HOT INFO On The Road

Margaret and Keel's Asian Adventure
Riding Tigers: REPORT #20

Feb. 27, Y2K Katmandu, Nepal

67 rupee - 1 US$

Its been ten years since I was last in Katmandu and while things have changed dramatically, in many respects they have remained the same. Its more polluted, the huge fruit bats that once lived around the Royal Palace are now gone. Many of the store fronts have changed venues but its still a hustling, bustling, friendly, wild third-world city. An extremely cool place, but bring a dust mask.

This place is filled with internationals during the fall but currently seems to be quite slow. Hotels are competing fierily and rates are highly negotiable. We have opted for a brand new place that post its price at 70.00 per night but we are staying for 10.00 per night. That's really expensive for our Asian budget, but we chosen to splurge for a couple of reasons. We have friends flying in from the states to go trekking and we want them to have a very soft landing. We have celebrated our fifth month on the road and we stayed in enough budget place to allow ourselves a splurge. It's easy to get sick in Katamandu and we want to give ourselves the cleanest possible environment. The place is called the Katmandu Prince and is located near the edge of Thamel. It has fabulous views of the polluted valley from roof top gardens and cable TV with CNN and discovery channel. gotta love that! For an equally nice view for real budget prices but still clean and great value try the snow lion guesthouse down the street. For 150 rupees, you could get a nice, clean, small double with clean common bath.

We intend to trek into the Himalays and will begin with a ten-day trip into the Langtang National Park directly to the north of Katmandu. I have secured guides and porters and will leave on Feb.3. Its not very easy to find good guides in Katmandu without going to a trekking agency which increase cost considerably. However, I have had good luck to find Dawa Sherpa who is an experienced independent guide. His gently Tibetan style is immediately apparent and his English is quite good. If you would like to contact him try sherpa_d@hotmail.com. I can't give him a glowing recommendation yet, but I believe he is going to be excellent.

So we have a couple of days in Katamandu to kill before meeting our friends Rick and Izzy to go trekking. We will probably hit the major religious shrines and check out a public cremation down at the Bagmati River. We have been checking out Tibetan restaurants eating the famous momos and doing a lot of window-shopping. Will try another update before leaving. Namaste.

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