In addition to organizing ourselves and buying things like toilet paper for our trek, this meant we had plenty time for sighseeing. Our hotel is in Thamel, the tourist core of the town, which is littered with shops selling souvenirs and mountaineering gear; as well as plenty of massage parlors, restaurants, and bars catering to all potential desires. Most of the time, we had to actually move around single-file. Cars and motor cycles (as well as bicycle rikshas and the occasional solo bicycle) are constantly squeezing themselves through the narrow streets, frequently making you aware of their (and each others) presence by honking their horns and ringing their bells.
The mountaineering gear vendors are entertaining. They typically sell knock-offs of western brands. Not necessarily one-to-one imitations if you take a close look, but bearing the logos from the North Face et al., including tags that claim that the material is -- of course -- Gore-Tex. I even saw copies of Goal Zero solar panels that looked pretty much like the originals, just the paint job was a little sloppy. In between, they sell Nepali brands, too. Pati, Vickie, and I were actually in the market for heavy down parkas, and we ended up buying "Sangam" ones for slightly over USD 100 each. They seem functional, but (as is to be expected) lack all the (technical) bells and whistles you get for significantly more money in the west. We'll see how they do.
Sightseeing included Durbar Square and the Swayambhunath temple. Getting used to the local food (momos and dhal bat) was fairly easy, it has been delicious so far!
Anyway. After some last-minute flight-booking drama last night (our previously confirmed but not ticketed plane seats were lost and did we want to go by helicopter at 6 am the next morning instead?), this afternoon the hotel agent finally managed to get us tickets for a flight tomorrow, and Vickie and I remembered to actually go and get our TIMS cards half an hour before the tourism bureau closed. The rest of the afternoon was spent packing and recharging batteries for various gadgets, and tomorrow we're finally off to Lukla, at least by all likelihood. It's about time, too, my throat is starting to get irritated from all the dust and smog in the air here. No wonder face masks are popular.