It felt like three days, but the reality was merely eleven hours between the neat tiles of Zurich airport, and the dusty yellow of Kathmandu. We saw the mountains first – the Himalayas crashed like a wave out of the haze that covered the city, and just like that, all three of us had our (not red) noses pressed against the window and our mouths open like drowning fish. What a sight!
Apart from Mount Everest, a proper welcoming committee awaited us at the airport from the crew of the Shilpee Theatre, and we immediately set to work fitting four people and the same amount of bags into a car that felt just large enough to squish a spider.
The theatre itself is a beautiful, half improvised, half precisely organised complex of red-brick housing. A large portion of the theatre company gathered around us as we drove in, joyfully showing us the place, the beautiful main stage where we will give four days of workshops, the dorms for the actors studying there, their office space and their tea-brewing skills. They immediately caught on to the fact that the double Anitas would cause trouble, so Anita Fricker was renamed Sunita. I think we all immediately realised that this will certainly be a wonderful crew to work with!
Heman und Pabitra took us into the centre to change money, the excitement of the new location easily defeating our lack of sleep.
The city was ramshackle, knitted together by masses of humanity on every street corner. The smell of fumes, the thrown up dust, the constant roar of engines, was our steady companion throughout the day: that and an explosion of sights, sounds and smells. With eager, gentle kindness, our guides found us the currency exchange, dinner then helped us navigate through a gradually darkening city toward our new home and sleep.