Kathmandu, though I did not venture further out of Thamel area on foot much, where the rest of it are from the window of a bus, I must say it gave me the overall feeling of organized chaos. It was almost everything I expect it to be and still not be fully what I expect it to be.
Recalling the moment from my touchdown to the journey from the airport to our guesthouse, I was indeed overwhelmed by the myriads of sights, sounds, and smells. Colours pile upon colours assault the eyes, from multi-colored buildings piled haphazardly together to multi-colored products hanging in a similar fashion as if in trend, to colorful sari-clad women trotting around. At the same time various sounds ringing, from the notorious honks of bikes and cars and buses, to shopkeepers and taxi drivers shouting to get the customer’s attention, to haggling of locals and tourists alike assault the ears. Meanwhile, you would also be inhaling whiffs smells, from multitude Asian spices to the pungent smell of perfumes and flowers, to intoxicating smells of various burning incenses.
Yes indeed, I was barely keeping my head above the flood of sights, sounds and smells.
After more exploration on foot, before and after the trek, walking around from shop to shop to buy gears and souvenirs, and lots of Masala tea breaks in between at the ubiquitous cafes catering for travelers like me, I must say Thamel itself can be a relaxing place. Somehow you would learn to rise above the dust and noise, and even learn to ignore the persistent pedlars (of all sorts from private taxi to tour operators to shopkeepers) that would keep pestering you to offer their ‘help’.
Just sit back and relax in a some corner in Thamel, letting the sights, sounds and smells slowly fade into the background as white noises, then wash everything down with a good pot of Masala Tea (tea with Indian spices). Then indeed you would feel your body and your mind soothed, literally or not.
Oh, by the way, I learnt that you have to sweeten it to bring out the taste of it, for I normally do not add sugar to my tea or coffee preferring it plain, but I must say for this one, it is an exception to the rule. Like how Nepal with its chaos and flooding senses is an exception bordering to almost meditative.
Now let me get back to flooding my senses and to my cup of sugared Masala tea before it gets cold.