(3/10/12, approx 10pm, Nepal time)
So the boring, stressful bit of travelling is DONE. All the packing, lists, tickets, stop-overs etc is out of the way. In fairness, I think I enjoy those things more than most. But getting to your destination is half the battle.
The reason I came online tonight when I have barely had more than 5 minute naps here and there since yesterday at 6am, is to remark on how friendly people are. Now, before you tut and scoff and say ‘how naïve’, I have to say that so far, I have got speaking to a number of people who have been lovely, really chatty and animated. Now I LOVE being around people like this because it stops me from withdrawing and becoming shy. Yes, it happens. If they keep talking, it gives me time to think of other topics when the current one dries out. Awkward breeds awkward. I struggle with shy people because they make me want to behave like them. But as I said, I have already met a few characters. I had a London Heathrow operative sit down and chat on the train between terminals before seeing if I would be in Wetherspoons later (I was not, consequently) and I have just returned to my hotel room after my first expedition into Thamel and met some more chatty folks.
I was torn. After being left off at the hotel around 7pm, I was told that it would be best not to go out after 9. I didn’t think I’d be going anywhere at all, until I remembered that the tap water can’t be drunk; even using it to brush my teeth was out of the question. Plus I was absolutely dying to get online to let family and friends know I’d arrived safely and was happy. So out into the dark(ish) streets of Thamel I roamed, taking in the groups of freshly-arrived tourists also out doing the rounds. I considered asking to join them but decided to stay on my mission, which now not only included buying clean water, but also some Slice mango juice and the ever-necessary toilet roll. I had every intention of heading back to the hotel once I had these bought, but I figured I would go deeper into Thamel to see if I could get online.
The first bar, Namaste, had a nice vibe and there was a live band playing, but unfortunately the Wifi service was down and I had no choice but to get up and leave without getting anything. I nearly stayed for a drink out of politeness, but I was too focused on getting connected to speak to friends and family. I will definitely call back there sometime though. I looked around as I stepped out of Namaste and was ushered over by a friendly young Nepali who was employed to draw people in to the bar. I had seen the rooftop area from across the street and figured it would be a pretty nice place to sit for a while, drink in one hand and phone in the other. Developing my social skills and talking to strangers wasn’t part of my mission, not today. However I’d barely got logged on before I was asked by an Australian guy in his 50s and his young companion if they could join my empty table of four. I ended up staying over an hour chatting to Brian and Luke about their travels and mine, as well as what it was like at home etc. I hadn’t spoken that much to anyone since leaving Heathrow so it was nice to socialise, especially when my mood was so buoyant with thoughts of ‘I actually did it! I’m back in Nepal!’ We each shared recommendations of places to visit and things to eat, so it was a fun evening.
So there you have it. Turns out I can converse at length with strangers, and that I can manage on naps alone to keep myself going. No real revelations but hey, it is only my first night here ;)