Kathmandu, Nepal, June 2016. An early morning stomp to the Kantipath road for a 7 Am bus to Pokhara. Its a 6 hours bane shaking, white knuckle ride to the tourist hot spot – famous for having a scenic view of the western Himalayas, famous for having the counties prettiest lake and famed for having escaped the April 25th 2015 earthquake, unscathed! Given the places proximity to the quakes epicentre at Gorkha, Pokhara was very lucky to have survived, Largely due to development being relatively new with construction standards significantly better than elsewhere in Nepal. Saturday April 25th 2015 was a day that changed a nation forever and a day that will stick in my mind as I was on my way to Pokhara, and just near the Gorkha area when the quake struck – a date that will live in infamy. There actually wasn’t much to effect us on the bus. traffic halted for a few minutes as the ground gently vibrated and swayed – at the time I guessed it might be a landslide close by. Not until a few hours later did I realise the magnitude of what had just happened.
Piles of rubble along side neatly stacked bricks as rebuilding and repairing quake damaged buildings continues – brick br brick. And so as Kathmandu wakes up to another sunny warm day its business as usual, and quite brisk at 6.15 AM – fruit and vegetable sellers spreading out their goods on the pavements, milk and bread sellers pitching up in shop doorways and of course tea, there’s always a pot of steaming milk tea on the go close by!
Kantipath as usual is a hive of activity with about 30 buses lined up, centred on the Hotel Yellow Pagoda.. Most are bound for Pokhara Central Nepal and Chitwan near the Indian Border. 7 AM is the departure time for each and every bus, so I’ve just about got time to grab some breakfast from the Green cafe about halfway up and some milk tea from the tea carts parked conveniently opposite my bus – Holiday travels. Fruit sellers, nuts, water, pastry and bread sellers all giving the hard sales pitch at inflated prices – water 100 rupees, just 20 in Thamel! There’s Wifi on the bus, and it works reasonably well too. A quick update on Facebook then as the bus journey to Pokhara gets underway – about 6 hours is the norm, but of course it only takes one lorry to break down and it all grinds to a halt on the Prithivi Highway!
Here’s a few snapshots from the days journey….
Early morning Kathmandu with fruit and veg sellers pitching up on the pavements.
Demolition of a quake damaged building, brick by brick.
Waking up on the narrow streets of Thamel.
Kantipath is a hive of activity early morning. Tea for 20 rupees, sweet and delicious.
As the bus rolls out of Kathmandu.
And in to the Himalayan foot hills.
Next…Prithivi Highway to Pokhara, not for travellers with a nervous disposition.