Sunday, June 16, 2013
So, the original intended post was lost in a freak Windows incident. Well! can't only blame those guys. I should have used a better editor than notepad. Anyways! I was wiser the second time. So here goes!!
This is a big year. I am planning to climb Nun, the roof of Zanskar. All the groundwork is in place. The flipside is that there is still some time; until September, to be precise, and the "get out, get going" bug just wouldn't let me BE. I figured, if I had to go out, I might as well go out and train to stay conditioned for the climb. I considered trekking in Sikkim and Uttaranchal, but with the onset of the monsoons I skipped the idea. Although the monsoons are usually severe in Nepal too, the worst months are usually July and August. That, and the fact that I’ve never been there, were reason enough for me to consider high altitude trekking in Nepal. Most companies sell the Everest Base Camp and Annapurna Circuit Treks to clients for whatever reasons. I however chose the Langtang Trek. The flights were dirt cheap and I managed to book a hotel online, who were able to get the required trekking permit (called TIMS) as well.
The flight to Kathmandu involved a horrendous 5 hour layover at New Delhi. Anyways, I made it to Kathmandu on a gloomy, rainy day. To call Tribhuvan Airport, International, would be pushing it; but it serves the purpose I suppose. Kathmandu on the other hand is a fantastic town. Narrow lanes, dirty streets, minimal infrastructure and traffic sense next to nothing; but all this seems to work FOR Kathmandu rather than against it. The town seems to have a mind of its own. Its hard to hate the town and I cannot explain why.
I spent the next couple of hours browsing in the Hotel Lobby and chatting with my trekking guide, Tilak (provided by the Hotel). Tilak didn’t speak a word of Hindi and his kind of English might make you weep tears of blood. At times during our conversation I would wonder if I was better off without him. After our chat, I headed out to explore the town. Thamel in particular. The lanes, all narrow, and all of them looked almost alike. Eateries, cafes, book shops, and shops selling trekking and mountaineering gear punctuated the town pretty well. I visited a few shops just to check the kind of stuff they had. I was not going to buy anything before returning from the trek, but I needed to have an idea of what was out there, so it would be easy to pick stuff when I was back from the trek. As it turned out, any mountaineer or serious adventurer is better off without the down clothing being sold in the thousands of shops in Kathmandu. Even other apparel like shell layers, fleece, mittens etc are all cheap knock offs. STAY AWAY FROM THESE. Hardware on the other hand is hard to imitate. So by all means, if you get a good deal; GO FOR IT. I would recommend the exclusive retail outlets of Mountain Hardwear, TNF, Salewa and Marmut all on the same street, within meters of each other.
There are two kinds of buses to wherever you need to go. There is the state run express bus (which is basic at best) and then there is the local bus (terrible). AVOID the local bus at all costs. The state run express bus, though basic, has very few stops and only lets as many passengers equal to the number of seats in the bus. On the local however, you will find people on the seats, over your shoulder, on the roof, on the footboard, on the ladder; am I missing any spot? Just avoid the local. We made it to Dhunche (our road head; there is a town further down the road called Shyafru Besi which is the actual road head to the Langtang National Park) by 1500. Because of the arduous bus ride, I didn’t eat much en route. So it was Fried Chicken Momo’s for me for lunch. Tasty stuff. After lunch, I headed out to explore Dhunche. It is a small town about 1000m long with shanty huts, shops and guest houses either side of the road. I think I had chicken fried rice for supper before hitting the sack.
The plan was to start early. But it had rained overnight. So we had to wait till the heavens showed signs of easing off. I had Tibetan Bread with omelette for breakfast. The moment the rains turned into a sort of drizzle, we headed out. Destination Thulashyafru. We traced the tarmac that leads to Shyafru Besi for an hour may be 90 minutes. This is when we reached a little village called Thulabharkhu. From here we veered off towards Thulashyafru. The first 45 minutes was a really steep trail leading to a somewhat gentle slope for the next hour or so. The trail is pretty well laid out and I suppose a guide is not really mandatory. Too bad for me I was stuck with one. The trek from Thulabharkhu to Thulashyafru was about 3 to 4 hours long with varying degrees of difficulty, mostly manageable. You will come across a few villages or hamlets all referring to themselves as a “Model Village”. We started at about 0615 in the morning and by 1200 may be 1230 we reached Thulashyafru. It’s a village alright, but definitely bigger than all the other villages en route. We stayed at the very first guest house (right at the entrance to the village). I must say, I was actually lured by the smile of a 12 year old kid called Rashmi, who worked at the guest house.
Cant remember what I had for lunch. Was it chow mein, or fried rice? Whatever it was, it was very delicious. I headed out to explore the village after lunch. The village school, which was closed due to vacations looked good. Thulashyafru offered a nice view of the route to Pairo (a little hamlet en route Lama Hotel, our next halt the following day). The village also had a lot of guest houses offering fantastic views of the hills around Thulashyafru. I believe the main profession of the people in this village is step farming and the main crop is probably potatoes and other vegetables. After lazing around the village for a few hours I returned into the restaurant belonging to the guest house where I was staying. Had mashed potatoes for dinner which is when Rashmi showed me some of her pictures. I also made acquaintance with the cook, Karma. He told me that Rashmi doesn’t go to school because she has to work in order to provide for her family. A lot of kids her age have a similar tale in this part of the world. By 2200 I retired into my room. The day to follow was supposed to be a really hectic one.
After a light breakfast, We headed out towards the suspension bridge which connects the two hills one hosting Thulashyafru and the other where a little village called Pairo is nestled. It takes about half an hour from Thulashyafru to get to the bridge. From here it is a downhill trail for about half an hour may be 45 minutes to get right down to the Langtang river. Once you hit the river bank, its back to uphill trail. Pairo is situated about 10 minutes from the river bank if you go uphill. If you go downhill along the river; that’s the way to get to Shyafrubesi. (We chose to go to Shyafru Besi on our way back instead of Dhunche- lets go uphill for now). Everytime Tilak came across a village, he would stop for Tea or some sort of refreshment. There were two hotels in Pairo and we stopped at the very first. After a 10 minute halt, we hit the trail again. After Pairo, the trail begins to get steep. It took us a couple of hours to reach another village called Bamboo (or something along those lines). The best way to hike for me is to halt for a few minutes and then get going. Unfortunately for me, Tilak didn’t share the same views. For some reason he just had to stop at each village that came our way. At Bamboo his excuse for a halt was to do lunch out there. I decided to stay in the sun for the 15 odd minutes he was in a restaurant there. Lo and behold! After 15 minutes he shows up, rubbing his tummy and a grin on his face. We hit the trail once more. Bamboo was at 1950m I think. If the route from Pairo to Bamboo was steep, it got steeper after Bamboo. In about 30 minutes we reached a tea hut situated by a bridge across the river. The sign on the bridge said “Welcome To Langtang National Park”. We had to cross the river at this point in order to get to Lama Hotel, our destination for the day. The waters were pretty turbulent at this point and the noise was deafening. I just had to halt for some snaps here. About 30 minutes from the bridge we reached another tea hut. The owner had an interesting way of cooling his beverages; he had placed all his drinks in a stream, so they were perpetually cold. This technique seemed to work since the the Sprite that I ordered was nice and cold. After the refreshing drink, it was one final brisk uphill hike for about 45 minutes or so. We crossed another village en route before reaching Lama Hotel. Its right at the entrance to the village, and another little girl named Chomo (I think the owners daughter) invited us to stay at their place. The hotel looked neat so I was glad to retire at Lama Hotel for the day.
I checked the menu, and there was no fowl or meat on it. Tilak explained that since they were Tibetans they respected all life forms. Another explanation was that higher up on the mountains, shedding blood of ‘innocent’ animals was not considered good. This explanation to me sounded especially ludicrous, when I saw some dried brown stuff hanging over the fire place. When I enquired about it, Chomo told me that it was Buff meat (I presume Yak meat – since I never saw Buffaloes or any cattle for that matter beyond Dhunche). So I reasoned, that Tibetans loved all life forms “on paper”, so they wouldn’t offer meat on menu, but it is there to be had none the less. You Just have to look over the fireplace for some dried meat. Anyways, since I was starving, I didn’t want to waste much time. I asked Chomo’s dad to wash the meat, and prepare some Spicy Buff Thukpa. It was delicious. After the meal I had a nice shower and headed out to explore the village. The village is about 200 meters in length and never more than 100 meters broad. There were a number of guest houses and apparently the village folk loved playing cards. Of course, the off season didn’t help much either. The river was just a 100 or so meters from the village on the right. I was not going to miss being so close to the river. It was actually a confluence where a waterfall was meeting with the Langtang River. Terrific place for some snaps. While I was busy taking pictures, I met with a couple of Afghan university professors. They taught Hydrology and were on their way back from Kyangin. They had tried in vain to locate the Langtang glacier. I didn’t see why it should be so difficult. You just have to track the river to its source. I presumed they had only a few days and just gave up, since they were running out of time.
After about an hour or so by the river, I returned to the guest house. There was a dutch guy who was staying at the same hotel. He seemed really keen and in no time we struck a conversation. We shared anecdotes and spoke about cars, bikes, women, yoga, mountaineering, politics, army etc etc. Somewhere between during our conversation we managed supper as well. Dal bhat for the dutch guy and beef (or was it buff) fried rice for me. Our conversation continued from the Garden (where we had supper), to the Kitchen, to the dining room (where he had a couple of beers). At 11, we decided to hit the sack. The dutch guy was heading back to Shyafru Besi, but for us it was a long arduous trek to Langtang village the following day, and I’d like to start early.
An early breakfast, is almost ritualistic for me. Start out early and get done with the days work as soon as is possible is my way to do stuff on the trail. Today was no different. An omelette wrapped with Tibetan bread was tasty. We said our goodbyes to the folks at Lama Hotel and hit the trail. Lama Hotel was at 2400m or so. Langtang was supposedly at 3400m. So we would be gaining almost 1000m today, which was exciting.The gradient was ok to begin with, but slowly got steeper. We reached a little place called Riverside (2720m) in about an hour. Hung around for a few minutes before setting off again. Another hour or so, and we reached a place called Ghoda Tabela (2950m). There were a couple of guest houses here and even a police check point. We got our TIMS cards checked and proceeded onwards. Langtang village was visible from Ghoda Tabela and it was encouraging, since we had gained about 550m today with just about 400+ more to go. We halted midway between Ghoda Tabela and Langtang village at a guest house in a small hamlet to have Lunch. I met with a local casual labour who was sporting traditional Nepali apparel and even had a long Khukri. I couldn’t resist the Khukri. I politely asked him if I could meddle with his weapon, and he was pretty cool about it. I spent a few minutes feeling and snapping the khukri. It’s a fantastic weapon. Well! At least to me. After lunch, we hiked for about an hour to reach Langtang village. Just short of Langtang, we ran into an Italian couple who were travelling with us from Kathmandu. Tilak met with them and exchanged greetings.
We stayed at a guest house which offered good views of the mountains in front of us. I dumped my sack in my room and headed out into the village. I found Tilak chatting with a lady in the village and made acquaintance with her too. The two of us then climbed to a local view point which was about 200m higher than the village itself and offered excellent views of the Langtang Village to our right and Kyangin to our left in the remote distance. We raced back to the village and while Tilak was comfortable next to the fireplace in the kitchen, I preferred the quiet in the dining room. Incidentally the Italian couple were staying at the same hotel. I had chicken fried rice for dinner and retired to my room at about 8. It was pretty cold that night. I think I slept around 11.
As per the itinerary, we were supposed to hike to Kyangin and halt there. I decided against moving to Kyangin. Since the idea behind this trek was to shape up for the expedition in September, I planned a trail run/fast hike to Kyangin and then return to Langtang. At the viewpoint the previous evening, Tilak had told me that Kyangin was three or so hours away from Langtang village. So Tilak and I set off towards Kyangin at about 7 in the morning; obviously, minus the sack. I only took my day pack, with some glucose and a rainjacket. About 10 minutes into the trek, He had to make a stop; you know why. I just kept going, alternating between running on level stretches to brisk hikes on inclined terrain. Because it was the onset of monsoons here, the conditions were pretty overcast since morning, and a lot of trekkers (who were probably boarding somewhere in Kyangin all these days) were on their way back towards the road head. There were a few tea huts spaced nicely between Langtang and Kyangin and the people living there seemed pretty intrigued by my approach to the trail. In about 70 minutes since we set off from Langtang, I met an aged local who was crossing a bridge. I inquired of Kyangin and he pointed in a certain direction, which was pretty much the only way that was marked out, and to me it seemed like even he was going to trace the same path. I asked him, how long, assuming he would say an hour or two hours. To my surprise (a pleasant surprise) he said, 5 minutes. I repeated my question,”NO! Kyangin Gompa? How long?”. And he repeated his response,”5 minutes.” And this time he even showed me his right hand with all 5 fingers pointing skywards. He must have thought that I am an idiot. So I smiled at him and thanked him and kept running. 70 – 75 minutes as opposed to the three + that Tilak suggested last night; was pretty good I thought. My GPS was showing Kyangin at an altitude of 3700m. While I was relishing my much deserved drink, Tilak showed up as well. His first question was, why didn’t I wait for him. I could only smile at him. We saw the cheese factory in Kyangin. They process Yak cheese there. Tilak told me that cheese from here is sold all over Nepal. I strolled around the village. It was just as big as Langtang and everybody seemed pretty busy. It was just past 8 and I had the whole day to myself. Returning to Langtang so soon seemed like a stupid idea to me.
Kyangin Ri (A view point) was to our left. So without wasting much time, I set off and Tilak followed me as well. The weather was pretty overcast, so we were not expecting brilliant views, but we kept going. We were gaining altitude pretty fast which was not surprising since we didn’t have our rucksacks, and it was getting pretty nippy as well. I would keep checking the altimeter from time to time. In about 45 minutes we were at 4300m and the village was not visible anymore. We kept moving swiftly and probably hiked for 45 more minutes, when it started drizzling. The GPS was reading 5050m and we could see the top of Kyangin Ri (may be 15 minutes further). But with the precipitation getting heavier and overcast conditions, it didn’t make sense to hike further. I reasoned, that if we are not going to get a view, then why go to the view point? So we returned from there and were back at Kyangin by noon. We had lunch at Kyangin; Egg friend rice, a scrumptious affair. Just when we were about to leave, I met with that Italian couple again. They had hiked the whole day from Langtang until Kyangin and were planning to stay where we had lunch. They inquired about the view point; I gave them the directions to the top and said goodbye before leaving. We made it back to Langtang in a couple of hours. It was a pretty good day for me. Running to Kyangin, hike to Kyangin Ri and back to Langtang via Kyangin, an overall height gain of 1500+ meters, all in about 7 hours. Good stuff, I suppose. On returning to the guest house, I retired into the dining room and was just relaxing. The ladies in the house a couple of who were nursing their infants started a conversation with me, which mostly revolved around India, the Indian language, its people and a few personal questions from time to time. They were also pretty fascinated by Indian women and were astonished by the fact that I am still unmarried at my age; I wonder why? Sometime during the conversation, my supper was served; hot beef fried rice with loads of chilly sauce. After the early supper, I took leave from the ladies.
I was all packed up and ready to go by 0630. Tilak had other plans. For some reason he wanted to leave by 0800. I rubbished the idea and insisted that we leave not later than 0700. Just when I was strapping my sack, the girl who worked as a cook at the guest house told the people there that she was not feeling too good. She had been throwing up since last night and was in a lot of pain at the moment. It was good that we didn’t leave earlier, since I had the medicines for her ailments. I gave them the medicines and just when I was about to leave, the folks at the guest house requested that we escort a little girl named Sayni to Lama Hotel. It wasn’t a big deal, and I was thrilled at the idea, since for a change I would have some company that was prettier (and as I would find out in due course, ‘chirpier’) than Mr. Tilak. Sayni had a propensity to speak non stop; she knew everyone on the trail and she made sure that everyone knew where she was going, ie to Chomo Didi’s place (Didi means Sister and Chomo is the girl from Lama Hotel) in Lama Hotel. From time to time, I would ask her something in English (I very well knew that she doesn’t speak English) and she would respond in Nepali (she very well knew that I didn’t speak Nepali). It was funny. We made a short halt at Ghoda Tabela. While the police were making entries, I offered some nuts to Sayni and we continued hiking towards Lama Hotel. It took us about 4 hours to get to Lama Hotel. Sayni was hoping that we would stay at the Hotel that night. I had other plans. It was just noon now. I was hoping to trek further until Pairo after lunch. That way we would have to trek only for about two hours the following day. Sayni was not exactly thrilled at my plan, but managed to serve me some food with a smile none the less. After lunch, I shook her little hands and continued hiking towards Pairo. I was there by 1400 and was greeted at the guest house by yet another kid. I don’t quite remember her name but she did all the work at the guest house, which is pretty sad in my opinion. She showed me to my room, where I dumped my sack, had a shower and walked downhill for about 5 minutes towards the river. Most of that evening was spent lazing around Pairo and fiddling around with my phones media player, camera and GPS. I returned to the guest house at about half past six and spoke for a while with Tilak before dinner was served.
After an early breakfast, we set off towards Syafru Besi; maintaining a brisk pace. The route was densely wooded in sections, and there were a couple of bridges en route. In just under 2 hours we could see Syafru Besi at a distance. In 15 minutes we reached the small town and moved into a guest house; I think it was called River View or something like that. I ordered Chicken curry and rice for lunch before heading out to explore the town. The first thing I did was to book the return bus ticket to Kathmandu for the following day at a tin shack which is where they sell bus tickets. Once the return trip was sorted out, the town was all mine and I had the whole day to myself. Tilak showed me to the Hydel Power plant in Syafru Besi. We were allowed in the premises, but not inside the tunnel. We hung around for a while and returned to the guest house for lunch. The chicken curry was pretty bland, but fortunately there was some chilly paste in the dining hall. After a filling meal, it was time for round two of exploring Syafru Besi but not before I found a place with internet. Unfortunately most places had no internet connection at all, except one neat Hotel right in the middle of the town. The lady in charge told me that she had wifi but no system. I managed with my Phone for about half an hour, spoke with the lady for some time and hit the streets again. I did another round to the power plant and returned to the guest house. While I was reclining in the sun (it had been drizzling since morning) three French ladies walked into the guest house with their guide. Apparently that was reason enough for the owner of the guest house to make me change my room so they could take mine. Apparently, my room was more suited to three people than the one he was asking me to move into. I looked into the two rooms which were side by side and they looked exactly the same to me. I didn’t see the point in moving out, but moved out anyway.
The guide turned out to be a friend of Tilak and in Nepal, apparently, friend somehow equates to booze. So while I was gone for round three to the power plant, the gentlemen had somehow managed a drink and were sipping in the sun right in front of the three ladies. Tilaks friend offered me a drink as well; I just refused politely. I am not sure if drinking in front of one’s client is a good idea and was somewhat concerned about the quality of the trip the ladies were getting into (they were doing a heritage trek for a week or so. I forget the name of the place they were visiting). They didn’t seem perturbed about anything at the moment, but ONE drink too many in the mountains (or anywhere else for that matter) has spelt disaster quite often. But I guess that was not my concern; it was their concern, and quite obviously they were ok for the moment. After hanging around at the guest house for some more time, I headed out again. Did a couple more rounds to the power plant, which is where I ran into those ladies again. We exchanged smiles as I passed by them. This time I went further down the road than the power plant. The road runs along the Langtang river and leads to Dhunche. On returning from the power plant, I continued my brief excursion towards the other end of the town; which was still along the river, but upstream. There is a Police outpost at the point where Syafru Besi the town begins. From here hikers would have to take a right turn to hit the trail leading to Pairo and enter the Langtang National Park. We passed through this outpost in the morning. I also met with a lady (as I would find out the following day, a German American) who was hiking alone. She must be extremely strong, since her pack was all wrong. The way it was strapped to her shoulder; wobbly and not very secure. I figured, if this is how she hiked throughout the trip and was still not injured, then she must be pretty strong, especially at her age; she looked 50+ to me. Apparently, the Chinese border was just about 45 minutes drive from Syafru Besi, in the direction I was walking. I did not want to find out though. I returned to the Hotel as it was getting dark, waited in my room for a while till dinner was served. Those French girls looked amused by my chicken fried rice, loaded with green chilly sauce. I went for a stroll after dinner and returned to the guest house by nine.
I didn’t sleep well last night. Was up by 5 and was ready by 6. The gentleman from the guest house just didn’t want to believe that I was ready by 6, since the bus was only going to leave by 8 (or was it 9). I figured he was just feeling lazy to serve breakfast this early. To make matters worse, Tilak was still sleeping. I just didn’t want to stay in the hotel for too long. Besides I wanted to secure a place for my sack in the boot of the bus, which had very little place. I demanded for breakfast and woke up Tilak. It doesn’t take him long to get going. By 7 we moved out of the Hotel. I placed my sack in the boot and that American lady was there too. She had migrated from Germany close to thirty years ago and had travelled a lot apparently. The bus departed Syafru Besi on time. In about an hour we were at Dhunche, getting out papers checked. A further hour later we were at Trisuli and two hours later from Trisuli, we were at Kathmandu. Mid way between Trisuli and Kathmandu, the rains started to pour in. Fortunately, it turned into a slight drizzle when we reached the main bus stand.
We hired a cab for the hotel from the bus stand, dropped Tilaks stuff at his place and made it to the hotel in about 15 minutes. The Hotel staff were kind and considerate enough to give me a room on the sixth floor; point to be noted, they didn’t have an elevator. I don’t mind climbing mountains, but stairs? Anyways! I asked Tilak to wait in the lobby, washed up in a jiffy and went back to the lobby to meet with Tilak. We then walked to a small restaurant called Everest Momo Center. If you can manage your way around Kathmandu in general and Thamel in particular, you have got to try this place. I am not the biggest fan of Momos since they are usually prepared too bland for my liking. But this Everest place was fantastic. The momos are served with a sauce which have a hint of tangy flavour. The moment you are found running out of sauce, you will be served some more, as long as you have Momos on your plate. Fantastic stuff. A sprite to go with the momo was refreshing.
After the quick meal, we returned to the hotel and said our good byes. I had a quick shower and hit the streets again, this time hunting for gear. The thing with Kathmandu is that there are too many distractions; far too many. Too many shops! too many streets! too many people! who am I kidding; It’s the girls. They are a major distraction, all too pretty. One more thing; If you are a male walking alone in Thamel, there is a good chance you might get asked,”Do you want ENJOY?”; Which basically means he is a pimp. I got asked once by a kid who was no more than 15 and my first impression was,”who taught you grammer?” and my second impression was,”aren’t you a little too young for this?”. Of course, I didn’t say these things to him; just smiled and walked away. Well I was a man on a mission! I needed to pick some gear for September; and I was not going to be distracted. I marked a few shops in Thamel and as a last resort, there was always the Mountain Hardwear outlet. By 8, when I was returning to the Hotel, I noticed a cosy place on the same street as my hotel, which had a Muslim name. To me, muslim joints = good meat preparations. Boy! Was I glad to find this place. I had sheekh kebab and chicken biriyani for dinner and a sprite to wash it all. Sometimes I loathe the fact that I am slightly built, because I wanted to try all the other stuff on the menu too, but just didn’t have the stomach for it. The meal was the best I had in Nepal yet, and I had resolved that lunch and dinner the following day would be at this fantastic place too. Still cant remember the name of the place. I know its in Thamel, quite near Budget Hotel. Yes! The name of the hotel is ‘Budget’. After that sumptuous meal, I continued exploring the streets of Thamel. Returned to the hotel by half past nine and slept after a quick shower.
Today was THE DAY. There was no more wasting time. Thamel had thousands of shops, and I had been to quite a few of those. I picked up a BD Venom axe from a little shop in Thamel and a Venom Hammer from the Mountain Hardwear retail outlet. They also Buff headgear, but there were far too many designs. So I decided that I would check out the Buff website for a suitable Tubular scarf and return to the store after lunch. Lunch was at the same joint where I had dinner last night. Cant quite remember what I had, but there was lot of meat. I think meatballs and biriyani and sprite too. I returned to the hotel to browse a little. Decided on a couple of models or Buff gear.
In the evening I returned to the Mountain Hardwear store; they didn’t seem to have the specific model that I was looking for. So I spent close to an hour reading the notes on most of the stuff that was on display. I decided on a model which was close to my requirement and the ladies at the store were pleased that I was done at last. So I left the store with a smile and after flaunting my newly acquired buff wear for about half an hour, I went to that meat joint for supper. I was still feeling stuffed from the lunch I had there, but this was my last meal in Kathmandu and I was not going to miss this chance. I think it would be quite honest if I said that theirs was the best place serving meat, among all the places I have been to. Truly. This time I tried beef sheek kebab with the biriyani. Of course, there was the usual sprite too. I shook hands with my bearer and thanked him for the meals and his hospitality. Strolled around Thamel one last time before retiring to my room.
Quite uneventful. I was up by 5 and breakfast was served by 6. I was picked from the hotel by quarter to seven and by quarter past seven, I was at the Tribhuvan Airport. The formalities were straightforward and I was out of Kathmandu by 10 or so. A brief halt at Delhi and by 3 in the afternoon I was in Chennai. Same old Chennai.
There are so many places around from where when I return to Chennai, I don’t miss those places. Kathmandu was different. I actually liked that place. I wouldn’t ever settle down in Kathmandu, but I think I will go back; hopefully sooner than later. There is something about that place, I don’t know what, but it keeps calling you.