After exploring Kathmandu Durbar Square I convinced Steve to continue walking south, so that we'd eventually get to Bagmati River, which is the main river that flows through Kathmandu. According to (out of date!) research there should have been a decent amount of wonderful sights right by the river.
We made our way south through more and more crazy streets eventually having to cross the craziest street of them all.. Kalimati Road, a major artery that runs east-west through the city and actually a large part of the country as well. Kathmandu does not have any traffic lights anywhere, so as a pedestrian you basically have to.. well.. go for it when you see an opening, just like in frogger. On this super busy road it didn't seem like this would be possible, but all you do is you wait until a local needs to cross the road and you wait behind them. When they go, you go. It took us about 10 minutes, but eventually we made it to the other side. "This river better be good!" I could almost hear Steve thinking.
We get to the river.. And... There's nothing there. We find ruins of buildings, garbage, construction, and almost no people at all. The river itself wasn't even worthy of a photogrpah.
According to my notes there should have been a nice walkway right by the river with merchants here and there and lots of activity. But.. There was nothing like that at all. A construction worker looked in our direction a bit confused. Children playing in the distance eventually ran past us and eyed us up and down curiously.
That 2015 earthquake sure did a number on the city.. I didn't even feel bad that we spent all that time making our way here only to find nothing.. I mean, I did a bit, as our time could have been spent differently, but I felt a lot worse for the inhabitants of Kathmandu and how much this affected them.
It didn't feel unsafe for us to be here, but I got the sense that we shouldn't really stick around too long. I found the people of Nepal to be some of the kindest and most welcoming people I've ever met anywhere, but if you're a western tourist (with electronics and a wallet on you), being in a very poor part of the world with nobody around just makes you feel like you're a target. If somebody got the idea to rob us, it would have been easy, since there was nobody around. We explored a bit to see if these merchants I read about were maybe nearby somewhere, but didn't stick around too long.
Eventually we had to walk all the way back to Thamel, on the way there crossing that insane Kalimati road. Unfortunately I do not have any photos from our walk, as this was truly a chaotic part of the city. My camera was in my backpack.
After stopping for dinner at a German-themed restaurant we eventually returned to Thamel, the backpacker mecca part of town.
Our hotel was a 15 minute walk from here, traffic permitting. On the very first day in the country this walk took us over a half an hour.
Returning to the hotel we felt like we made very good use of this day, exploring some very interesting parts of the city. Before dozing off I looked through my notes to figure out what we would be exploring the next day.