Flying into Kathmandu the mist covered the tips of mountains that were scattered with small houses. At the airport about fifteen Nepali men circled my sister and I as we tried to get a taxi to our guesthouse; probably intrigued by the foreigners.
Dust trailed behind us as we drove through the town. The driver swerved here and there managing to avoid the throngs of people seemingly unfazed by our vehicle just inches from them. The women wore long dresses of all colours and their eyes were rimmed with thick, black eye liner; whilst men were dressed in jeans and stylish jackets.
We passed over a small bridge. I peeped over and saw the water was filthy with rubbish.
Our first day in Kathmandu was adjusting to the culture and the people. They were very inquisitive and keen to know everything we were planning to do in Nepal. Most locals said hello and called out greetings to us in several languages to guess where we were from. They walked and talked with us, sharing stories about their villages and how they came to Kathmandu. Some were adamant that we follow them to their travel agency (which seemed to be the most popular line of work here). An old man smiled up at me and gave me his card, which read Happy Travels, assuring me that his business provided ‘quality service for a cheaper price’. The locals were also helpful; if we were lost they would walk us to our guesthouse and bid us farewell at the gate.
The electricity turned off in the evening, which we learned on our first night whilst we were at the markets. At the guesthouse we could look out at buildings and mountains silhouetted against a sunset-coloured sky. The nights were freezing and we donned our new beanies.
We soon got our footing with our bargaining skills, managing to bargain things down by up to ten thousand rupees.
Kathmandu was a pit stop for the next leg of our journey. It was here that we organised bus tickets, transport to the bus station, and sim cards. It would’ve been handy if we were carrying spare passport photos as this was quite a process.
On our last morning we woke before dawn to ready ourselves for a six-hour bus ride through the rocky mountains and narrow roads sitting on the edge of the cliffs. The driver beeped at each corner to warn oncoming vehicles. The road signs warning of falling boulders made us think we might not make it to the next stop.