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A Glimpse of Kathmandu

Made it to Kath­man­du after an enjoy­able stopover in Hong Kong; one perk of trav­el to Asia is inter­est­ing lay­overs. A day of prepa­ra­tion before head­ing into the moun­tains for the Ever­est Base Camp Trek has left me lit­tle time to take a look around the city. I did get the chance to meet with Sagar from our Kath­man­du office and Neel. Neel and I will join Moun­tain Mad­ness guide Deana Zabal­do and her orga­ni­za­tion Chang­ing Lives Nepal to deliv­er five com­put­ers to schools and an orphan­age out­side of Kathmandu.

Brief but impres­sive view of Hong Kong.

Neel’s pas­sion to help his com­mu­ni­ty has been instru­men­tal in help­ing build a tem­po­rary shel­ter and a school where kids’ edu­ca­tion was dis­placed by the earth­quake and the destruc­tion of their schools. This effort will keep them in the books for now and learn­ing some com­put­er skills too. Neel tells me with his char­ac­ter­is­tic chuck­le that busi­ness is good, We can still buy dahl bhat, and our homes are ok and we are alive,” but oth­ers he notes after a pause, are not so blessed. 

Mark and Neel in his Kath­man­du shop.

I met with Neel in the tourist area of Kath­man­du known as Thamel, where he owns a tan­ka paint­ing shop that many a Moun­tain Mad­ness trekker has vis­it­ed. All the usu­al things are being ped­dled here in the streets- you can still get prayer flags, singing bowls, masks, tiger’s balm, hashish if you are so inclined, trin­kets too numer­ous to find a place in your home, and a $2 rick­shaw ride back to the Yak-n-Yeti where our trekkers and climbers stay. Things seem busi­ness as usu­al with the excep­tion of a few cracks in build­ings and some ground-up repairs going on. 

An exam­ple of struc­tur­al damage.

Though this was only a glimpse of what Kath­man­du looks like after the earth­quake, it at least seems things are rolling along just fine in the tourist sec­tion of town. More on this all lat­er when I return to the city. In the mean­time, hap­py to be here see­ing old friends and prepar­ing to fly to the moun­tains tomor­row, then con­nect­ing with the Mad­ness trekking group in Nam­che in a few days.

The tourist area of Kath­man­du, still hopping.

~MM Own­er Mark Gun­log­son, text and all photos