Nepal - Back to Kathmandu

Trip Start Dec 05, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The bus back to Kathmandu was a bit bumpier than the previous one to Pokhara, and for some stupid reason we stopped for our buffet lunch at 10:30 am - no-one wanted it! It was still good value though.
Back at the Tibet Guest House we weren't able to get the room we had booked (Suite) but got a cheaper Super Deluxe which actually turned out to be better.
We picked up our Chinese Visas after several more turns in a queue, and a spot of preferential treatment for anyone with darker skin. We got talking to an Aussie guy called Arran whilst in the queue that we had briefly spoken to when we applied for our visas the previous week.
Arran had shared some similar experiences to us (i.e. got ripped off left, right and centre and had very few fond memories of Vietnam) and we agreed to meet him and his travel mate, Brad, at an Israeli Restaurant that they recommended. The restaurant was superb, with great vegetarian fare and cushions on the floor giving the place a very hippy 'New Age Traveller' vibe.
We returned from the restaurant to watch the Champions League Final, in which Liverpool were robbed by match-fixing Italians who shouldn't have been in the competition anyway! Andrew was slightly bitter!
Our flight to Beijing had to go via Lhasa (Tibet) and then Chengdu before reaching its final destination. We tried to get a taxi to the airport from our hotel but they told us that it would be around 1000 Rupees as there was a strike on (the normal price was about 200)! Unwilling to pay that amount Andrew went out onto the empty streets and waited until a taxi finally drove past, at which point he managed to negotiate a fee of 600 Rupees.
There was indeed a strike on in Kathmandu and this meant that all public transport and taxis were stopped. Our driver took the back roads to get to the airport, as locals would have stoned any vehicle seen on the road. We were concerned we may never get to the airport as there were many road blocks and our driver seemed to be getting lost and asked every driver he passed where he should / could go safely (although this could have been to avoid the locals vigilantes).
We did eventually arrive in plenty of time and paid our driver what we had agreed, though he did try and get more out of us! (shocker) It was just our luck that the one day we needed a taxi to get to somewhere by a deadline, would be the day they have a strike. To top it all off the strike wasn't even a transport strike - it was a teacher's strike.
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