Having spent a number of days traveling to and from the Kathmandu domestic airport terminal, we have haggled, argued, and conversed with many of the local taxi drivers. As soon as we enter the waiting area, they swarm; trying to carry bags, offering us rides to all sorts of awful tourist places that we certainly do not want to go to, and doing their very best to extort us in one way or another.
And then there was Karma. We spotted him, sitting on a concrete wall, uninterested in the heckling scene, picking at the fingernails that remained accessible as a result of his fingerless leather gloves. One look at him, with his chain wallet, slicked-back hair, and combat boots, and we knew that he was our guy.
Karma drives a mid-70s Toyota sports car, which he takes pride in having personally driven for 36 years. We asked if this fine ride had a name, and when Karma told us that he had never thought of naming a car. Ryan promptly named her Melissa. Sweet Melissa that is.
Following miles of congested traffic and animated conversation, we had to reroute our excursion, as the rooming house that Karma had recommended turned out to have been closed for 20 years or so. He took us right to its former site though.
At the end of our ride together, Karma gave us his business card–a business card that depicts him in full business attire. We of course kept it.
When we flew into the domestic terminal again two days ago, Ryan walked confidently into the crowd of badgering taxi drivers, and asked loudly “Where’s Karma?” Our man came running, cleared a path through the sea of people, and welcomed us into his waiting chariot. He and Melissa did get us safely to our destination at a discounted rate, but riding with Karma is priceless.