(A mix of travel notes and comments added later)
23-09-2014 – Tuesday.
Back at the Radisson, Kathmandu. Last time I was here Kathmandu seemed rather strange, chaotic and exotic. The chaotic bit hasn’t changed but now it now seems reassuringly familiar and (almost) civilised.
Perhaps some of that was the rather westernised ‘bubble’ that the Radisson represents but a glance out the window soon reminded you where you were. I had a room with a very Kathmandu view.
Bike (back) in a box time
24-09-2014 – Wednesday.
After breakfast—a leisurely and delicious breakfast—it was time to pack up the bike. My bike box had survived the overland journey from Lhasa so I just had to scrub off the mud, pull it apart and pack it.
I must have done a good cleaning job. The customs inspector at Auckland said: “Are you sure this bike has been across Tibet, it looks brand new!”
I guess a cycle workshop in the Radisson car park isn’t an everyday occurrence. We had a few local observers watching us work!
Our Kathmandu cycle workshop, photo by Helen
Fire & Ice, twice
After packing it was time for lunch. Although we were going there for dinner Nic, Tim & I decided it was a good idea to check Fire & Ice standards hadn’t slipped while we were away.
Besides, for the last week or so of the trip I’d been craving that salty No. 25. La Marinaro anchovy and olive pizza enjoyed on the previous visit. The pizza was divine, even better accompanied with chilled beer and followed with gelato!
I didn’t really need another Kathmandu traffic photo but had to capture the astonishing sight of a man in a wheelchair (middle of photo below) negotiating this busy intersection. He was about halfway across when I arrived, traffic dodging around him.
Might seem crazy but with no crossing, no wheelchair friendly footpaths and no hope of the traffic stopping for long there was no alternative.
Bat Girl Kathmandu
Even though it wasn’t raining a close encounter with bat guano, earlier in the day, prompted Nic to deploy her umbrella walking under the ‘bat trees’ on the way to dinner.
Thought it looked cool against the traffic headlights but was amazed how well my phone (a Lumia 1520) captured it. Just had to turn the flash off (compare flash on) to get one of my favourite photos from the trip
It was great they could come, a considerable journey for some, as we celebrated an awesome trip and Jan’s birthday!
Jan in her party hat, Photo by Kirsten.
It was a great dinner and, perhaps no surprise, I had yet another No. 25. La Marinaro anchovy and olive pizza!
I was flying out mid afternoon with Bas, Eric & Kirsten and B was leaving a bit later (headed for Aus.) so we shared a shuttle bus. My day began with soft alarm coos from the pigeons perching on the ledge outside my window.
We met for a last breakfast before heading our separate ways. A year or more in the planning, a few weeks in the living and now it was over.
Flying out, just.
Our trip to the airport was uneventful until we hit gridlock traffic. It wasn’t far from the Pashupatinath Temple we visited earlier in the trip. The Kathmandu traffic management response seemed to consist of several Policeman giving conflicting hand signal directions at each intersection.
Apparently a VIP visiting to the temple meant they’d completely stopped traffic on the main ring road off which the airport access runs. In this case that V.I.P made for Very Immobile People!
Although we had allowed, normally, ample time at one stage wondered if we would even get to the flight. It worked out OK in the end, must add the Lady running the Malaysia Airlines check-in desk at Kathmandu was awesome.
Home, then into Hospital
By the time we got to Kathmandu it appeared I was one of the lucky few avoid the “Survivor Tibet” lurgi. I still maintained that until I stepped of the plane at home in New Zealand feeling OK I couldn’t regard it as a victory.
My sister met me at the airport and seemed a bit flustered. I thought it was just because the parking monitors were hustling her out of the short term pick-up area (had taken me a while to get the bike out to the kerb) but not so.
While I was doing the dangerous stuff in Tibet, safely, at home my Mum had fallen—hanging out washing—and smashed her shoulder. It happened the previous evening, about the time I was leaving Kathmandu, and she was in Hospital awaiting surgery.
After a brief pit stop at home I was off to hospital, visiting!
As I write this in Jan 2015 Mum is recovering OK. The surgery went well and she is adjusting to her shiny new replacement shoulder!