Valley tourism: The shine is off

When Simo Milojevic, the chief of the World Esperanto Association, returned to Kalh-mandu in September 1991 after 30-years, he was sorely disappointed with the noise and filth that had over taken the Valley. Kathmandu was beginning to look like any chaotic Third World city, whereas it had emerged in the mid-1950s with its centuries-old atmosphere intact — a prize destination for international travelers.

Milojevic, a Serb, arrived in 1961 for a few months to teach Esperanto an "experimental" Indo-European language. At that time, he remembers, there were only two good budget restaurants in Kathmandu, the Uttam and Aroma. "I could not afford the outrageously expensive Royal Hotel or Hotel Coronation." There were no tourist coaches. When a handful of tourists could be gotten together, guides borrowed friends cars and made do. "But if you ask me which Kathmandu I prefer, as a foreigner I prefer the quiet, simple, laid back Valley of the early 1960s."

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Himal Southasian