I slept the deep sleep of the jet-lagged and dragged myself out of bed mid-morning. I wanted to stay in my warm bed forever. Hungry children forced me up. Now we sit on a balcony overlooking Thamel Marg, a street overhung with prayer flags criss-crossing its length. It’s colourful and peaceful to watch them blowing softly in the breeze.
Bangra beats echo through the streets as the taste of hot chai lingers in my mouth. Motorbikes whizz by below; a monkey appears and casually saunters above, along thick twists of electricity wires. Rickshaws peddle past a peddler sharpening knives by the road-side. We finish brunch and then head off to find Shona’s Alpine to buy some down jackets.
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We find Shona’s and I’m pleasantly surprised by the quality of the goods for sale, even the counterfeits. We kit ourselves out with genuine down jackets at £40 a pop, and I pick up a North Fake waterproof jacket as well. I may not be the most stylish trekker around, but I’ll be warm and (hopefully) dry. Ben runs rampant around the shop. It’s not the most stress-free shopping experience so we get our shit done ASAP.
Back on the streets, walking home I buy some cheap toys for the kids. I’m pretty sure I’ve been taken on the price, but I don’t care. I’m not paying for the toy, I’m paying for the time it keeps the kids entertained. I’m paying for some me-time. The kids can’t stop playing with them on the way home. They play with them for hours at the hotel. £3 very well spent, in my opinion.
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It’s almost 6pm and I sit in bed, typing away on the laptop. I’m tucked up under the massive duvet because as soon as the sun goes down, any residual heat that built up in the room during the day (which is minimal to start with) quickly dissipates. There is no central heating here. The concrete walls and tiled floor do nothing to aid the situation. Come night-time, Alex and I sit in our beds with our new down jackets on. I wear my hand-warmers and woollen socks. It’s like camping, but indoors. The bathroom situation is also kind of like camping. I have to wear a head torch because the light doesn’t work. Neither does the toilet flush, I have to go across the hall to Alex’s if I want one that does. The shower spits out only ice-cold water so I have to go down a few flights of stairs to a shared bathroom with an electric water heater to avail myself of that luxury. It’s noisy too. Kathmandu is full of street dogs, and the night is full of barking and howling as they vie for territory. Voices and music carry on the air and through my thin windows to where I lie in bed trying to fight the jet-lag and will myself to sleep. Still, the rooms are large, the beds comfortable and the duvets warm. For what we’re paying, I can live with some inconveniences.