Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Go somewhere, get drunk and dance.



Arrival at Tribhuvan airport, with 3 glasses of wine under my belt was great.


I also benefited from the opposing side to my wife’s behaviour which is this – she is rubbish at actually leaving, but extraordinarily good at organising paperwork, so while others were humphing and complaining about having to have  passport photos and a visa filled out, WE had it all, gently nestled in a plastic folder marked ‘Nepal’.

This meant that without lengthy discussion and without appearing like deer stuck in headlights looking for the best place to get a last minute passport photo, we sailed through immigration.
My pre-flight seething diminished to sub intrusional levels as I gladly handed over the 50 bucks for both our visas and then ventured into the arrivals hall.

Well, arrivals corridor – happily devoid of anything that could be considered duty free.
Heavily populated by taxi/trek/taxi touts.

Mrs Now-back-in-the-good-books had sent a late email to the owner of the guest house we were to stay at, asking whether  he could organise a ride, unfortunately we missed his return email, so paid what turns out to be extortionate money to travel from the airport to the Thamel district of Katmandu.

Tip for young players… if you haven’t organised with your accommodation to pick you up DO NOT use the official looking taxi booking bars in the exit corridor (first one on the left, the other further on the right), you’ll get fiscally raped.

I nodded at the cheerful guy who was so happy to help, and he led us from the taxi bar, out of the airport, and then started touting for a cab to take us to Thamel.

Essentially we paid double just so he could escort us out of the terminal.

If you have no prior arrangements, just say no politely, and walk out the front, and into a sea of cabs, who will take you to wherever the hell you wish to go (within Kathmandu) for about 300 Rupee. Just make sure you secure the price first, and don’t hand your bags to anyone before you have fixed that price.

They’ll take you to other places too, just talk about price before you get in.

I tried to blank out the constant stream of offers my new taxi-bar-tout friend was offering, thus consolidating my concern that we had paid waaay too much, as after the taxi dropped us off, it would be driving taxi-rapist back to the airport, where he would again accost someone without concern for lubrication.

Gladly out of the cab, and holding my mirth in check as taxi guy asked us for a tip, we walked up the stairs to the fabulous Elbrus Home hostel.

It’s a simple place, no fuss, and not 5 star (nor does it claim to be), but the rooms lock, the rain doesn’t get in (it can rain a lot in Nepal) and most importantly the staff are super friendly.

Khem (the host) allowed us to get comfortable AFTER making sure that we had been fed some fine Kathmandu beer that we gratefully guzzled on the terrace.

He then took us to a bar around the corner where we proceeded to imbibe in MORE local beer and, while inebriated, dance with a bunch of local folk.

I knew we were in for a significant bill when, late in the evening a waiter came over and (as Khem later translated) showed concern that we would not be able to pay the bill.

We had imbibed in about 1000 beers at this point, and much nodding ensued to calm the guy and then persuading him into getting us another beer.

Fun night – cost us a (comparative) packet, primarily because I think we paid for a song, and some company along the way… but fun nonetheless.

Just let Khem know what your perceived expenditure limit is for getting trolleyed before you stride down the stairs, also be prepared to have fun.

In true Australian fashion we stayed until closing, and were really grateful that the hostel was just around the corner. Mrs-now-a-tad-trashed and yours very drunkenly staggered up the  flights of stairs and fell face first into our bed.

One of us (I’ll give you a clue: NOT the one typing this) had to put her foot on the floor in an attempt to stop the room spinning (a tried and true method, try it sometime if you have need) and as a result had to endure much rubbishing from the glassy eyed one next to her.

Neither of us had any humour the following morning as we grumbled out to the terrace for breakfast.
Sunglasses firmly clamped to our heads.
Breakfast on this terrace - pretty, but brutal with a hangover...

Breakfast was simple, but cooked fresh and really tasty, I highly recommend the porridge with banana.
Just what the hangover gods ordered, so that we could steel ourselves for the day ahead.

We had nothing planned, other than our favourite pastime – get lost in a new city.




2 comments:

  1. Awesome sounds like you guys had a blast of a first night :-)

    ReplyDelete

Andrew Webber is a writer, living in Abu Dhabi with his wife, two cats and two dogs.

His first book "Erasure"was published in June 2012 and was followed in 2013 by the Prequel to Erasure "Broken".

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