Kathmandu is a city that never changes. When we arrived in Nepal from Southeast Asia, it felt like we had traveled back in time. Our battered taxi from the airport bumped along rundown streets past tiny temples, women in red shawls, and the occasional cow. Hindu and Buddhist shrines peeped out between ramshackle shops and houses. It was dirty, chaotic, and colorful: in other words, just the way we remembered it from our long visit in 2007. We almost decided not to come to Nepal because of the earthquake and fuel crisis. But once we arrived in Kathmandu, we were absolutely thrilled to be back in our favorite city.
Sadly, the price of Nepal’s cultural integrity is poverty and political upheaval. In the last twenty years, Nepal has lurched from one political crisis to the next, interrupted by the occasional natural disaster. These problems keep Nepal high on the list of Asia’s poorest countries and make it feel like the 21st century hasn’t arrived yet.
We spent three days in Kathmandu before our Everest trek, and another six days afterwards. Before the trek, we stayed in Thamel, the backpackers’ hub in the city center, at the fine Pilgrim’s Guesthouse. After … Read more