|Arriving in Kathmandu, the areal view was spectacular squarish buildings spread all over as far as the eyes can see.|
We were the earliest to explore life in Kathmandu. Many of us were strangers met on an adventure that bonded us together. I knew half of the team and getting to know another half. It's a challenge and a long process, I would say. In regardless of our diverse age, background and character, thank God, we survived the trip and got on really well together.
17th February 2015 (Tuesday):
7.15am: Meeting Awang in KL Sentral and together we took a ride on an ERL Express to KLIA2. My first time via ERL. Very stress-free, enjoyable, super fast ride. 33 minutes @ RM35/pax. Thumbs up ERL!
7.45am: Arrived KLIA2 very early as we planned to have breakfast after luggage drop off. We've checked-in earlier via the web. Saved a lot of time this way.
8.00am: Managed to be the first to check-in luggage and saw Mahfiz and his gang from afar. It took them awhile longer than us to drop off because of weird Air Asia staff on duty said that the counter was still closed. Funny, ha. Well... it's luck :)
9.30am: Breakfast at LG, KLIA2 the cheapest meal, i.e. Mamak Restaurant.
10.30am: Went in boarding hall and waited patiently for our flight call.
11.20am: Boarded the plane with heart full of anticipation and happy song. Lalala,,,
11.50am: Very on time. Excellent! Nepal here I come....
Kathmandu, I Love U
|Day 1 & 2 in Kathmandu|
We arrived in Kathmandu at approximately 2.00pm Nepali time. Nepal Standard Time is at UTC+5:45. The difference with Malaysian time is +2,15, i.e. Malaysia is ahead by 2 hours and 15 minutes. Forget about time zone, measuring by hours alone, it was about 4½-hour journey. Okay, I got rid of my own confusion there, I guess.
It was fascinating when we were almost reaching the city of Kathmandu, we saw the Himalayas Mountain Range summits reaching out above the clouds. I could not tell which one was Mount Everest. The mountain range was magnificent. It blended with the cloud and all was white as it was covered with snow. February was still winter time in Nepal, so it was snow covered peaks.
As my feet touched the airport tarmac, I could feel the cool weather. It was so breezy. The temperature was at an average of 21-25°C daytime and 4-5°C at night. I love it!
A little summary about this city of wonder, Kathmandu sits at the elevation of 1,400m above sea level (Kuala Lumpur, my city, is only at 21.95m. Hahaha!). It is the capital of Nepal that has a population of less than a mllion (Kuala Lumpur almost 2 million). Kathmandu's economy is agricultural, industrial, commercial and tourism based.
Back to my get to know Kathmandu and the rest of our travelling mates, 11 of us checked in at a hotel in Thamel Street, the heart of activities. Lots to do, i.e. outdoor shops, clothings, souvenirs, money changers and restaurants. The hotel was not great in terms of looks but it offered good services, i.e. hot shower, breakfast and free Wifi in the room. The room rate was dirt cheap, at USD10 or around RM40+ per twin sharing with breakfast. For myself, it was sufficient enough, because of the warm and friendly staffs, free Wifi and warm shower. Hahaha!
18th February 2015 (Wednesday)
6.30am: I knocked on Awang's door to go out and explore Thamel Street. My NX Mini, Samsung smart camera was at hand. We took lots of selfie around the hotel area. We went out to the street and had our first taste of Nepali food. Nepali authentic Breakfast. Yummy! It's vegetarian. A capati base, smeared with eggs, vege and pepper. That was all and it tasted wonderful. NPL200/pc or about RM7.30. I reserved my comments coz it's delicious and Awang took video on how to make it.
7.00am: We realised everyone was on the rooftop. So we went up and enjoyed selfies of sunrise and building blocks as background. Great view though Kathmandu was really a dusty city at the time of our travel.
8.30am: We had our hotel breakfast, i.e. Bread, scramble egg, butter, jam and a banana.
9.30am: Went out shopping spree in Thamel Street, went to Mahfiz friend's outdoor shop as we need to get equipped for our trekking to Pokhara the next day. It was too early, his friend was not present. We planned to find a street cafe to have coffee and observe the street live, instead we walked too far, we ended up scouting the whole Thamel area up till afternoon. I bought a few things along the way. It was fun time together-gether (ignore this).
2.00pm: Lunch at an Arab Restaurant, namely Al-Madina Halal Foods. Everyone should try Chicken Palak with Naan Bread and Buffalo Milk Tea. Awesome!
3.00pm onwards: Awaiting another five members arriving via MAS and Malindo airlines. It's free and easy activities for everyone. Photographer's group went taking photos of sunset at a Buddhist temple known as Monkey Temple, a Unesco World Heritage Site. I passed out in my room. Lalala...
Dinner was late again in Al-Madina Halal Food. It was raining ice cold! And it rained real ice, folks! The phenomena was called Hailstorm (freezing rain) and it's common in Kathmandu, our guide Mr. Ganesh explained.
Eating & Getting Along
|A collage of our get together activities on 1st & 2nd day. Getting to know and get to use to everyone's character activities killing-two-birds-with one stone style, I would say.|
Eating is the best way to bring people together. That's why the Chinese had Chinese New Year reunion dinner on the eve of the their New Year. It brought people closer together without having to put an effort. So that's what we did. We ate and we get to know. The cold weather made us constantly hungry. So eating was like a big portion all the time. I never ate so much rice in one particular meal at a time but it Nepal, it happened so easily. Phewww...
It's not really difficult to eat in Nepal because if you can't find halal food for the Muslims, they can always eat a vegetarian meal. Most Hindus are vegetarians. I am so okay with vegetarian food. Nepali foods are almost the same as Indian's. However, they have their authentic delicacies as well. They have their famous Dhal Bhat and Momo.
Dhal Bhat is a rice set ate with lentil soup (dhal soup) and basic veggies. It's Nepali traditional meal. While momo is like a chinese dumpling with fillings inside. It could be meat or vegetables. And a spicy sauce for dipping.
|Dhal Bhat buffet style. It's like a banana leaf meal set, actually but here we had it buffet style so we put whatever we like. I poured the Dhal Soup on top of my rice. I like it that way.|
|Buffola filled Momo (in an Arab Shop, Pokhara). Awang didn't like buffalo meat.|
Never go on trips with anyone you do not love.
Well there goes the saying. In regardless of our meeting new people, making new friends in a foreign land, it wouldn't be the same if not sharing it with your own true friends. I am blessed to embark on this journey with my top of the list best friends in outdoor, Awang and Mahfiz. Yes! This is the lesson I learned a long time ago. Travel with the people who know you best. They'll keep you company, make you feel comfortable and share your memorable moments.
Friends can help each other. A true friend is someone who lets you have total freedom to be yourself - and especially to feel. Or, not feel. Whatever you happen to be feeling at the moment is fine with them. That's what real love amounts to - letting a person be what he really is.
That's all about Kathmandu day 1 and 2; through my eyes and am writing it with my own sentiment. All photos belong to me as I find it a tedious effort to search and give credit to photos that belong to some else. Not everyone was captured here. My bad. Will try harder to capture everyone in my next posting about Pokhara Trekking. Stay tune!