Thamel …

Finally … to Thamel, this place that I’ve heard so much about from others, of the narrow streets and the pashmina stores, the Tiger Balm sellers and the internet cafes.

Richa and Deepti picked me up, and after a quick stop at the ATM, we walked to Thamel. Deepti led us down the side streets, away from the traffic and the noise, into the center of Thamel. You’ll know when you hit Thamel … you can’t escape from the traffic and the constant beeping of horns. The main road through Thamel is like a major highway – cars, motorbikes, bicycles, rickshaws, people …

It reminded me of Chinatown, NY. The hustle and bustle of the people, the little stores, a general buzz around the air, the narrow alley-ways leading to a store or house or restaurant …

We proceeded to walk and meander around, going from store to the other, sometimes going in. If the owner saw us looking at the window displays, they would come to the doorway and invite us in. Lots of pashmina stores, as expected, all claiming to be 100% pashmina, jewelry and gem shops with stones and pendants in all shapes and sizes, wood carvings, bronze/copper statues, masks, beads, bangles and necklaces, Buddhas and assorted gods, internet cafes …