Famished after packing so I went to Gaia (in flipflops) and ordered a cheese omelette set with a fruit muesli bowl. The omelette was pretty much done to perfection.
Had to use up my rupees so I went shopping for pashmina and cashmere scarves after breakfast. These go for a bargain here, with prices ranging from USD5 for a pashmina/wool mix to maybe USD40 for a top grade patterned cashmere scarf. The boss of the shop offered me a job after finding out that I spoke Mandarin hahaha.
The airport pick-up service I've booked with the hotel is running late. The front desk staff are also having problems verifying my payment, and I'm mildly irritated. Trying to sound firm but when I talk my hoarse voice keeps going off-pitch because of my cold, which wipes any authority I might have off the face of the earth.
The staff finally call for a replacement taxi which arrives soon after, but the 5 kilometer drive to the airport takes nearly an hour because we're caught in a jam. I honestly was starting to believe that I would miss my flight. Add to that anxiety the fact that when vehicles are stuck in traffic, child beggars go from car to car, knocking softly on the windows while looking pleadingly at passengers. It makes you feel discomfited and stressed out and guilty all at once.
By the time I reach the airport it's 45 minutes to departure time. Luckily, as I would later learn, departure time in Kathmandu simply means boarding time. Found it quite awesome that Thai Airways had already factored in this delay - we were still expected to touch down in Bangkok at the scheduled time for arrival.
Last glimpse of Kathmandu from the air. Feels kinda surreal that this marks the end of my mini adventure in Nepal.
Nepal's been enriching. Kathmandu Valley is so rich in both history and culture, and it's beyond incredible that the country as a whole is home to 8 of the 14 mountains in the world that are over 8000 metres tall. The views offered in the mountainous regions are probably as spectacular as it's gonna get. Kathmandu itself may be congested and plagued with problems like frequent power or hot water outages, but it's cool that folks there have managed to establish order within the chaos. It's certainly been an eye-opening experience and has left me with a newfound appreciation for all the conveniences I take for granted back home. Well, at least for the three days before I return to being jaded.
Will I return to Nepal? Probably not in the near future. Too many other places I haven't been to. But it's shown me just how beautiful the world can be, sometimes in the most unexpected of ways. For that, I'm glad this trip happened.
On a personal level I've learned that a solo trip isn't going to leave you spiritually fulfilled. If you're looking to run away from people or things, like I was, I'm sorry to have to break the news that your problems aren't going to magically disappear just because you went on a holiday. I left confused and I returned none the wiser. If only it were that easy to attain enlightenment... then poor Buddha seriously got the short end of the stick.
What I have realised however, is that I am capable of surviving outside of my comfort zone. A year ago, I wouldn't have done a trek. Hell, I probably wouldn't even have come to Nepal. And yet a year later, here I am. I've surprised myself. Now I'm looking forward to seeing where I'll be a year from today. I'd like to stop thinking about where life will lead me to and be the one leading life instead. I believe I can do that.