Tuesday 25 February 2014


We're not in Kansas anymore. If the massive mountains on airport approach didn't tell us that, the rest did.  Noisy, dusty, smelly chaos that's got a beautiful charisma to it. 

After waiting in slow lines to get our entry visas, I saw both my bags from 30m away by the belt and was so relieved. 

Monkeys, dogs, 2 million people and *zero* traffic lights, no lane dividing lines on any roads,  everything from pedestrians to tuk tuks to motorcycles to mini taxis to vans and busses and construction equipment going every which way, ostensibly they drive on the left like Brits but I'd say that's 75% at best as they seem to go left, center or right at random, and without one stretch of exaggeration our single track trails are smoother than their roads by a long shot.  There was maybe one or two km of pavement and the rest was rubble.  Everything under construction, dusty, welder sand sledge hammer guys all wear flip flops, as do ladies selling fruits from laden down bike carts.  Cacophony of horns. Motorcycles in a hundred pieces at side of road with guys working on them.  And you know what?  I don't feel an ounce of frustration. It's organized random chaos, and it has an incense smell magic to it.  Like poetry in motion a way we stifle with so much order. 

We had coffee with the race organizer, hung out at the Himalayan Single Track bike shop with as luck would have it 4 of the 5 fastest guys in the country, changed money, and generally just felt at home.  We picked this coffee shop. 

Here's our taxi.  It's not as fast as the graphics would indicate. It is cheap and able to be fixed by rudimentary tools. I'm convinced it's powered by a law mower engine. 

We are actually moving in this picture, this was not a static traffic stop. 

Gerry's Nepalese buddy who's a fast racer met us at the airport. So nice having a friendly face. He gave us these welcome silks. 

Clearly this was put up for us. 

After a half hour of walking around to start my opinion, I asked the local guys about safety here. They said you'd hardly be able to find trouble if you tried, which was my gut feel. It might all look rough and tumble and unrefined, but people seem so genuinely nice. 

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