It was such a relief to walk through the throngs of taxi drivers and ‘tourist agents’ waiting for the few tourists arriving at the Kathmandu airport. I was to simply look for a greeter carrying a sign with my name. There it was, “Mr.GREENLEAF”. I shook the young girls hand, stuffed my bags into the small 4-door hatchback, and began my drive into Kathmandu.
My sights had been warmed up nicely by the plane’s descent into the valley. The guidebook was right. Sit on the left hand window seat of the plane and the tall steep hills terraced with trees and rice farms are breathtaking. Now I couldn’t get enough, everywhere I looked reminded me that I was completely out of my element (and loving every minute of it).
Having skipped right past the more sedentary rungs on the latter of modernity, Kathmandu is now a pastiche of old and new. The Himalayas are veiled by thick brown pollution. Men transport lumber on bicycles past Internet cafés full of network savvy youths. Cows lay down in the street increasing traffic jams, tempers and Co2 emissions. Even if I was confident enough in my ability to dodge cowpies and street treats, jogging in this town would still be extremely harmful to my health.
Only steps from the sensory overload of New Banisher road, my neighborhood is tucked behind the melee and is absolutely great. A good fifteen-minute taxi ride from the Thamel tourist district, it is also nicely devoid of Irish bars and hash salesmen. Instead, commerce on Karibot relies upon dollar haircuts and goats slaughtered fresh every morning. School children share narrow streets with roaming cows, cows share garbage scraps with hungry dogs, and dogs try to share their flees with chickens that are too fast.
I definitely stick out in these parts, but my new neighbors seem as curious as I am. I can’t wait to make some new friends.
Posted By Devin Greenleaf
Posted Jul 3rd, 2007