Finding Birendra's home

Previous page - We arrive in Kathmandu

 

A rickshaw ride in Kathmandu

Our feet were somewhat sore. Remember I had blisters from climbing Tiger’s Nest and Jeremy had his sore ankle. We decided that rather than walking back to Birendra’s office we would hire a rickshaw. Only two people could fit in the rickshaw and luckily we managed to hail two at the one spot. We showed both drivers Birendra’s business card so they would understand where we wanted to go to. Ian and I hopped in the first one and Jeremy clambered into the one behind us. Off we went bumping along the narrow streets. I felt like I should have had a hand rail in front of me. It would have been so easy to tip out onto the road head first if we had come to a sudden halt.

I wanted to check that Jeremy was close behind us but I knew if I leaned out of the rickshaw the darned thing might have tipped over. Ian looked in shop windows and managed to see Jeremy’s reflection not far behind us at all. Phew! I would hate to have lost him on day one in this madhouse city. Despite a couple of setbacks when the drivers both seemed lost, we managed to get back in one piece. We felt we were back a tad early plus we were very thirsty and hot so we decided to defer going up to his office until we had a cold drink.

 

 

Huge waffles and cream Waffles and cream

We back-tracked to the place Birendra had taken us to at lunch time. We were happy to go back there because it seemed hygienic plus we knew there were clean toilets on the premises. We weren’t hungry but thought we had better order something so we could hang around a bit longer than it would have taken to just demolish our drinks. We decided on waffles with chocolate sauce and cream. I really felt like ice cream but they told me they didn’t serve waffles with ice cream. Fortunately we had decided to share one order. It was quite huge and even with three of us eating we couldn’t finish it.

 

We attempt to follow Birendra home

Back at Birendra’s office everyone grabbed their gear and headed down to the street. Birendra rides a small motor bike rather than a car as it is easier to park it and far quicker to zip around the narrow streets in. He parks it just a few metres from his office in the fore court of the Kumari Hotel. He got himself organized, called for a taxi on his mobile phone and the general idea was the taxi driver would follow him and take us three plus our gear to his house.

Birendra emphasized where he lived to the taxi driver. He told the driver that if by chance he got lost or couldn’t find the address then he should take us to the Indian Embassy which is quite near his home. It sounded fine in theory but it all very quickly went pear shaped. Birendra zoomed off, once around the first corner the taxi driver lost sight of him and didn’t know where to go. He obviously had forgotten that the Indian Embassy location formed plan B. It was fast getting dark. The driver sensibly stopped his car. He could not speak English and we didn’t speak Nepalese. Stalemate! 

We handed the driver Birendra’s business card which had his mobile phone number on it. The driver called the number several times but each time he got a message played back to him.  No-one really knew what was the best move to make. We thought Birendra might re-trace his path and find us waiting in the taxi on the side of the road. We waited there for what felt like about 20 minutes. No sign of Birendra. Between us and the taxi driver somehow we worked out that we should return to the front of Birendra’s office. The driver took us back and waited with us for a while at the front of Hotel Kumari.  He was talking to the staff at the front of the hotel for a few minutes but seeing as we didn’t have Birendra’s home address in writing it was impossible for anyone to direct him there. We told him, as best we could, that we would pay him for our ride. We felt that more time spent with us meant he was losing money from his lack of fares. He may have got lost or forgotten the address but the poor man didn’t nick off and desert us. So we waited…and waited. What on earth had happened to Birendra. Surely he must find us here. What shall we do if he doesn’t come and find us? I decided to go into the Hotel Kumari (seeing as we had been hovering in their fore court for ages) and ask what accommodation was available and what were the costs involved. Seems we could easily get two rooms for a total of $35 AUD. Not only is food cheap in Kathmandu but accommodation obviously is too. I explained our situation to the young man at reception and he helped me get Wi-Fi on my little lap top so that I could email Birendra to tell him we would wait for another half an hour and then we would book in to Hotel Kumari if he hadn’t found us. Moments after doing that, Birendra showed up on his motor bike.

 

Birendra gets cross

Birendra asked us what happened so we related the tale. He was so angry with the taxi driver. He had been circling the area near his house and by the Indian Embassy over 20 times on his motor bike waiting for this taxi driver. He was really very worried that the taxi driver had done something with us and he couldn’t think what. Birendra is such an organized and efficient person so things like this mess-up really agitated him. The poor soul was very apologetic.

 

The work jacket works well

The whole of the time we were waiting in front of the hotel Jeremy was standing right out on the pavement in an obvious spot so Birendra would see him. Ian and I stood back a bit with the luggage.
Because he was right on the street Jeremy got offered all sorts of things: travel advice, fruit and vegetables, massages and marijuana (several times). He got a bit fed up with people approaching him, especially when it was involving drugs so he decided to dig out his jacket from within his rucksack. The jacket he brought with him was his work jacket. It even looks like a work jacket because it has those luminous lime green areas on it. He brought it with him because he knew it was so warm and would offer protection from the cold in Tibet. It turns out it also offered protection from street vendors too. As soon as folk saw it they headed off in the opposite direction. I think they thought Jeremy was a policeman. He certainly never got offered drugs again whilst wearing that jacket.

 

A wonderful end to a stressful day Delicious Nepali meal cooked by Birendra's wife

A second taxi ride to Birendra’s

As soon as Birendra had calmed down he ordered another taxi and we started again. This time it all worked well and a short time later we arrived at his house.

We met Birendra’s lovely wife and his two children who are delightful. We were shown our rooms and given cups of tea. Later Birendra’s wife cooked us a tasty Nepalese meal which was a real treat.

We spent ages talking to Birendra and learning about Nepal. At one stage the power went out. Birendra explained that they have many power outages in Nepal. Each area of Kathmandu takes turns to lose power on a daily basis. The situation is much worse in winter when the power is off for as much as 12 hours a day. Nepal is dependent on hydro power and when there isn't enough rain, as in the dry winter months, there simply isn't enough power to share around. This report is interesting Problems caused by lack of power in Nepal

 

Next page - Boudhanmath Stupa

 

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