Life in Kathmandu
The capital of Nepal, Kathmandu is the biggest city in Nepal, and although it is scenically beautiful surrounded by towering mountains and lush vegetation it is home to the dirtiest, poorest, unsanitary, and most lawless conditions the world has to offer. Upon arriving I spent one long hour shuffling through customs at the kathmandu airport thinking thought my bladder was going to explode. I finally made it to the nearest restroom, and as a stepped through the door into the 3 inches of water covering the bathroom floor i was given my first impression of kathmandu. The bathroom smelled like rust and decaying rodents, and i might have well peed on the floor because it was obvious that the toilet hadnt been flushed in weeks, and no one had the intention of flushing it anytime soon. After gathering my suitcase I stepped out of the airport and saw the chaos of Kathmandu. I was immediately greeted by crowd of men fighting over who could carry my bag and hopefully claim a dollar or two in tip money that would undoubtedly get them through the rest of the day. I later found out that the average income of a citizen of Nepal is less then 200 U.S dollars a year, and everyday millions of people in Nepal work all day and would be lucky to make 5 or 6 dollars.
Leaving the airport I piled into a small van with the rest of my group and we headed to our hotel. Once we started driving I realized that there are absolutely no traffic rules,lights, or regulations. Everywhere we went it was bumper to bumper with horns blazing the entire time as other cars would come within inches of us going 30 or 40 miles and hour. Driving along i witnessed the streets that were packed with dogs, families digging through garbage, and even water buffalo in the heart of the city. Our van came to a stop three little kids came up to my window and explained to me how hungry they were and asked me for money, after i explained to them that i didn't have any money they asked the motorcycle driver next to us, and he just pushed them off like they were stray dogs. Driving through the dust and pollution we passed countless roadside shops and street venders who were all selling the same North Face knockoffs and other trinkets that would hopefully catch a tourists eye.
We finally reached our hotel in downtown Kathmandu, by American standards this hotel would be a no better then a motel 6, it would surely be a high classed hotel by Nepal standards. Looking out on the streets I came to realized that even through the poverty and the rundown atmosphere of the city people still seemed to maintain an upbeat attitude and positivity. Kathmandu is living testament to human resiliency, and the fact that quality of life can be very different from quality of environment.