I will say Kathmandu was never on my travel list. Neither was the country of Nepal. I'm no mountain climber even though I grew up in the foothills of the Maine Appalachian mountains. Sure I've made a few easy hikes up Bald mountain and Tumbledown when I was younger, but nothing too arduous.
Nepal really seems like an extension of India to me with some Chinese Tibetan influences. The food and spices are nearly the same as India, which I found to be a plus. I especially love the saffron and turmeric.
This trip was kind of a spur of the moment thing. I entered the country without a plan other than to get out and explore. This trip doesn't crack the top ten list of places I've enjoyed, but I certainly don't regret any place I've gone.
While exploring the inner city I was approached by a rickshaw driver. Now rickshaws can be motorized or of the pedal variety. This one was a pedal mechanism. I normally would refuse these offers as I just feel guilty having some guy work hard to pedal me around. It's also a bit embarrassing to be riding on my throne being chauffeured while the locals walk past and stare. But in this instance the driver was persistent. He told me how his family relies on him to make money to support them and this is the only means he has. He played the right song for me so I agreed.
As you know from my previous posts I don't like scammers. But if someone is willing to be upfront with me I'm happy to help out, especially if they're willing to work for it. To rephrase Charles Pinckney, "Millions for charity but not one penny for tribute!"
This wasn't exactly charity (nor was it a million dollars) but since I didn't want the ride I considered it as such.
Nice guy but his English was understandably broken.
He took me through the streets of the working area of Kathmandu. We did not make stops which I found unusual. I know in many countries these drivers make commission by taking tourists to shops. They get a percentage of what the tourist buys there. (They don't tell you this). So I was happy he seemed to be an honest man.
We continued on our journey:
Notice the lack of cars in the photos. Most people walk. If they have a motorized conveyance it is usually a motorbike. My driver pedals because it takes no gas and is cheaper to buy and maintain.
Love this guy. Would love to know his story. But can't stop to talk on a rickshaw ride.
The people here, although one of the more wealthy in this part of the world, cannot afford many of the things we take for granted. It seemed odd to me that a city of 1.5 million was not traffic congested on every street.
When he gets into the sun, out comes the umbrella!
This photo exemplifies why I don't like rickshaw rides. It's embarrassing. You can see the locals staring. It makes me feel like I'm portraying myself as being better. Very embarrassing for me.
I've only taken a few pedal rickshaws in my life. I think one in China and one in Thailand. I'm glad I did this one for the experience and to help a working man out, but I certainly prefer other means of transport.
The city of Kathmandu is actually much less congested than the larger cities I've been in neighboring India. I have a post coming soon about my walking the streets of Kolcutta (I remember as Calcutta) in India. Now that was an interesting experience!