Before I left for my travels most of you who know me shared your concern for my safety – not really because of my narcolepsy or the fact that I am a solo female traveller but more because I am ‘Grace’. I will be the first to admit that I have a long history of finding myself in one predicament or another.
To get to the point on 28th November I arrive in Delhi airport to get my flight to Kathmandu on time with my passport, tickets, accommodation and pick up from airport organised…..what else did I need…ah yes money, at the very least 100 quid for my visa fee! All I had was a misley 300 indian rupees due to misplacing my wallet and not being able to find a western union to draw money out of. I was fully aware of this on route to the airport but was hoping for some miracle.
Despite the mess I was in I was keeping it together…this didn’t last though after I was repeatedly informed that I should not get on the flight because I would be deported back to India if unable to pay the Nepalese visa fee. This sent me over the edge and soon the tears piled in – I could not stop them – although to be fair I didn’t try to or care what I looked like. Most of the airport was looking at me but this was no different to the last 3 months.
I was still holding out for a little miracle and headed through to security. Once in the departure land I felt surprisingly calm and with the incredible views of the mountain I nearly forgot about my visa issue. I was lucky to get a window seat despite my late check in….I have a feeling that the lady at the counter arranged this for me as she seemed quite concerned.
Lucky for me a miracle did happen in the form of a ginger scott named Greg who kindly paid for my visa (only a 100 dollars eh). For the millionth time….Thanks!!
As you can imagine I was pretty damn happy to be in Kathmandu and to meet Susma and Hari from Wahoe Nepal, a newly formed NGO in Nepal.
My role was to support the team with administration tasks such as promoting the charity on social media and planning for future volunteers.
In return I stayed in their apartment where the main office was based for a week which allowed me to spend the rest of my week exploring the many streets of the main backpacker area of Thamel and main sights in Kathmandu.
My favourite place was the Boudhanath Stupa, the largest stupa in Nepal and the holiest Tibetan Buddhist temple outside Tibet. It is the center of Tibetan culture in Kathmandu and rich in Buddhist symbolism. Surrounding the Stupa are streets and narrow alleys lined with colorful homes, Tibetan Buddhist monasteries, and street vendors. I could have easily stayed here all day.
Pashupatinath is a Hindu temple on the banks of the Bagmati River in Deopatan, a village 3 km northwest of Kathmandu. It is dedicated to a manifestation of Shiva called Pashupati (Lord of Animals). It attracts thousands of pilgrims each year and has become well known far beyond the Kathmandu Valley.
The temple is barred to non-Hindus, but I was allowed to walk around the grounds on the banks of the Bagmati River where Hindu cremations were taking place. I was fine watching this from a distance but my guide insisted that I had a closer look. A guide informed me that most Hindus come here to contemplate life and how they enter and leave this world with nothing. He thought of it as a peaceful place excellent for meditation.
Swayambhunath is an ancient religious complex atop a hill in the Kathmandu Valley, west of Kathmandu city.
It is also known as the Monkey Temple as there are holy monkeys living in the north-west parts of the temple.
These monkeys scared the life out of me….they were everywhere!!!
I had a great week in Kathmandu but I must admit the highlight of my week was meeting up with Mr Langley and his lively cohort. His visit was short and sweet but we had a great evening eating, drinking and dancing the night away.
After a week the smog was really getting to me – sadly in Kathmandu the pollution is so severe that the mountains can no longer be seen. I was dying to see the mountains, so off to Pokhara I head!!