Searching for Guidebooks
I am here in Katmandu, somewhat bored, ready to find something interesting to do, I do not have a guidebook. I have an India guidebook, however was not able or did not have time to figure out the Nepal guidebook.
Scan Guidebooks Projects
I am carrying three guidebooks, Lonely Planet India, Philippines, Southeast Asia, then one language book and two books on travel health. I am going to drop them off in Bangalore to have scanned and made into digital files.
- Europe Lonely Planet
- Caribbean Lonely Planet
- South America Lonely Planet
My goal is to be able to quickly move around the planet and still have a Lonely Planet as a reference. I am guessing, however I think I have purchased 3 Lonely Planet Southeast Asia in my life, 2 Europe and 3 Lonely Planet South America. I have purchase half new and half used. Anyway, I do it, I am paying a lot for guidebooks, and it is a lot of money.
It strikes me as strange, that a person that is so involved on the internet cannot figure out a way to use the internet to travel.
In the end, the internet still sucks for budget hotels; I could easily pay 30-50 U.S. dollars per night and find hotels on the internet.
However none of this is that important, what I am constantly searching for is the connection with other travelers.
Borrowing a term from Alex Garland and his book - The Beach - I call this the Center of the Backpacker Universe.
I search for a core area of a tourist destination whereby there are other long-term travelers. I can suss out information from them, access quicker the area, learn quickly what I may want to do, or not do.
I think the problem when always traveling is I want to stop just doing anything and everything. I believe most tourist or travelers are happy doing about anything, just wanting to keep busy and have enough change in front of their cameras that they feel they got their monies worth.
I know that nobody cares; I am the only one that cares where I go, if I think or pay attention to blog readers that is silly. I am alone in this concrete room on the other side of the planet. I am responsible for my happiness, I cannot do what people want to do, or want to see, I need to make myself happy.
However there is always a sinking feeling when I pay a fortune for a Hotel that is empty. Most of the expensive hotels here in Katmandu look empty, I see very few tourist. My Hotel for 6 dollars has many people; I can find a conversation easily. However, I have been to Katmandu 3 time before, therefore I know more or less where I like to go.
The guidebook helps me feel I have a good value for my money. That I am paying the correct amounts for things.
Yesterday, I purchased some popcorn in the street, the first lady gouged me, and not so honest and asked 20, and the second asked 5 Rupees. I now know the going price is 5 Rupees. It makes me feel better to get good value for my money that to know I was stupid.
I know I am not stupid, however when you find out you paid way too much for something, that is how you feel.
This is why I want a guidebook, it is the only way or GUIDE I know of that will QUICKLY allow me to learn.
However, to QUICKLY travel, to jump from county to country, I want to spend less time searching for guidebooks. Thus, or therefore I am scanning in the biggies, then can work on the little countries. In reality, the information I need does not change dramatically. I can use a guidebook from 5-10 years ago or a real old edition and it works. Telephone change and some things do change, however the core does not change.
The cost to scan a page is 4 India Rupees or about 8 cents U.S. This is nothing in comparison to paying for a 25 dollars room here in Katmandu when I can be living in the same quality of room for 6, the guidebooks helps me to save 21 dollars per day and make my life better.
I guess I do dream of a guidebook on the internet, as of now, the internet is greedy and dishonest.
Searching for Guidebooks
I was paying about $5 a night for my room in Kathmandu. I'd spent 3 weeks in Pokhara before that, and so I knew how much to pay for drinking water, toilet paper, books, internet, rooms, taxis. Internet cost 3 times more in Pokhara. It is price-fixed byt he King. everyone charges Rs99 per hour. the upside to this is, when all costs the same, you will look for the fastest internet.
I stayed in Hotel Florid most of my time in Kathmandu. I forget, but I think it was Rs250 or 300. no more than that. No TV, but the shower was just opposite my room. And there was TV and (slow) internet downstairs. This place was okay. Not fantastic, but okay.
I did not have a guidebook at all in Nepal. I bought a Rs100 map and figured out from that and the internet. When I was at Via Via, They had all the guidebooks on a shelf, but they were all in French. I can get the gist of French, so I read the Lonely Planet and Rough Guides pages in French... :oS