Morning of April 30, I am slowly starting to be late to the airport. Check in for my plane must have been just started. I am getting nervous, beacuase, actually, I don’t want to leave this place.
The backpack has become much lighter: half of my things I put to rubbish. Also I left at the reception my sleeping bag, jacket and raincoat. I asked Jetendra to take it for humanitarian aid. Ran out into the street, where I didn’t see any cars, but luckily I met Olya and Andrew. They helped me to bring a backpack, get a taxi and even donate me some biscuits and juice.
– How much to the airport?
– 600 rupees
– Man, I can give you 450. This is all I have
Watching familiar streets through the window, the weather is gloomy and I am feeling empty inside. Holly Universe, why should I fly today?!! How I wish not to come back home!
Airport, hundreds of anxious tourists, everyone is trying to leave the disaster area as soon as possible, but not me. I am looking at the screen with flight schedule, but my flight is missing. After walk all over the airport, finally I found the boy with a sign “Air Arabia”. Your flight rescheduled for tomorrow at midnight, you need to come back today at 10 pm. I almost jumped for joy, and a very wide smile appeared on my face. The boy looked at me in surprise, and I thought that everything goes in best way for me: first of all, fate gave me another day in Kathmandu, and secondly, now I have to wait for a transfer not 16 hours, but only 1-2.
I wrote a message to Jeetendra, and he immediately called back. He advised to leave the backpack somewhere near the airport and offered to go later to Bhaktapur. I just did it all. And here is one more puzzle emerged: I was completely out of money, but the day before I wanted to show Jeetendra Ukrainian currency. No matter where I hid them – I accidentally found 5 euros in my documents purse. I did not even know that I had them. So I was standing near the airport, with 5 euros in my pocket, and thinking how to reach the center of the town, which is in 4 km from here. A taxi driver ran up to me: ‘Sit down, let’s go’. I laughed and explained to him the whole irony of the situation. We started to talk and just in a few minutes he exchanged my 5 euros. I joked that now I can ride on local buses all day long 🙂
I caught the bus and went to the “Ratna Park”. I was feeling warm, I knew where I needed to take off, I knew the short ways in small streets, I was feeling like I was in my hometown. I was so happy about being in Kathmandu, I was like a dog with two tails. Probably I radiated some fluids, because local people began to stop me just for chat.
I reached the hotel, where Olya and Andrew gave me some food. After I went to the ‘Garden of Dreams’ to seat down on so lovely honda and ride to Bhaktapur.
The destruction in the city is impressive from the first meters
One and half week ago, we were sitting with my Italian friend near that temple, just at the same place where the dog is.
Generally, after the earthquake, you can often see dogs that are crying and trying to get into the destroyed buildings. Looks sadly.
We were joined by two friends of Jeetendra. One of them works as a journalist and lives in Bhaktapur. My new friends took me through the streets, showing the effects of the disaster. In one of the lanes a guy stopped me and asked to take a picture of a man. This man is a simple 67-year-old local resident. He is lucky, his house is not badly hurt, but he isn’t hurry to sleep inside it yet.
As for the guy, his name is Amrit, he came here to his family. Amrit worked as Java developer in the US, then he retired and went for travel. The theme is very close to me, so it was nice to speak with that guy.
I ran to catch up with friends. People were walking the streets, carrying things, which haven’t break.
Sometimes I caught myself thinking that the image of this city reminds me of frames from the war movies.
By the way, Jeetendra’s friend showed us his house, which was destroyed, so he doesn’t have a place to go back anymore …
This woman had a leg in plaster. People with physical injuries, unfortunately, became common here.
Sometimes I saw locals, who tried to save their things from such completely dangerous houses. This is scary.
Most of the streets look like this
In one of the lanes, we met a group of volunteers ‘Gift of the Givers Foundation’ from South Africa. Guys just arrived in that days and were scouting for affected area.
On the next street, a local man invited me to inspect the courtyard of his house. Frankly, it was scary to go to a small narrow corridor at that time. That’s what was waiting for me inside.
Here I met Amrit again. He told me that he was collecting material for the foreign media, because there are not so much people, who covers events as they really are. By the way, here is his good article. As aptly noted, people can not return to their homes, because most of them are in dangerous condition or completely destroyed.
I moved on and was caught by another man, who offered to take a photo from the roof of his house. According to him, from the top you can see the terrible scale of the damage. I agreed, but someone started a rumor that during one hour we will come through another earthquake. So a man said to come another time.
People were really scared, they tried to stay outside.
And we went to visit Nepalese journalists uncle and his family.
I was instantly surrounded by children asking “where are you from, how old are you, and will you come back again to us?”
We were fed a delicious dinner and I felt as a part of this big family. As for the earthquake, it didn’t happen. Jeetendra said that such rumors were created deliberately to allow looters safely clean up people’s houses.
We walked around some old areas once again. This great chariot – an essential attribute of a recent holiday Bisket Dzhatra (Nepalese new year). It seems not to be affected.
Nearby were located several tents with first aid.
It started to get dark, so we had to go to the exit. People tried to run faster in narrow streets.
We reached Kathmandu after dark. I talked with Jeetendra about different things. Word by word, somehow we started to talk about values. “Western people are crazy about money, – he said at a glass of tea. – You just talking about career, salary, car, house. You think that earning a lot of money can bring you happiness, but it’s not. Look at us, we are a poor country, but we don’t care about it much. We are living at this moment and have fun every day. ” Actually, he was extremely right …
In a moment, I felt like someone pressed the button inside me. I was completely empty and I clearly realized that my time in Kathmandu exhausted. It just had to be like that, I had to leave this place now. We took my things and Jeeten delivered me to the airport. We hugged. “Have a good and safe flight … and I will be waiting for you here in autumn” …