Kathmandu: The Company Trip
“Diary Entry – 21/5/11
I am sitting on a hired coach making it’s way through central Kathmandu during an organized city shutdown in advance of a key meeting in the Nepalese Government. We are on our way back to the airport, bound for Singapore. Two days ago, the staff of Holmes & Marchant met at 5.45am at Changi Airport, Singapore. We flew to Kathmandu, stopping over in Bangkok. This was the long awaited company holiday announced at dinner in February, and I couldn’t have been more stoked to be there for it.
Checking into the hotel for that night, the Dwarika Hotel, was breathtaking. The woodwork and stone work that went into the structure of that place was nothing short of incredible. Helpful and friendly staff ensured everything was taken care of, and we merely gazed around in slightly sleepy wonder.
That afternoon we went to visit two religious sites, a large Buddist Stupa, and a Hindu Temple of Lord Shiva. Both were amazing, eye opening experiences. We observed a Hindu funeral ceremony on the banks of the river, ending in the open-air cremation of the body.
The evening consisted of a traditional 6 course Nepalese dinner, which promised much, but ultimatly was quite bland and sleep inducing. Essentially it consisted of grains done in different ways, low grade meat mashed and stewed, and served with about 30 minutes betwen each course. After a full overnight of work the night before, by thte time the last course was served, I was practically asleep at the table.
The next day we had a sightseeing flight to Mt Everest and back, taking in much of the Himalayas as we went. Knowing the extent of the ranges, and some of their significance, it was an amazing sight.
Upon our return a few of us struck out for the town center, taking in the street life of Kathmandu. This was the first time I’ve seen real poverty, incomparable to the likes of Malaysia, dwarfing it on a grand scale. Of particular note was the ramshackle approach to architecture, with most of the buildings in such a state of disrepair that it was difficult to see if it was being constructed or demolished.
The afternoon consisted of moving to our new accommodation, Gurkana Forest Resort, which had promised to be a more intimate affair, far removed from the city, surrounded in forest and a Golf course. Alas, it was a large scale resort, with a rather bland spa and massage area, and all within a walled compound from the forest and Golf range. We had a stroll around and outside the premises, stumbling across a Hindu temple with a large celebration going on in and around it.
All in all, I have to say I’m not in any hurry to return to this lodge – while it was very nice, and luxurious, the historic and quaint Dwarika’s Hotel we stayed in the night prior was far more interesting. I have learnt much this trip, both about culture, life, and my work colleagues. Tomorrow we are back to work. It seems as though we are going back ‘home’, a sign that I am acclimatizing to Singapore perhaps?’