First thoughts from Nepal


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I arrived in Nepal this afternoon. I'm here to visit some of Plan's projects and meet some of the folks working on them. But that's all work stuff that I'll be getting into over the next week. For today, I was a tourist. So what about the place itself? My first impressions of Nepal have been generally positive. Maybe it's the refreshing, crisp climate going to my head, but there's something very lethargic about Kathmandu that makes me feel at ease here. There's a busyness in the streets, sure, but it's so scaled back it blends into the backdrop of mountains and clouds.

I had a walk around Thamel — the main tourist spot — and it's similar to Hanoi in many ways: narrow streets, all kinds of shops on top of each other and a distinct lack of Western influence. There are tourists milling around, but not in great numbers. The locals barely bat an eyelid as I walk past. It's not a modern city — you can get your hair cut sat on a chair by the side of the road — but it really is rather marvellous.

Of course, I've only been here a matter of hours, but if the coffee is anything to go by, I think I'll enjoy my stay. I don't think I'd actually ever really enjoyed a cup of coffee until today. A work buddy picked me up on his motorbike and drove me to a restaurant and it was there that I came across Himalayan Java coffee.

I know nothing about coffee, but this was the best cup I have ever had. This was the first time in my life I actually enjoyed drinking a cup of the black stuff.

Cup of Himalayan Java coffee
Cup of Himalayan Java coffee

I also devoured a plate of momos, or Nepalese dumplings. These were great, especially with the terrific tomato-based dipping sauce.

Momo dumplings
Momo dumplings

So there I was enjoying my momos when I caught sight of a group of four street kids in an alleyway playing cards and sniffing glue out of a paper bag. They couldn't have been more than about 10 or 11. It was a curious moment and I am sure there will be many more over the coming days.

That's about all I've done so far. I have a busy schedule set for the coming week, but I'll try and post some pics from the field while I'm out and about.

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