Gear Night in Kathmandu

Rain increased. Tourists ran and hid. Locals covered goods with tarps and plastic bags. They retreated into open store fronts, rain streaming in curtains, roaring off roofs and awnings to sequester with water and seal off the sellers’ yellow-lit stalls.

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Bike taxi, waiting for the rain

We leaped puddles. Ran on the dark, slimy sidewalks. Under trees and down an alley, back to the hotel.

Keys at the front desk. We changed clothes when we got to our rooms. The Yak & Yeti, our hotel, is a lux and grand place, an old-world feel conjured by its stone floors, statues, murals, and incense wafting in the halls. A cricket match played on a big-screen TV in the bar. We had dinner in the dining room. Rain pounded outside, lightning struck, and the electricity was killed for a minute in the hotel. All the rooms went dark. But the diners didn’t mind. We sat and listened to the wind and the thunder. Windows were cracked to let the cool air in. Water washed the rooftop and shot off in a spout. Birds flew to hide on balcony stoops, ducking and cooing once out of the rain.

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Scott Simper and guide Min Magar moving fast in Thamel

Scott and I toasted to the city as the lights came back on, life inside waking up again in a yellow glow. I walked to the buffet for some food — rice, noodles, steak, steamed vegetables, cheese, bread, and dessert. Scott was falling asleep sitting up as we ate. We were both tired and beat, time-zone agnostic on the other side of the world. It was 7pm in Kathmandu and early morning at home in the United States. Was it Tuesday or Wednesday, we weren’t exactly sure? We ate and drank and drifted to our rooms. I sank into sleep without clearing the gear off my bed, eyes shut, fading on a sheet for a few hours’ rest before another day in Kathmandu, in this other world.

—Stephen Regenold will blog live from Kathmandu and the Everest Trail this week and through the month of April. Monitor Expedition Hanesbrands’ progress at and on Gear Junkie at our Everest Blog.

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Regenold in front of a Thamel gear shop

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Mom and kids on a motorbike ride

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Worker in Thamel