There’s not a single fucking street sign the Kathmandu valley.
This makes trying to find anything on bike a real ordeal. Today, it took me about 30 minutes to find this temple called the Naag Bahal, the site of where a documentary was being played about the topic of garbage. So tonight I sat, huddled outside on cold pavement in the 40 degree Nepal air watching trash. It was actually much more interesting documentary than it sounds. It was about people in the Cairo slums who processed their cities trash for a living.
To find this place, I had to ask about 8 separate bystanders where the hell it was, riding through alleyways sometimes spanning sometimes not more than several meters wide. As I asked these people how to get at my final destination, they each pointed in the direction I needed to go, telling me which way to turn. Unfortunately it’s hard when there are a million alleyways that look the same. Unlike being on foot, you feel like you have to continue driving and it’s harder to stop and adjust your path. At one point, I had to drive through an entire Nepali wedding procession full of dancers, which I promise was no simple task. Upon finding a temple seemingly in the middle of the city, I asked the final Nepali where I was. “Naag Bahal” he replied. My reaction was one of excitement and relief. I had finally arrived.
Lucky for you, I have two stories for this post. On the previous day, my friend was nearly 30 minutes late for our dinner because of her crazy taxi driver. In an attempt to save 5 minutes of time, he attempted to drive down the narrowest of alleys. Unfortunately for him, the taxi was much too large to pass through this given road. The poor driver did everything; he folded his mirrors in and risked scrapping his car against the edges of the alley just to avoid turning back. To his dismay, the taxi would not fit. What was supposed to be a 15 minute tax ride ended up taking 45 minutes of time.
These are just some of the many crazy experiences of driving in Kathmandu.