Wandering around Kathmandu streets you come across a number of sights. Some of which you will never forget.
A cramped city, this magical place is packed with treasures for the imagination.
We found that the further we got off the main roads in Thamel the more pronounced the gap between the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ became.
The diversity of day to day life was perplexing. People who had very little going on nothing were happy and proud of their small slice of the world.
A clutched handful of twigs made for an effective broom as one lady took the time to sweep the front of her home, diligently shunting the rubbish to the front of her neighbour’s home.
While we strolled past her neighbour came out and swept the rubbish back to where it had come from.
We laughed inside as we watched this ‘tit for tat’ exchange took place.
Back in the heart of Kathmandu, while following a walking route described in the Lonely Planet guide, we found our way to Freak Street. Now known as Johchhen Tole (झोछेँ टोल) or Nisthananda Marg on some maps, this iconic area is right in the southern edge of the Kathmandu Durbar Square.
Back in the 1960s and 1970s this street drew many a hippie in search of pot. It was the home of the Government run hashish shops.
Even to this day you will get asked if you want to buy hashish more than a dozen times before the hour is out.
The buildings stood out to me as something peculiar. Arched doorways were not uncommonly low, many of which I would have to stoop considerably to pass through.
The architecture was a mix of old and new, all crammed together like a mouth full of crowded teeth. Some looked substantially worse for wear than others. Many of these on a later visit after the 2015 earthquakes were still standing, despite not having been built to any specific code.
You didn’t need to look far to see the desperation in Kathmandu. Poverty is a very clear part of day to day life for many.
I felt that people don’t tend to ‘live’ in Kathmandu more than ‘exist’. Getting by on much less than very little, and clinging to the edges of life, they eke out what they can to make it to the next day.