Don’t tell anyone this!
The flight to Mumbia passed comfortably probably helped by the fact that I had two seats to myself. I read a very interesting book called “Why are we the good guys” by David Cromwell and spent a couple of hours reading up on Apis cerana. Both books were on my Kindle. Just perch the Kindle on your drop down tray and sit back. I had to close the window shutter but I could read comfortably with the lights on or with the lights off. The stop-over in Mumbai was seriously tedious. There were no money changing facilities in the main shopping mall but the bar and the Costa coffee café that I tried kindly offered to take payment in sterling but gave change in rupees. The exchange rate was I fancy fairly generous to the traders. The flight to Kathmandu was about 3 hours in duration and the check in and baggage collection was pretty quick. Santos a young computer technician met me at KMD airport and twenty minutes later I was crashed out in my accommodation for the rest of the afternoon and night. At about 02:00 am I was woken by screams from nearby I grabbed my phone, as you do, and rushed out onto the balcony. There dimly lit but unmistakably was a knackers yard and the shrieks were coming from pigs being slaughtered for customers celebrating Dashain, later that day. The somewhat disturbing noises continued but I managed to block them out and resume my stupor. KMD is vibrant, full of interest and surprises but if your elderly or athsmatic, and I qualify on both those counts, don’t go there without a dust mask. At certain times and in certain locations the air is full of dust and exhaust fumes, the buses wouldn’t make more smoke if they were steam driven.
Now don’t tell anyone this! I managed about 12 hours sleep in total before being “brought round” by my phone alarm which I’d set for 07:00am. After a quick cold shower, I’m currently managing about 20 secs directly under the spray head, I walked off toward the local shops to see if I could find someone to trim the SIM card I’d been given by Santos, so that I’d be able to use my phone. All those that could have helped me were closed for the Dashain celebrations. I decided to return to my lodgings to see if Santos, who lived in the same house, could suggest something. Inevitably, you’d see what I mean if you’ve ever been to this part of KMD, I got lost! I wandered around aimlessly, gradually becoming less and less confident, that I would eventually find my lodgings. About half an hour passed. I don’t speak the language. I don’t know where I am, other than somewhere in KMD. My mobile isn’t working and I am embarrassed to admit, I don’t know the address of my lodgings! Many of the shopkeepers in KMD sit outside the open front of their premises chatting to customers and in my pathetic perambulations, I passed some of them several times. I smiled, in what I hoped was a non-committal way, at their increasingly curious glances each time our eyes met. My wanderings had taken me past a little café 2 or 3 times when one of the customers, playing cards at a table near the road, called out. “are you lost?” I nodded. He said he’d direct me and asked my address. Sheepishly I admitted ignorance but told him I had the phone number of a lad who lived in the same building. He promptly produced his phone and dialled-up Santos. He told Santos the name of the café to identify our location and Santos said “turn round and you’ll see me waving from the balcony”!! I walked the twenty metres or so to our front gate and was greeted by a beaming Santos. I immediately swore him to silence, which only produced an even bigger smile. Next day Santos put me in a Taxi and accompanied us to the domestic airport for a flight to Pokhara. He saw me off at the check-in gate with the smiling admonition “have a good time Baje and don’t get lost”.
My next blog will be on Phokara