Thursday, May 30, 2013

DC to London to Delhi to Kathmandu!

Dear readers,

As you know, Mollie’s adventure to Asia is under way!  While she’s away, I’m going to be holding down the fort here at Eat, Run, Read.  I’ll introduce myself properly a little later, but rest assured, I’m no stranger. 

Without further ado, news from Mollie: 

First things first: I'm happy to report that the journey went according to plan and I'm alive and well in Kathmandu! Now we back-track three days, because that's how long it took to get here...

I'm about to go trekking in Nepal, but first I spent a day trekking in London -- and I mean that literally. For some unknown reason I had to pick up my bag for the duration of my layover, meaning I had a huge backpacking pack to lug around with me for the day.

After an epic trip from DC to Dulles, which may or may not have included a last-minute stop at REI, and a red-eye into Heathrow on which I did not sleep -- or, if I dozed, it was less like sleep and more like torture, as only transportation sleeping can be -- I made my way into the city via subway for my first London (and first European for that matter) experience.

Guys, it's amazing how much you can see if you just walk a TON! By 3pm, I'd seen Trafalgar Square, Westminster Abby, the Thames, the London Eye, Buckingham Palace, Mo Farrah finishing a 10k in under 30 minutes, the National Gallery, and Portobello Road. It was all pretty cool -- I love exploring new places! The impressionist wing at the gallery was beautiful (when 007 meets Q in Skyfall that's where they are). And considering London's questionable reputation, I couldn't have ordered better weather: sunny and high 60s!

 Unfortunately the pack definitely made everything harder, and by the end of the day solo with no phone/texting, I was lonely. I actually felt the urge to chat with strangers, which is not my usual jam at all! Now I see what people mean when they say that when you travel alone you end up making friends along the way. Otherwise there'd be no one to talk to!

Also, I looked hilariously out of place. Basically, I'm not willing to a) sit on airplanes for 2 days in jeans, or b) waste precious bag space on "real" clothes for just one day. And trekking-in-Nepal clothes don't exactly lend themselves to the London lifestyle...whoops! Sorry Americans, I'm doing nothing good for our image abroad.

By early afternoon I was EXHAUSTED, and returned to the airport to pass out on a bench and await my next flight -- 7 hours to Delhi. Love me some Jet Airways in-flight Indian food. No really, I'm being serious! Palak paneer and chapatti?!  Yes, please!

By the end of my London-Delhi flight, I had lost all sense of time and normality, which is probably good because it will make adjusting to the time change super-easy. I was so sleepy it hurt on the flight into Kathmandu and everything was happening in a am-I-there-yet? zombie-esque blur.

But I arrived! And saw some pretty amazing mountains out the airplane windows on my way.

The Kathmandu airport is small, but of course the experience was confusing -- an assortment of smiling Nepalese men swirling around me, herding me places and telling me what to do. I always forget how stupid travel makes me feel -- of course you can return backwards through the metal detectors and security to apply for your visa. And well, duh you can pay for your cab in dollars in advance and the get your change in rupees! Yes yes! Follow me please! You look like you need help! Don't forget your wallet! Welcome to my country! It's all nice and not creepy, just a bit overwhelming at times. And I'm pretty sure that as a woman obviously traveling alone, the people helping me thing is taken to a whole new level. I don't mind at all though -- I trust the Nepalese to know what's up in their country better than I do, so I'm happy to follow instructions.

So anywho, I'm here in my hostel -- literally on the other side of the world from most of my readers -- showered and ready to SLEEP. Sister2 arrives tomorrow (yay) and then who knows what happens next!?

Hustle and bustle!

It's not Bikeshare, but it'll do!