Long time ago, before we started our family, we have spent 6 months in Kathmandu and we had such a special time that we definitely wanted to show the children the magic of Nepal during this year travels. A trip to memory-lane! The noise, dust, chaos, smells (good and bad), but most of all the people. We sincerely hope that Sterre and Wessel feel the charm and atmosphere and enjoy and appreciate Nepal as we do.
After long lines at the visa-application counters and customs at the airport we stepped out of the arrival hall into the chaos of Kathmandu. People reuniting with their beloved ones, hotel touts, taxi-drivers wanting to take you for exorbitant prices, 5 trolleys piled up with little peeping chicks in boxes (hope they had a good flight), people with loads of luggage and police trying to prevent human traffic jams. We found ourselves an old dusty little taxi (all cars all small here, the smaller the vehicle, the better one can navigate in this chaos), our bags could only fit on the roof (no need to tie them, they won’t fall off, according to the driver), squashed ourselves in the seats and off we went to Thamel, the tourist area. We found ourselves a hotel and a good meal in one of our favorite restaurants (still there after 14 years) and we slept like roses after a very long and hectic day.
We wanted to show the kids the house where we lived 14 years ago and even more the family where we stayed. We walked to the Samakhusi neighborhood where we recognized the way to get to the house and we were so excited to be back. We could see improvement and development of the area and we recognized a lot too. Only to found the exact place of the house was a struggle. Off the main road you enter a kind of maze and we checked around every corner, walked in every possible short cut and path, but we couldn’t recognize the place. Finally we had to give up, called the family and they came to pick us up. We were so happy to see Sunita walking up to us, arms wide open; it was so fantastic (and a little emotional too) to finally meet again. Together we walked back to the house, where Aakriti, the youngest daughter of the family, was waiting for us. Another enthusiastic and warm reunion! We sat down and caught up on what life had been giving us all these years, so good to dig up all those memories. Navraj and Shila, the other part of the family, were at work that day, but we decided to go on a trip all together the next day.
By car we went to Chandragiri, a hill in Kathmandu valley where you can get up by cable car to a beautiful temple and splendid views over the valley and mountains behind (if the weather is clear, which wasn’t the case, but hey, we were in perfect company, so who cares about the Himalayas). The car drive was as you expect them to be in Nepal, dusty, with a lot of noise, cows on the road, car-window-vendors and huge traffic jams, but we had enough to talk about, so again we didn’t bother. The cable car ride was wonderful, slowly going up, in fresh air and green surroundings, dust all gone in this area, the breathtaking views over the valley and chatting and laughing all the way. At the top we visited the temple, had lunch and the kids were enjoying themselves in the playground. After returning to the city we went back to the house for Nepali tea and sweet treats. How often did we sit down at that couch, talking over the day and there we were again, this time with Sterre and Wessel. Such a treasure!
I tried, but cannot fully describe how it was to be back together. Life happened 14 years in a row, the girls have grown up, but we could still recognize so much in them. It was so good to see how lovely people they’ve become. Sunita and Navraj were still the same, didn’t change a bit. It was so nice to reminisce and to look back at the period we lived with them. Of course it was heartwarming how Sterre and Wessel were embraced and loved by the family and vice versa. We were all so happy and thankful to be together, we were all shining so happily. How grateful we are to meet again, to see that the family is doing fine and to spend this wonderful time together.