[This post was initially drafted on April 9, 2015. I lost track of posting it, then, after the recent earthquake left Kathmandu in ruins, it felt strange and eerie to me to publish this post. In hindsight, I am so glad we took the time to see some of these historic sites once more.]
As it neared midnight Dubai time, I found myself sandwiched between a sleeping Kai and a movie-tranced Chris in the skies just north of Karachi. We had just spent the day in Kathmandu re-visiting one of our last pre-Kai trips with Kai. It was a somewhat serendipitous event.
It all started early the previous morning when we landed in Kathmandu on a Bhutan Airlines flight from Paro. After clearing customs and storing our bags for the day we entered the bustling and chaotic environment of the Kathmandu airport. After getting vibes from a few taxi drivers that we were about to get swindled, we finally settled on a $4 fare to the nearby Hyatt hotel where we trusted that they could book us a fixed price driver in a car with seat belts for the day. Our first stop in Kathmandu was in the northwest corner of the city at the Monkey Temple. After urging Kai up a hundred or so steps we were finally able to hang out and see the monkeys and the great view. Or so we thought. As we have found in Dubai, people felt that it is perfectly acceptable to take photos of Kai. Some asked for pictures of themselves with Kai or for pictures of their kids with Kai. Others just snapped away at our family photos taking duplicates of whatever Chris and I were shooting. It is strange to say the least.
Digression// This was a huge problem for us on the Great Wall of China. Kai had her photo taken by strangers hundreds if not thousands of times, to the point that it completely freaked her out – which is saying a lot because she has her fair share of being accosted by cameras in Dubai as well. We had trouble making forward progress along the wall because of Kai’s pseudo-celebrity status. //Digression
We quickly decided to leave the Monkey Temple to head for Thamel, a backpacker neighborhood where people often stay when they are getting ready to head out for a trek. It seemed like fate that our driver happened to let us out in front of a pizza joint called Fire and Ice. We had eaten there on our previous trip to Kathmandu, I think on a recommendation from Lonely Planet, and it seemed natural that we should eat there again considering that we happened to find it. After a few pizzas we headed back out on the town only to quickly discover that roving through Kathmandu’s backpacker zone with a three year old was not ideal. (I know everyone is NOT surprised except for me.) There isn’t anything specific wrong with it except that due to the traffic, erratic pedestrians, and uneven pavement, I felt that we should carry her the entire time. She weighs in at 35lbs, which isn’t ridiculous, but when you overlay her weight, the temperature, and our desire to stay in the Thamel neighborhood, the needle clearly points to bail.
After a quick walk around, we made our way to Durbar Square.
Durbar Square, as expected, was also full of life. We made our way through the complex, recalling the sites that we had visited on our last trip. After getting our fill of temples and religious sites, we made our way to a street market where Chris fiercely negotiated for a pair of peacock shaped gate handles. We don’t have a gate, but Chris has been talking about a fence for ages, so you never know.
I’m so glad that we had this opportunity to revisit Kathmandu, and I am excited that Kai even seems to remember a lot of it. I hope that the people in Nepal are able to rebuild quickly and overcome the massive destruction that they faced following the earthquake last month.