jon says that he doesn’t even want to smell the stuff for at least a year.

After dinner, it was pouring rain again so we put on our blue Gnome Ponchos and headed out.  We stopped by a bakery to get donuts for tomorrow’s breakfast and some brownies for us tonight.  Then we went back to the room, ate our brownies, and went to bed.