BootsnAll Travel Network

Kodari to Kathmandu

The first few moments in a new country are always usually filled with exhilaration. Stepping across the China-Nepal friendship bridge was like stepping into a different world. The instant I walked into the border town of Kodari, the many differences between the two became apparent.

After passing through the Himalayas, the frozen desert wasteland of Tibet had disappeared into the past. My surroundings now consist of lush green, terraced hills, translucent rivers and trickling waterfalls. I’ve even spotted a few palm trees! The heat confronting me here on the Indian subcontinent made it necessary to strip off the extra four layers I needed to protect me from frigid plateau I had just left. The last two weeks were my only winter; I’m glad it was short, but it was still the absolute limit of my cold threshold.

Along with the positive changes in atmosphere came a polar opposite in the population. Where the majority of Chinese citizens were indifferent, the Nepalese are amazingly friendly and welcoming. There is definitely a service-oriented attitude, and it’s apparent how different the travel industry is compared to China. While most people are strictly looking for a way to make a dollar, there are other completely genuine souls simply interested in making friends and introducing you to their country. With the obvious exception of the beggars, which have been growing in number since Lhasa, it seems that everybody is genuinely happy to be alive and attempts to appreciate every minute of it.

see all of my photos from Kodari to Kathmadu

After a day-long jeep trip from Kodari to Kathmandu, these changes have been increasingly evident. I’ve been based out of the tourist-ghetto of Thamel (apparently comparable to Kao San road in Thailand) for a few days now, so there is a lot more culture to experience before I can get into any more generalizations about the country and it’s people. However, my experiences have been remarkable so far.

There are almost as many foreigners as locals on the streets here, and it’s easier to find steak and pasta then it is to find native food. However, I’m not complaining when my private hotel room is less than $3 and I can eat an excellent quality western meal for the about same price. It’s very easy to get stuck here in a comfort zone before venturing into the real Nepal.

Yesterday, I did make an attempt to visit the nearby monkey-infested temple, but got sucked into a few conversations with the locals in Thamel instead. It seems that everybody here speaks fluent English, and I’m approached countless times with offers from trekking guides, souvenir salesmen and the occasional whispered offers of hash and marijuana (my favorite response has been the line from South Park: “Drugs are bad, mmm-K?”) So, when I was approached by a man who was intrigued by my tattoo I was a bit skeptical. We ended up talking for over an hour and he gave me quite a few pointers about the local music scene without asking for anything in return.

The connections made yesterday found me today playing drums and guitar with some talented local musicians in a local courtyard manufacturing center hidden from western eyes. Afterwards, we ended up hanging out in a recording studio and discussed plans to collaborate during the rest my stay. Excellent climate, mouth-watering food, cheap living, cool friends and playing music; I only planned to stay for a week as a stopover to India, but I think I may stay a little longer. I just hope I can actually manage my way out of westernized Thamel and see some more of the real Nepal.

see all of my photos from Thamel


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