Friday, 3 October 2008

Kathmandu or bust...

So I finally arrived in Kathmandu, after various ups and downs, and having managed to snatch half an hours sleep (making it at least an hours sleep in the previous 24 hours).

The first trauma was getting a visa. Luckily it is possible to attain a visa upon entry to Nepal without too much trouble. I say that... It wouldn't have been too much trouble if I had any money at all on me... Well, any dollars, pounds, euros or other major denominations on me.

I asked where the nearest ATM was and was told it was downstairs, past the visa control. was slightly nervous about this after the impossibility of getting past customs in India, but I needn't have worried... The ATM machine was in fact outside the airport, so I had to go through the visa control, down an escalator, through a security check, past the luggage carousel, through customs, and out of the airport. I did this without any hassle whatsoever, and in fact the police were very helpful the whole time in helping me to enter the country illegally...

My first major problem in fact was to get through the throngs of taxi drivers that were trying to take me to their hotels. I said no firmly to them all, and looked around for the ATM, which was luckily very well signposted. One of the taxi drivers tagged along with me anyway, and "showed" me where the ATM was...

Second major issue was discovering that the only ATM for about 5 miles was out of order...

The taxi driver offered to take me to a bank which was just around the corner. It was closed...

Then the taxi driver offered to lend me the money I needed to get my visa. I realised that I had little choice in the matter and agreed to his proposal then headed back into the airport clutching the cash and paperwork that I needed. Back through customs the wrong way, past the luggage conveyor, through a security check... the wrong way, up a down escalator (a bit like being on the travellator on gladiators...), past the lift which i saw that i could have taken up to the first floor, back through the visa control area, and to the back of the queue for visas.

With my newly stamped visa in mt passport I headed down the escalator again, through the security check, only to discover that my luggage hadn't arrived...

I shouldn't have been surprised really, I hadn't seen my backpack since I left Cyprus... Even if it had made it to Delhi I only had the words of the staff at Delhi that it had been picked up, that it had been kept safe, and that it had gotten on the flight. One of the last things that the staff there had done was hand me a label which was supposedly the ticket for my luggage. And bearing in mind that I hadn't even known that I was getting the flight until 20 minutes before it took off it wasn't too much of a surprise that my luggage hadn't made it onto the plane... Besides, the way my travels were going so far it would have been bucking the trend for my luggage to have arrived straight away...

I found out from someone that there would be some luggage on the next flight from Delhi, which was due in about an hour, so I went outside the airport (through customs again!) and told the driver the bad news. He wanted me to go for a cup of tea with him, but I decided to stay at the airport and wait for my bags, so I told him to wait outside for me and headed back inside (past customs again!!).

To cut a long story short my bags did finally arrive,not before most of the other people that were waiting for bags had left. I can honestly say that I have never been more relieved to see a bag in my life!

So I made my way past customs (for the 5th and final time!!!) and headed out into the (relatively) clear air outside the airport, only to discover that the taxi driver that I owed the cash to had vanished....

I think I'll save the finale (i hope) of the story for another post...

1 comment:

namrin said...

That's pretty exciting! Good on you you had your bag back! I would be VERY frustrated but I always plan more or less lol

I once failed my transit flight in Egypt and I was very upset and mad with helpless Egyptians lol. However, it was less worse than your case....at least I have my luggage with me :)