Touchdown was perfect. Kathmandu is big and sprawling – colorful buildings surrounded by mountains. I wrote up the Visa application, got two passport photos taken, changed my Chinese yuen and paid the $35 fee in US dollars. Got my pack and was picked out by a few guys. My ATM card didn't work at the first machine. Went with guys through traffic and crazy narrow streets to Thamel – tourist district – and got a single room at Pilgrim's Guest House. Just ate a pepper steak over black tea…by candlelight in the hotel's garden courtyard. The electricity went off 10 minutes ago. I should carry my headlamp in the evenings going forward.
After settling in, I went to a nearby ATM, meeting a couple of shopkeepers along the way. They invited me in for tea and we chatted. Thamel is like Kuta, Bali except they try to sell you treks and outdoor gear instead of massages and transport. At least I'm a bit hardened to it now. And I'm somewhat comfortable navigating the crazy narrow streets. Lots of motorbikes, bicycles, people, cars, honking. I already can't wait to get out on a trekking trail! I'm excited to meet Gela as well.
Everyone greets you with “Namaste” here.