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Written on: Thursday June 14th, 2007

A journal entry from: Elective

As I mentioned, we went to the more tourist-friendly area last night - Thamel, which is a district of Kathmandu. I have to admit, I was a bit nervous, as Dr Renu had warned us that it could be quite dodgy, with pickpockets-a-plenty, and people trying to sell you things. However, we had made an arrangement to meet people, so we strapped on our flip-flops and trekked off down to the town!

To be fair, when we got there it was quite hectic (a common occurrence in Kathmandu!), with tuk-tuks (3 wheeled taxis) everywhere, and rickshaw bikes with heckling drivers trying to get our attention. Ignoring the constant pleas for business, we had a walk around the area, trying to find the Buddha bar that we had been told to meet at. Whilst walking around, we noticed plenty of young children on the streets, and it wasn't long before they noticed us! Tugging on our arms, pleading with puppy-dog eyes for money, we had to carry on walking, as we had been warned about the sly nature of these children! They weren't the only ones to come pestering us though - old men with toothy grins, and shifty eyes would sidle over asking "You want buy marijuana? No? Hash?"! We hurried by these dodgy characters, and eventually found the Buddha bar!

Inside, it was a totally different story and it opened our eyes to a whole different side of Kathmandu. Gone was the rushed nature of the outside world, replaced by a calming and serene atmosphere. We were asked to remove our shoes, and then we entered the main room, which was quilted with cushions galore spread out all over the floor. The tables were all low, and we sat ourselves down in a corner on the floor, relaxing to some live music. Ordering drinks was a task and a half, given the choice of cocktails on offer. I eventually plumped for a 'Mind Eraser', which consisted of vodka, Kahlua and soda. The rest of the night, we all sat and chatted about our experiences so far, and our views of the hospital and Kathmandu. At twenty to 11, we said our goodbyes and caught a taxi home, as we had a curfew of 11! It was a good night, and we are planning to repeat it again soon!