Auspiciousness continued...

Trip Start Jul 05, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Nepal  ,
Thursday, July 21, 2005

So there were no problems for this smiling, friendly Canadian to exit Chinese customs in Lhasa. I even made friends with a Nepalese tour guide in the smoking room. he was so kind to give me a free ride into kathmandu from the airport. But hold on, i dont want to skip the story of the flight from Lhasa to KTM.
The immortal beauty of the Lhasa valley was flooded with clouds as we ascend up and then we emerge above a sea of white separating the infinite blue sky. 20 minutes into the flight, serrated pyramidal knives, pierce the clouds and reach for the heavens. The himalayas are revealing their marvelous awsome grandeur to me. it was like a desert of white and the downie Pyramids of Egypt stand alone beyond description, at eye-level with our plane.
another 20minutes later. The captain makes an announcement. WE ARE PASSING EVEREST. the passengers all limber over to the right side, peering out the windows. the plane tilts and we are sent plunging to our blissful himalayan doom. HAHA. no, but seriously, i saw everest from my window. Awe-mofoing-dumbstruck and so happy i feel like i am going to burst a mess all over the abyss which is the roof of the world.

Arriving in KAthmandu. the visa procedure. haha what a lesson in oriental beaurocracy. i get my 60day visa. i am beaming. i get 70USD exchanged to 4580RUPEES, i am shining. i meet my new friend, hop on a bus with a bunch of Japanese tourists and off we go into the great unknown of Nepal. Here before i get too far, i wanna say something about the general vibe i got from the airport all the way to this crowded netbar i am in now. EVERYTHING COMES WITH A PRICE. when we left the airport, there wasnt any security check at all. no metal detectors, no gaurds actually at the gates. amazing.
I get to the parkinglot and its like, "phew, wipe the sweat from my brow, take a deep breath and make a prayer cuz this place is by far, the most overwhelming scene i has ever been thrown into. As the bus goes down the street, dark-skin soldiers in camo, carrying huge ass machine guns. these guys are stationed 500m apart all the way down the streets. IN CASE YOU DONT KNOW, NEPAL IS IN THE MIDST OF A REVOLUTION. A FEW MONTHS AGO THE KING HAD A COUP AGAINST THE MILITARist REBEL LEADERS. DO A GOOGLE SEARCH ON THIS TOPIC TO FIND OUT MORE. i feel safe though. No direct threat to my life. no tourist has ever been killed from the conflict. THE FIRST THING THAT HIT ME WAS the poverty. squalor. decreped ancient buildings, rotting, molding, Dirty(capital D). naked children run up and down the narrow noisy streets. a bull stops traffic, no one bothers to move so we wait for it to stroll away. i feel wierd. like ive been teleported to the most lucid dreamland of western societies' preconceptions of the East. its impossible to be unoticed here. everywhere, like after i checked into my hotel(BTW, its the most famous one in Nepal, in the 60's the Beatles stayed in this same hotel!), i walk down the crowded, noisy, narrow streets in downtown and everyone is like trying to either beg for money, sell me hasish or trying take me for a tour. GOD i even payed 20RUPEES to this guy if he promised to leave me alone. In the Dubar Square, center Temple of Kathmandu i saw 2 holy men sitting ON the shrine and waving at me like long lost buddies. I got their picture. amazingly they spoke a little english and the guy with 3meter long dreadlocks is called RAM DAS!!!
ok i kinda blew my 10USD budget today, but hey! i gotta look like a Native, and i need to test the waters before diving in. ok thats all for today, my first day in Nepal. Check out my pics.
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