HOT INFO On The Road

Margaret and Keel's Asian Adventure
Riding Tigers: REPORT #22

Mar. 29, Y2K Katmandu, Nepal

1$=67.9 rupees

I was suppose to head out on the bus this mornng but such is the need to be flexible when traveling, particular in Asia. In theory the savy traveler purchases his ticket one day prior to departure and on the "express bus", if at all possible. Yesterday, Dawa Sherpa and I were at the Dentist until about 2 oclock at which time we left to go and purchase our tickets. Upon arrival, we learned the "express bus" to Jiri was sold out, even though the ticket window had been open less than an hour! Must be the height of the spring tourist season. We were left to the local bus, while full of local color for sure, that chicken wagon stops for every villager that sits and waits along the road side. It never gets out of third gear. The trip is tough enough, it worth it to catch the express bus. The only solution was to postpone the day of departure. As I sit Dawa, my faithful Sirdar is fighting it out with the others looking for the same ticket on the express bus. I have built four flex days into the internary, one less now, no drama's mate.Katmandu is really, such a cool place! I was just admiring the hussle and bussle that is created by these Mountains in the Thamel district of Katmandu! Such an ecletic city and totaly harmeless but certaintly "on the edge". I ve been solicited herion and propositioned for gay sex, by locals, at least twice. No big deal, easy enough to say no to, but something I never experienced in other Asia cities. Not that it doesn't exist in these places, Ive just never encountered it, not even on Khao San Rd ,or Sukhumvit in Bangkok.

I've yet to see a hint of violence, except the "maoist" thing going on with the gov't, where the communist are hacking to death policeman, usually a few at the time. Its really not a threat to tourist but an encounter with a group of maoist thugs might not be ideal. Check local conditions paticular if your going to Dolpo area. The American embassy has a map showing where they advise you no to go. The locals are absolutely friendly and don't hound you, like say in Indonesia. Although a healthy suspicion of any merchant is a good idea.

This city is a shoppers paradise for some, revolting for others. Some really nice deals but what interes me, mineral specimens are more expensive than in the U.S. The nepal dealers know the value of their minerals and few "deals" are to be had.

Great value to be had on wool rugs, and Tibetan items of jewlery and religous items, purported to be "old" or "antique tibetan". Do not believe that, it's all manufactured in Pokara. The real antique stuff is sold to legitimate dealers for small fortunes, not to budget travelers. Its quite pleasing jewlery however, I particular love the torquoise, amber and coral beads. Bargain hard but always laughing and smiling. Look for the Tibetan women walking on the street who sometimes display their real heirloom corals. These real "antique" beads can cost U.S.2000.00 per bead.

Well, were really rambling now'! Time to go, will update again,

Hello to Mr. & Mrs. Bill Allen of Unity, Maine. I work with Bill in my other life and his lovely wife has been reading my updates. She sent an email to me, through Taka, and I eventually got it, but lost it! So I couldn't respond. I just wanted her to know, I really appreciated the note and look forward to seeing both her and Bill when I return! Cheers

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