First Look At Kathmandu – #Everest60

by Adam Popescu

It’s been almost 24 hours in Nepal. Kathmandu, a city of extremes. Extreme poverty, extreme tourism, extreme old and new cultures merged together. All of this literally fighting for a toehold on pot-holed streets where small cars, bikes and mopeds battle in a chaos theory form of traffic that is truly magical in its power — and amazing that there aren’t more accidents.

My cyber Monday is different than your cyber Monday. Here are my initial looks at the city.

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This is Thamel, a sort of tourist-ghetto full of trinkets, eager shopkeepers and starry-eyed travelers. In the daytime it’s enough to leave me questioning where the real city is.

At night the sounds of Metallica and Rage Against The Machine kept me up deep into the morning. Normally I would like Rage, but even with my window closed I couldn’t sleep, and with jet lag and a major trek approaching, the area took on a sort of spring break vibe, exactly what I wanted to avoid. I can party at home, and I’ve done plenty of that. This trip is about finding something else. A break from the day-to-day turbulence of my own life, at the very least. An attempt to catch my breath in a foreign land.

But to do that I needed a new place to stay. I wanted something away from the main drag, something clean and comfortable. So I left Thamel.

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Where was I going? No, not the Hyatt, although I thought about it.

Away from the tourists, tucked away, past a dusty road, next to a string of foreign embassies is an old palace transformed into a hotel. The Shanker. With prices very affordable for what is considered 5-star accommodations, I instantly fell for it:

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This was where I wanted to be. More removed, but more traditional and old world. A good place to rest before my trek to Everest Base Camp begins. In less than four days I’ll be far from hotels, sipping yak butter in tea houses with no heating, and perhaps no bed. I’ll enjoy the mattress until then—without guilt, or bad dreams.

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