My Tale of Two Cities

For me, there were two gateways to the Himalayas… two cities… two very different cities.

The first city was one I never planned to visit.   Well, honestly, perhaps I never thought I would visit either place.  That’s the grand treasure of this world!  Not knowing where we’re headed, and happily happening into one amazing place after the next.

To get to Nepal, Gary chose to fly through Dubai.  It was a great decision.  To give us some recuperation time for jet lag and the long flight, we spent two nights there, giving ourselves one full day.

To get to the trekking portion of our journey, our guides planned a full day for us in Kathmandu.  More time to adjust and acclimate.

Did I have expectations?  I suppose so.  I expected Dubai to be a bustling, wealthy city.  I expected Kathmandu to have an old world feel with exotic markets and stalls.  I was a little bit right.

I didn’t expect Dubai to be so elegant and calm.  I didn’t know Deira Creek would be so large, filled with lovely dinner boats floating along so gracefully.  I thought that seeing women in solid black burqas would feel oppressive to me.  I didn’t expect these women to glide along on highly polished floors, moving like royalty.  I had no idea what we would eat, and the breakfasts were my favorite.  Freshly made yogurt, dates, walnuts, delicious coffee.  Walking through the spice and gold souks – even though you must do the hard work of saying “no thank you” repeatedly to purchasing a Rolex “copy watch” or a chunk of divinely scented frankincense – was still a very relaxing experience.

I was pleasantly surprised at every turn, and found myself wishing for more time in this beautiful city.  It was truly an oasis.

A four hour flight brought us to Kathmandu, and we shifted gears!

Getting off the plane was the first eye-opener.  Our Nepalese traveling companions poured onto the tarmac, jammed into a bus, then came bursting off of that bus and into the terminal with the energy of children in a foot race. 

We arrived at night, and our wild ride through the dark streets of the ancient city woke us right up from the jet-lagged haze we’d been suffering through.

It was exciting… walking in this crazy labyrinth of old narrow streets, cobbled and pot-holed, seemingly wide enough for only one car, but incredibly managing the two-way traffic of cars and buses and motorcycles and rickshaws and walkers and dogs.   And shop after shop after shop of colorful woven hats and pashminas, hiking gear, paintings, relics, fruit… horns honking, dust flying, incense filling the air, curry drifting on the breeze.  Nothing gliding, everyone caught up in the grand frenzy that is Kathmandu.

I was enchanted at every turn, chatting with school children, astounded that after so many years of hearing the magical name of this place, I was truly there.

To arrive in a city not really knowing what to expect… that’s the serendipitous joy of travel for me.  Ahhh… that’s the reason they’re called Happy Trails.


5 Responses to “My Tale of Two Cities”

  1. lawaanda calton says:

    I can’t believe you’ve “been there” and “done that”! But you have and I am so happy for you!

  2. Marcea Clive says:

    All I can say is “Wow”!

  3. Cheryl says:

    Truly just whetting our appetites! Love this beginning.:)

  4. Victoria Lops says:

    How exciting! I would love to go to Dubai to buy rugs!

  5. Kim says:

    How exciting!!!

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