My flight from Hong Kong to Kathmandu was pretty empty which was good because they moved me to a seat where I could stretch my legs out and get some sleep. At that point I'd been awake for 28 consecutive hours so napping was great. We stopped at Dhaka (capital of Bangladesh) for 30 minutes to let off some passengers before then taking off again for Kathmandu.
I arrived at 10:30 pm local time and was through immigration by 11. The nice thing about going through immigration in Kathmandu late at night is that they're pretty laid back and lax about the whole thing. I'm pretty sure we were the last flight of the day, which helped as all the airport employees seemed to just want to get home and sleep. Don't have a spare passport photo for your visa? No problem, we'll waive that requirement. Does customs need to inspect my luggage or anything? Nope, you're probably not smuggling anything in anyways, just walk right past the checkpoint. You get the idea...
Yanik met me at the airport and we caught a taxi back to his place. He runs the Passage Project, the organization that's been helping plan and manage my stay here. His mother founded the organization in 1996, but she died last year of cancer. It's obviously unfortunate, but all the more so as she sounds like a pretty amazing woman. Besides founding Passage, she also started the Kathmandu Jazz Festival and just generally sounds like someone who was deeply involved in her community. Yanik has taken over as coordinator for Passage in her stead. Together with his partner Tsering, he runs Passage out of an office in his house.
Yanik is very capable and also a really nice guy. I've spent most of the day with him and his knowledge of Nepal and especially Kathmandu is impressive. I swear he knows more people than I thought was possible. He's also a real jazz and hip hop aficionado and does a little freestyling on his own. Yanik and Tsering put together this video (it's on youtube) as a side project for the 2009 Democracy Video Challenge about a year ago. It won the contest and Yanik performs in part of it, so check it out if you have some free time...
|Budhanilkantha looking away from Kathmandu (i.e. North)|
|Marley and Alice doing what they're best at...|
Ok that's it for the moment. I just got back from a trip into Kathmandu proper with Yanik but I'm going to wait to post on it as that will be pretty involved. Just wanted to update everyone and get a few pictures up. More posts in the next few days...