Having checked in to a much more pleasant hotel, as I promised myself, with a little electric heater, nice big south facing window, hot water, complimentary towel and soap and even a pair of flip flops to go in and out of the bathroom I feel much better and was comfortably able to see out the phase of diarrhea which, thank God, has passed now.
Thus I have since been finally able to get out a bit and explore the good and bad of kathmandu and, to a small extent, its wider encompassing valley. Unfortunately the bad, for me, weighs heavily on the opinion I have formed of this place and it is due the nature and severity of the problem. It is simply the most polluted place I have and probably ever will visit. In terms of air quality i read somewhere that it ranks second to last in the entire world with only Bangladesh keeping it from bottom place. Being the dry season the dust levels are very high and there seems to be numerous factors that contribute to vehicle pollution buildup. Every other truck, jeep, car or bike churns out clouds of black smoke so vehicle maintenance is extremely poor. Whether this is down to the fault of vehicle owners, clueless ‘mechanics’ or poorly regulated diesel/petrol quality I have now idea. It is made worse however by the microclimate of the valley in which the heat of the sun above the valley locks in the cold air and also the pollution creating this bubble of smog. The smog is quite severe consequently visibility in the valley is very poor and most people thus go about their daily life wearing masks whilst in the street. It is horrible I tell you and a tragedy for the people that live here!
The good is the relaxed nature of the people, the amazing Hindu and Buddhist heritage and architecture and the natural beauty beyond the valley and into the mountains for which circumstance didn’t permit me to explore this time around though doubtless it is truly spectacular.
Hopefully you can get a taste of the good and the bad in some of these snaps…
Afternoon sun over the river and some of the valley’s agriculture.
Colourful perhaps but not pretty.
Straw huts in the village
Great Boudhanath stupa.
Medieval village – Kirtipur
Golden temple – Buddhist one.
Beautiful wood carving.
Smoggy city view from Swayambhunath stupa.
Pigeons at durbar square.
Temples, temples in every nook and cranny!
Well that’s more than enough photos and that’s the lot most likely as I am back to India in a few days having successfully renewed my visa which is after all what brought me to Nepal in the first place… I wouldn’t have thought it but I am actually quite keen to get back to the familiarity of India!