The Tourist Throngs of Thamel

KATHMANDU, Nepal — With my postcards mailed and my one-way ticket to India booked, I decided to run down the clock by wandering through Thamel.

Kathmandu’s commercial district was routinely packed with tourists, trinkets and affordable lodging, such as the nicely appointed Cherry Guest House. Wikipedia notes that some folks call it the “ghetto,” although it’s far more colorful, lively and optimistic than most ghettos I’ve come across. It even has its own business association!

With more Westerners here than I’ve yet seen anywhere on my travels thus far, Thamel boasted such nostalgic elements as an old Kodak-branded kiosk — in this era of digital photography, nonetheless — and enough souvenirs and trinkets to cost fill as many suitcases as you can carry.

Food and drink options were plentiful, ranging from momo houses to pizzerias, and there was even a shop that appeared to be a liquor-and-tobacco store, called, curiously enough, “John’s Liquid.”

Some things, I won’t ever understand. Many of those, I don’t even try: They just are.

Kodak kiosks are a rare sight, but not so in Thamel. At top, Kathmandu’s Thamel neighborhood buzzes with activity at all hours. (Photos by Bruno J. Navarro)
John’s Liquid appeared to be a liquor-and-tobacco store.

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