After a restless night of sleep, I roused at seven-thirty. I had turned the heater off at some point in the night, so leaving the blankets took a lot of courage. I plucked my clothes from my backpack and laid them out on the bed, before turning on the shower water to allow the water to heat up.
After getting ready, I headed downstairs for a free breakfast, courtesy of my hotel. I started with masala chia – traditional spiced Nepali tea. Interesting that chia means tea in Nepal, and chai means tea in Hindi.
The same young man who assisted me yesterday, made me chia and cooked my breakfast.
After breakfast I made my way outside for more exploration. I wanted to walk the streets that weren’t lined with tourist-targeted shops. I wanted to walk the quiet streets that Kathmandu locals walked every day… And my wish came true.
I made a wrong turn and wound up taking the same path that school children were taking, on their way to class. The scarf shops disappeared, only to be replaced by cookware shops, small spice shops, chicken shacks, and temples and shrines. I passed at least eight butcher shops along the same street, before the street came to a close with a large vegetable market.
When I found myself at the bottom of the hill, in the middle of the vegetable market, I turned around. Half way back to the hotel, I found a kind woman to take my picture on the streets of Nepal.
I walked slowly, wishing I had more time there.
Before returning, I again stopped at that same restaurant for an early lunch – as I knew I wouldn’t find anything as delicious (or cheap) at the airport. I ordered a breakfast item off the menu called “musley”, without knowing what it actually was. Much to my surprise, it turned out to be a giant bowl filled with muesli (similar to granola), fresh fruit, and yogurt, with a side of honey! I couldn’t have been happier.
When I returned to the hotel, I gathered my things and prepared to check out. The young man at the counter called a taxi, and as I waited, an old man adorned me with a white silken scarf.
“Have a safe journey. Thank you for staying with us. We look forward to your return to Nepal. Namaste.”
I blushed and pressed my hands together. “Oh thank you. Namaste.”
He led me outside where my taxi was already waiting for me.
When I made it into the airport, I picked up my ticket and proceeded to complete the official departure process. Before completing the second security check, I stopped inside the cafe to search for the perfect candy to take home to my nieces and nephews. I searched two shops before finding a candy made in Nepal: Lapsi candy. A candy made from dried Nepali plum, sugar, and spices.
I purchased the candy and proceeded through the security check, having already separated my electronics. When I collected my bag, a security man asked me something in a Nepalese language. I didn’t understand. He laughed and a female assistant blushed. “You marry a Nepali?” He asked.
I blushed. “Oh, no… An Indian.”
He laughed again, clearly just as happy with my answer. I walked ahead, ready to find my gate.
This story will be continued…