A journalist observes life in the far north.
No flight today. We are booked to go by helicopter tomorrow to Lukla because the aircraft can deal with low visibility better than small planes.
Another day sitting in the Kathmandu airport and I was sort of depressed this afternoon. On the cab ride back to the hotel, Alec asked what I wanted to do the rest of the day. “I don’t care,” I said.
I realized that I’ve been on vacation for a week and I’ve spent most of the time waiting to fly somewhere. Depressing indeed. I think Russell, who is in charge of the trek and the subsequent climb, feels bad about it but he’s a logistics guy and he has no control over fog. Besides, the fog is jamming him up too.
I cheered up after having a long walk by myself. I snuck off, after Alec went to the roof to fuss with his satellite phone and iPhone, and took in the city on my own terms.
The city is full of tiny shops that take up part of the first floor of four or five story buildings. Most of them are like a miniature 7-11, selling lighters, magazines, drinks or gum. The shops are about as big as a walk-in closet. One or two shopkeepers sit on a chair inside or stand on the sidewalk. Other shops, just as small, sell clothing or fabric; jewelry; music; or produce. There are also motorcycle repair shops.
I passed a butcher shop guarded by a goat laying on the sidewalk. Bloody chunks of meat, maybe goat, sat on a table facing the sidewalk.
I passed a woman carrying her baby girl whose eyes were made up with black eyeliner.
I passed a construction site where men carried cement in wicker baskets.
I passed an alley where a boy, maybe 2, played alone.
I passed a cow, laying on a patch of grass, it’s life spared owing to religious custom, either Buddhist or Hindu, the dominant religions here.
As I walked, a boy, maybe 10, tried hustling me so I ducked into a store, the Blue Bird, billed a department store and unusual in its size and selections of items.
Most people smiled at me, a few stared forward and one man picked his nose and flicked his finger at me.
The dominant sound of the city is horns honking. Sometimes, a small bus would drive by and men would be hanging out the door.
When I returned to the hotel, Alec was in the garden having a beer with Russell, who will join us for dinner in one hour.