It is normal for me to come up with my best travel plans when I cannot sleep at 2 or 4 in the morning, while eating breakfast, playing with my latest travel snaps, and drinking pots and pots of tea, (maybe something to do with the “Not being able to sleep” part, as I know tea contains a lot of caffeine, but I just can’t help myself sometimes, it tastes so good) So when 4 days off appear on my roster, I decide to jump on the next flight out of Dubai and meet a friend, all I know is that I want to do yoga without having to travel for hours and days to a far off land. I would like to see something I have not seen, and experience something new. So Kathmandu definitely ticked all the boxes, and for the beautiful price of $38 for an airline ticket, my adventures are able to get pretty epic at such short notice.
So up and out of the desert I go, but as it goes it is not always so easy. I miss my connecting flight by 20 minutes. I find myself being pushed into the Oman customs area, by about 100 business men all in suits, looking like they are in a big hurry to be somewhere very important, when I finally realise I’m in the totally wrong place, I book it across to where I am actually meant to be, but alas my flight is now closed. So I find myself stuck in the Doha airport for the next 5hours, and might I add I am very sleep deprived as I am excited and jet lag is catching me once again, and when this happens sleep becomes somewhat of a joke. Just as K is for Kathmandu, J is for Jetlag.
So 5 hours in another airport, oh the activities you can do, its amazing what one can get up to.
I try all the new perfumes and expensive creams on tester. I mean whoever pays $500 for a tiny pot of cream to make their face “white and wrinkle free”…Trying to get rid of smile lines. I just don’t see the point, are the best part of someones face not the smile lines, I mean the years of good times. I like them. I can think of much better ways to spend my pennies, but I guess each to their own right. But I do love the way you can put this $500 cream all over yourself in the airport and do it for free. I always do love this part of the airport….I like to call it the drive by. I drink the delightful green tea at the Doha airport….simply delightful. I give my shoes to the women whose job it is to keep the toilets clean (She really needs shoes much more than I do) hers have big holes in them and I feel really bad for her having such soggy feet. I have an extra pair of jandles in my bag so that’s what I will live in, or flip-flops as known to others not from New Zealand. I Find a place to send a few emails, most of the keys are missing on the ghetto keyboard, so I hope who ever got those delirious emails enjoyed trying to decipher what I was trying to say. At about this time I start to feel like Tom Hanks in “The Terminal”
I am now at 37 hours awake.
I lie down on my yoga mat for a few hours to try to find some sleep, and while it is 50 Degrees celsius outside, inside it is more like the north pole. I have no idea why places all over the middle east do this. Its like the inside air is constantly fighting a war with the outside air. My love or rather dislike for air conditioning is taken to new heights today. So here I am laying on the ground, looking somewhat homeless, and thinking to myself, argh I am so cold….Burrrr, and then a special, kind and simple thing happens, A young Arab man comes and puts his blanket over me. I say shukran and give a smile. I guess the old saying, “The kindness of strangers” does still exist and even in a place like the floor of Doha airport. Thank you kind stranger.
Finally time to board, and this boarding is somewhat different to any plane I have ever bordered.
I am the ONLY FEMALE.
The only one, I couldn’t actually believe it myself, that has never happened to me before. There are about 250 men, with 250 camera phones, and me, the subject. I find it funny at all the questions and looks I am getting. I play along. A smile goes far. Nepalese are not quite as shy as it would seem, they are really very funny actually. Lucky for me, the whole flight is full, but I am given a whole row, so sleep is a wonderful thing now. I wake up to tremendous turbulence and little Nepalese men looking horribly scared. But turbulence for me is a lovely thing, more like a gentle rocking, I guess it may take me back to the feeling of being a baby held in my mother arms, or being on a boat with dad when I was a kid. So I guess I have chosen the right job if it does not affect my “feeling scared” emotions in any way.
So my friend Nathan of Australia, a man with a beard of epic proportions, a beard that many a man would be jealous of, grown while traveling over the world in the last 8 months. A photographer with a beautiful eye and who shares my love of good humus, a raconteur to many of his friends, comes down from the mountains and with many good stories to share with me, he has been hiking with many yak’s, but now he decides to do the Yoga retreat too. His first yoga retreat. Tomorrow it will begin, Exciting!
We begin my first night in Kathmandu in style with Ice cold Nepalese beers, humus with fresh Nepalese bread, great stories to share and catch up while over looking the city on a roof top which is flooded with light from the full moon. This is the calm before the storm. I soon realise as Nathan tells me, Kathmandu may just be the loudest place on earth. I think to myself, Really?
He is right. At about 3am, you are woken to the sound of stray, feral, street dogs barking. They all wake up, thousands of them, barking constantly, for hours and hours on end. It is the kind of barking that would drive a sane man, insane. It’s like you can imagine that these sick, crazy, dogs are staring at a blank wall going woof, woof, woof. In a monotone bark. It goes until about 6am. Just in time for it to stop, so that the bells start to ring from the monks at sunrise, who are walking to the temple. We start yoga at 6.30am. I will not sleep here either. Ironic.
The timetable goes somewhat like this.
*6.30am-wake up with fresh mint tea.
*7am to 9am-Asana.
*9.30am-Breakfast. All Yoga vegetarian, local organic food.
*1pm- Lunch. All Yoga vegetarian, local organic food.
*Sometime during this free time of day we have Ayurvedic massages.
*6.30pm-8pm-Asana, Pranayama and an hour of meditation.
*8.15pm -Dinner. All Yoga vegetarian, local organic food.
I Sleep In a tent called “Wisdom” This was my week.
It was all taught by a Yogi who was very authentic and eccentric, one I will not be forgetting in a long time. I think he may have been in those mountains awhile. His stories and lectures during meditation were complete with sound effects, and seeing his version of the “Lion Pose” will forever bring a smile to my face.
In between yoga sessions, we would spend time chilling out in cafes with Nathans friends who are volunteering in Nepal, listening to tunes, not always the best ones (I might add) but I guess that’s the Kathmandu way….You sometimes get “The Corrs” or “The Backstreet Boys” The next minute the old school d.j system is blasting out beautiful sounds of Ben Harper and Bob Marley. It was a real mixture that would make you laugh as you realise how many words to really bad songs you know. We would drink chai with the locals and talk to them about their lives in Kathmandu, we would play with the cameras and have long eating and drinking chai sessions at an awesome cafe called Or2K. It’s in the side streets of Kathmandu, and well worth your time. The food is all organic, fresh, tasty and so delicious. But mostly we would just walk the back streets taking in all this crazy, little hot humid, place has to offer.
I did not have time to head to the mountains this trip as it was only 5 days long, and yoga pretty much took over. But now I will always have a reason to come back.
I can’t wait to climb those mountains.
Thanks for stopping by.