Kathmandu April 4, 2008

Hi it’s Amy and Lori!

We had a great flight from LA to Bangkok. We were completely lounged, full body reclined in our seats for 17 hours. After a 12 hour sleep, better than at home, we woke up and asked for a second cup of coffee. We were surprised to hear the flight attendant reply, “Ridiculous!” Little did she know we really wanted a Vente – skinny, caramel, double cap, no foam, extra hot macchiato! We laughed the rest of the flight. From the time we exited the airplane, we were shocked by the extreme smells. It was very hot and humid and the air was full of pollution. We needed two cabs to get to the hotel. Our Dad went in one and we went in the other. We played “Name That Artist” with the cab driver. We would play a song for him and he would guess the artist. He guessed Madonna right but needed extra clues for Michael Jackson. The clue that gave it away was, “He was black and is now kind of white!” Surprisingly, he had never heard of Britney Spears – imagine that! It was fun seeing him laugh a lot! He told us about all of the beautiful places in Bangkok to visit. Unfortunately, our two day visit didn’t allow us to explore the country outside of Bangkok.

What a cultural shock! Our hotel was nice, located amongst very run down, poor structures and locals as well as couture shopping. We found that to be very odd. There were NO deals in these stores! In fact, the prices were at least double or triple the amount you would pay in the US. We found it more fun bargaining with the locals on the street and in make shift tents called “shopping malls.” We found that we could outfit an entire village by shopping in these outdoor bazaars. It was interesting to see the origin of so many goods that are imported and sold in America.

The biggest tourist attraction here is The Grand Palace. In order to get in we had to buy a shirt to cover our arms and rent a long skirt to cover our legs. What a sight to see! We took lots of pictures! The temple with The Reclining Buddha was especially interesting. He was about four stories high and was shimmering gold. The details in the artistry were spectacular. The palace lit up in the evening and we were able to appreciate its beauty at night while on a dinner cruise. The music was a true “karaoke band.” haha! We had so much fun. We met some nice people and danced to some FUN music!!! To end the night, we had to visit the night bazaar. We thought Dad could use a second pair of jeans. So we were excited to buy him a nice new pair. They even do alterations as you wait! Dad was sleeping on a chair in the bustling street. When we got back to the hotel we had him try them on. We were so excited to see him in some new nicely fitting jeans. He came out of the bathroom saying, “There is NO way I will wear these. They are way too tight. Thanks for the thought. No way!” We must admit. They were pretty designer, straight legged and very TIGHT! We have laughed so much on this trip!

Our trip to the airport in our hot pink cab was quite a trip! Again, our Dad was in a separate cab. Lori was the lucky one who got to sit in the front seat and Amy got to sit in the back buried by all of the luggage. Lori didn’t realize her strength from all of her training, so when she closed her door the entire car shook. Our driver instinctively grabbed his ear and stared at her with some evil eyes. She apologized profusely but he was not letting this one go. She decided to further her concern by asking if his ear was ok, and he finally let it go. Only to start demanding money for a toll fee that never existed. Next came his crazy body movements. He would lean into Lori waving his hands in her face and then lean back towards his window. Then, he would make these weird finger signs and then strike a pose. This all went on while he was driving. We finally became aware that he was not playing around when he started pretending to drink out of an imaginary cup. Yikes! All the while we were whizzing by trucks, cars, motorbikes, bicycles and scooters with children hanging on for their dear life. The most interesting automobile “get up” was a pick-up truck with a rigged hammock in the back with a little boy reclined in it. We can only imagine the kids must fight over that “seat.” Thank God we made it to the airport.

Upon checking our bags, we had hoped not to have to pay too much extra, considering they were filled with clothing, toys, etc. for the children of Nepal. The ticket agent asked us for $1000.00 American dollars. We of course made a big stink and pled with them that this was for a good cause and they were over charging us. After negotiating with the agent and the supervisor, we got it down to $600.00. Then we personally made sure each bag was sent through.

We made it to Kathmandu and so did our bags! Today is our first official day in Kathmandu and we can’t wait to get out and explore!

Lori & Amy