The Yak Attack posts are ready to go. We’ll begin with a slide of of Kathmandu, the hub of everything you do in Nepal. It’s a large, vibrant and fascinating city and a stark contrast to what most travel to Nepal for. Called the “city of temples”, it’s supposed to have more temples per square mile than anyplace on earth. And it certainly might as it seems like there are small ones on every street corner. Seeing the main attractions–most of this slide show–is a must, but exploring is highly recommended.
Our time here was spent relaxing after our trek to Everest (click for that slide show) and prepping for the race. And while I dig the city’s cultural side, I could have done without its pollution, which caused me to develop a nasty respiratory problem, something very common in Asian cities. That in combination with over exuberence in trying native cuisine–which is most excellent–wasn’t the perfect race prep. But, hey, you don’t travel to Nepal for the perfect race. You’re here for an experience.
As the racers arrived there were group rides heading into the hills around the city daily. The contrast on these rides is wild. Riding in the city is like a video game, trying to dodge obstacles, etc, while inhaling diesel smoke. A short while later you’re in empty forest and can ride forever. Stay out too long, however, and it can be hard just to get back home. Each evening Kathmandu’s streets are so crowded you can barely walk, much less ride.
The music will bring back memories for anyone who’s been here. You hear it on the streets of Thamel, the tourist area of the city, all day/night long. And while I wonder how the locals can stand it there’s something oddly peaceful about Om Mani Padme Hum and I do find myself pining for it every so often.