|I am endlessly blown away by the loads people carry.|
I think I'm going to Katmandu, That's really, really where I'm going to. If i ever get out of here, That's what I'm gonna do. K-k-k-k-k-Katmandu, I think that's where I'm going to. If i ever get out of here, I'm going to Katmandu. -Bob Seger
In the early 1970s Kathmandu was the destination for hippies, celebrated in songs by Cat Stevens and Bob Seger and probably several others. Back then it was an almost traffic-free city with seemingly unlimited supplies of hashish or marijuana. Cannabis is said to be Shiva's favorite herb and it grows wild all over Nepal. It is used by sadhus as part of their normal religious practice. Kathmandu was a veritable Shangri-la for the hippies. Drug-seeking foreigners created a thriving trade here. Even today one can hear the whispered offers of all types of drugs when they walk down the streets. When I took my dad, who was in his late 60's, he kept asking me, "What did they say?" It was a little embarrassing to have to constantly tell my dad, "Just keep walking, you don't want any."
Freak Streat near Kathmandu Durbar Square used to be the center of the hippie drug culture. Today, I see more Hindu and Buddhist religious paraphernalia for sale here than anything else, but the cheap hotels are still plentiful in this area. On my first visit to Kathmandu I found a nice clean hotel for $15 a night in Thamel. One of my traveling companions was not satisfied with this rate and found a cheaper $3 a night bed in a room on Freak Street. He woke up covered in bed bug bites. I guess you get what you pay for.