Through my eyes

living my life without regrets

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Flight to Nepal

Patience is a virtue. I am a sinner and blow up when things are blatantly avoidable. Well, I blow up sometimes, not this time but a lot of the frustrations today could have been avoided.

We had a wake up call @ 6.30 for a flight from New Delhi to Kathmandu. The actual flight time is just 70 minutes. At the Airport in New Delhi we had to get a stamp next to the entrance visa indicating that we are now leaving India. It’s easy, right?  Not if you are in India and have to deal with very narrow minded bureaucrats. It took forever to get this stamp. The clerk I dealt with wanted to see my entrance visa paper copy to compare the numbers the previous clerk wrote into my passport. Then he had trouble getting his computer to show my picture, then he was not sure if the previously recorded fingerprints were mine or not. Basically, he wanted to sign me in again before he stamped me out. It took forever, not only with me, but also the other people in line. Bureaucrats! Are they aware of the havoc they create? The delays they cause? The frustration and anguish they pass on?  There was no call for this Indian emigration clerk to be so knit-picky, but yes I understand, he has to put in his hours of work and it does not matter to him/her who is in line and has to wait. With all this “exactness” we were 45 minutes late leaving the gate to board our plane and then had to sit inside the plane for additional 35 minutes waiting for a new slot on the runway lineup. I never liked bureaucrats; they are just too persnickety for me.

So now we arrive in Kathmandu, albeit late, of course. Once off the plane we had to stand in line to apply for a visa. You would have thought they would hand out visa applications inside the plane, right? No, once off the plane we had to fill out a form sitting on the floor inside the arrival hall. It was so busy; the few standing room only rails were overrun with visa applicants. So most of the waiting passengers, even from other flights, sat on the floor, filled out their form and then stood in line to pay $25 US for the visa. We knew we had to have a passport picture and were prepared for that but it still took quite a while to finally pay for the visa. Did I get a visa? No! This was just the line to get a slip that showed you paid for the visa, the actual visa line was doubly long and the wait to finally get an entrance visa into Nepal snaked around what seemed like forever. It takes patience to submit to that. It takes patience to deal with narrow minded, lazy bureaucrats. Carol is much better at dealing with them then I am. I feel frustrated when dealing with blatant ignorance. Finally, after hours we could collect our luggage which sat in the hall just waiting for us. Naturally, we had to wait until our entire group dealt with the immigration fiasco before we could leave the airport.
Dusty, Narrow Road Up a Mountain to Fort Resort

Patience is a virtue and I am not virtuous.

I think it was near 3 pm before we just dropped off our bags at the hotel and went back on the bus for a drive out of town, a dinner overlooking Kathmandu in an old fort, with a campfire and watching the sunset. The road up to the old fort in Nagarkot is old; narrow and old and time forgotten. Some stretches were paved with lots of potholes. Some sections were under construction to make the road wider. On the hour drive I saw one crew of about 6 people actually working, the rest of the construction area was just a mess of sandy lanes, construction material thrown about and heart-stopping driving conditions. Our bus driver was really, really good. He was unfazed by cows on the road, turns so tight he had to back up a bit to make the curve, people walking disregarding traffic, etc. I am not sure if this was worse than what we have seen in New Delhi but the mountainous, sheer drop off proximity made it seem worse.
Road Under Construction

Holy cow! Yes, they had a few of those standing in the road, blocking traffic. What a country!

After we reached the old fort, now converted into a resort, we had a bonfire but the cool, cold temps of the high elevation, oncoming night and the gnats drove us all inside real quick. The actual dinner was? Meh! Or are we just not used to their foods! How was the view from the top? Sorry, the pollution of the Kathmandu valley is so bad, all one can see is mostly covered in smog. I am sure years ago it was a wonderful vista, but progress has damaged the air quality of the valley.
Bonfire on the Patio - But View is Obscured By Smog

We ate our dinner, and then walked back in the dark to the bus. I was glad I had a flashlight in my pocket. Walking was equally dangerous; the last thing I wanted was a twisted or broken ankle in Nepal.

Back on the bus and now in the pitch dark, without any streetlights the bus driver performed a miracle. He brought us back to the hotel without any incident. Bravo to the bus driver.

Driving Down the Mountain in the Dark

I was glad to be in a nice bed that night.

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