I arrived in Boudha last night around 23:00 from my month-long pilgrimage and was never so happy to see Kathmandu - even in the dark, when there wasn't much to see. It looked even better in the early morning light.
It was quite a long and arduous day getting here from Lumbini in southern Nepal. The rickshaw driver I had made arrangements with to pick me up at my hotel didn't show up, so I had to scramble to arrange transport to the bus stop for my 7:15 bus to Kathmandu. The bus left 45 minutes late and then for the next 2 hours stopped every few kilometers to pick up passengers. By the time we got on the road and were actually making progress, we ran into a road block erected by the local villagers to extract compensation from the trucker's association for one of their members having run over one of the village children.
We sat around for five hours waiting for the issue to be resolved and were in the process of leaving our bus to walk across the road block and find another bus to Kathmandu on the other side when the strike ended and traffic began to move again.
We didn't get back into the valley until well after dark and as Kathmandu turns in quite early I was worrying about a place to sleep. (A policeman at a check point we crossed asked why we were returning from Lumbini at such a late hour.) Fortunately I was able to call ahead to my guest house and have them leave a key out.
Unfortunately, my traveling companion from Ireland and I ended up in a taxi with a driver who was either mentally deficient or high. There was no smell of alcohol so it wasn't drink, but he was driving very slowly (thankfully!) and having trouble keeping his car on the pavement. He also trouble had understanding where we wanted to go and quoted us a low price, which led at our destination to a little row over money.
The night watchman was waiting with keys and we both had a very restful night. I was hoping to start back to school today, but am instead tying up a few loose ends with my trip and getting settled for a couple of weeks of intensive weeks of practice before Mutsumi and Yoshimi arrive on the 23rd.
As time permits, I'll post some photos and impression from India, but for the next two weeks I'll be focusing on school.
Please accept my best wishes for a prosperous and healthy year.