Photo report | When Kathmandu warms up… you go ice skating
“Unpredictable” would be the word to describe the weather in Kathmandu throughout July. One moment the sun is smiling at you and the next the sky is collapsing, forcing you to take shelter. It’s no fun being outside. So where would you go for fun? Well, Fun Land, for starters.
Located on the Maitighar-Bhadrakali cross-road, Nepal’s first ice rink is housed in what looks like a large storage building. Young and old can enjoy a beautiful day there without having to worry about the turbulent weather outside.
I visited on a recent afternoon, on a weekday, expecting few people. But to my surprise, the place was a hive of activity. Groups of children and teenagers shouting and laughing inside the ice rink. Most used dolphin-shaped skate guides for added stability. Those who were brave enough were without a guide – tossing and falling, but still rising for a rehearsal.
The facility, which opened in April, has about 20 coolers to keep the rink cool and firm. The place also offers other fun activities like trampolines, rock climbing and riding mechanical bulls, but ice skating is by far the biggest draw.
I was tempted to give it a try, but after seeing lots of people slipping and falling, I decided to sit at the nearby food court and watch instead. “How hard could that really be?” I wondered after seeing even adults using fun dolphin guides that doubled as sleds.
Bhim Bahadur Adhikari, Fun Land’s ice skating captain, satisfied my curiosity: “You’ll have to sincerely practice for two to three days if you don’t want the supporting dolphin.
Fun Land also offers an ice skating training program. In fact, the instructors, I discovered, were trained on the spot.
Encouraged by Adhikari, I decided to give it a try. A member of staff helped me put on the skating boots and I was ready…or so I thought. Much to my embarrassment, I found it was a lot harder than I thought. I couldn’t keep my balance even with the support dolphin. I had to be held by the instructor just to find my balance, to learn how to hold myself properly, before I could use the lifeless plastic dolphin.
Even though I was skating on an icy surface, there was a lot of sweating and panting. I sympathized with the people I photographed earlier.