First Impressions of Kathmandu
Kathmandu is disorientating at first, but isn’t the point of travelling being a break from your usual routine ? Eventually one starts to relax, enjoy the food, and absorb the vibes of this incredible city.
I was disoriented by the oppressive weather and unsure how to navigate in the middle of the busy traffic as well. But eventually I got a pleasant feeling when I started to connect and converse with people.
My first feeling when I got out of the plane in July, was "why is it this hot?" I would find out later that the outside temperature was in fact not more than 25 Celsius degrees. This feeling of warmness is due to the humidity that is usually around 80% and more in July, but at this period the average temperature is 23-25°C, and I acclimatized myself pretty quickly. And this is probably the hottest and muggiest time of year.
From the airport to my host family (thats an experience in itself), I had a first insight of the crazy traffic. There is no traffic light, and policemen regulate the traffic at big intersections by blowing their whistles. Otherwise, it is just an endlessly noise of horns (and supposedly it is illegal now and much better), with cars that pull over, change lanes or turn off. Yet, Nepali people seem to be good drivers, they must be ready to react to anyone suddenly changing direction, and this traffic system does actually work !
While taking a walk on the streets of Kathmandu, I realized how crossing streets was difficult at peak times. What felt the most unusual was the need to impose when crossing or I would end up waiting for ages. Actually it is only crazy at first sight, once you understand how things coordinate, you’ll feel part of the procession.
Orientating myself in the city was a challenge. There are no street names on the corners. However, you can easily use a map app on the phone, or take a taxi. I mostly walk, but when I need a taxi I can find some just a couple of blocks ahead of where I stay. Besides, you can always count on people if you need help, just ask! Most speak English, and are always willing to help!
The city has good links, I haven’t had any trouble with electricity or running water. Even though the Internet speed is variable, the whole city is covered with Wi-fi and 4G.
The last thing I was definitely convinced by is the food! Nepali food is really tasty, healthy, and you can find really cheap but good food all over the city. But do not forget to ask for a little or not spicy at all when ordering, because Nepali food is spicy!
Kathmandu has undoubtedly charmed me, though I still have a lot to discover. Now, a few days after my arrival in Kathmandu, I already feel like at home.