[The Thamel quarter of Kathmandu had become home and I was already growing nostalgic at the thought of leaving the place. But the group were melting away and it was almost time for Nikki and I to make our way to Delhi to find the elusive return tickets. One more day of cycling the backstreets of the city, mooching around Freak Street, drinking endless milky coffees – and of course a visit to KC’s.
WEDNESDAY 29TH DECEMBER, 1976
“Di up really early – bus at 6.15. Said a sleepy goodbye! Said a second sleepy goodbye to Shirley a little later. Morning – breakfast with Heidi at Shangri la – talked of education and interpreters! Hired bicycles with Chris and Nikki and went to Yeti Travels – tickets to Delhi confirmed! Signed away most of travellers’ cheques! Gave us sweet tea. Chris’s money come through too, so he treated us to coffee at the Ra Ra Restaurant!
Back on bikes – really good fun. Lunch at Kathmandu Guest House with Heidi – had savoury pancake rolls. Later set off on bikes again down narrow lanes – hair-raising ride avoiding cows, people, vehicles, gutters, porters with swinging poles of earth, dogs and babies! No one gets out of the way – though we soon got the idea of ringing bells continuously! No wonder Nepalese are addicted to bells and horns!
Went to Aunt Jane’s (parallel with Freak Street) for their lunch. Very small restaurant upstairs – very famous – perhaps first of the ‘trendy’ places to go. In Freak Street plagued as usual by boys with Tibetan books and people offering hash.
On way to Yeti Travels again, nearly got knocked over at roundabout – one of many near collisions! Great fun though.
Had coffee and apple crumble at KC’s for last time – sob! sob!After dark spent last of rupies on little presents eg Nepalese hats – shops are lovely at this time because still bustling with sounds and life and welcoming lights. Know this narrow crossroads so well – on first night the bus got stuck there – quite nostalgic about leaving.”
“Xmas Eve! Di not well. Went into town early and sent telegram home, “Happy Christmas – love you all. Alcoholica”! Met up with Mark and Pam – wandered back – Mark bargained for our postcards – any excuse for an argument! Walked through backstreets – cows, dark shops, rickshaws, kids with pockmarks – Pam worried in case gets chickenpox. Met Rob and Maree eating rock hard gooey things – Mark said looked like cow pats!
Went in later to collect suits – Di went back because sick. Yeti Travels, then expensive tea at Ra Ra Restaurant – not good.
Had bread and cheese and curd in room – Di in bed; Heidi egg nogging! Then went to rum punch party in Chris and Nikki’s room. Really good fun – lots of people there, great drink. Rude comments about my green suit – “come in your pyjamas” etc. Sang Christmas carols then decided to sing outside KC’s – so we all grouped at the door and sang away – difficulty in remembering words, but appreciated by diners at KC’s Xmas Eve party. Sally knocked down some of new kitchen wall! KC very tolerant with us. Some of us sneaked in and listened to guitarists and drank Night Lifes, while others went on to sing elsewhere.
Tried to organise going to midnight mass but didn’t know where place was – Mike had already set off walking, had said I’d go too. Joined others in cake shop – KC lit cake with brandy on – all had some – kept pouring rum into my coffee – no one paid for anything! All very merry. Went round kissing everyone merry Xmas. Back to restaurant – funny little urchins grabbing onto us out of the dark. Locked us into restaurant, so Nikki rushed back for Chris and others! Pushed back tables and had a disco – really great bop. Finished about 3 o’clock! Got Xmas kiss from KC!”