Our first day in Kathmandu was a busy one.
We exchanged money and the money changer’s tiny street side office. This included sitting on stools and enjoying crazy sweet Nepali tea and lots of chatter before the business on negotiations for a better than posted rate.
Then the gear shopping. We piled into and effectively filled the shop. I negotiated a good price for bulk buying and the fun began, down jackets, sleeping bags, vests ponchos. Always entertaining to shop here! Deals were struck and we all left well laden with heaps of stuff to keep us warm and dry on the trek.
After lunch Binod introduced us to our enthusiastic city guide, Shiva, and we drove in a very upscale mini bus to Swaymbhu Temple (Known to many as monkey temple due to the filthy monkeys that inhabit the area.) Shiva got carried away with a long history of Nepal while we all did our best to appear interested in far too much information. Lots of post earthquake rebuilding has happened, and much more remains to be done but there is progress. As it was to be a full moon, the place was jammed with families picnicking under awnings. We had good views down onto the city as there’s not too much smog at the moment. Down the long steep steps, avoiding the beggars, back into the mini bus and returned to our hotel. We were all too tired to go out to eat so ate in the garden restaurant, enjoyed a few beers and were all disappearing into our rooms by shortly after nine!
Brenda, Mary-Jean and I are sharing a room on the fourth floor so we’re getting lots of exercise tramping up and down.
Today we went to the medieval city of Baktapur. Also heavily damaged by the 2015 earthquake it is slowly being rebuilt. Several buildings are surrounded by rickety bamboo scaffolding tied together with rotted looking string. We encouraged Shiva to keep things moving so managed to see the highlights without too many lengthy stops.
He has a mandate though to stop at the tourist shops. Yesterday was the Thanka paintings where we got the talk about how they are made and what they mean. The young man did an outstanding job of that and it was interesting. There was no buying pressure. Today the mandatory stop was at a singing bowl shop. Again, interesting display and explanation but the atmosphere was more directly focused on us making a purchase. We didn’t comply.
We enjoyed a roof top lunch, with beers then a wander around before calling it quits and returning here to Kathmandu. Now getting ready to go out for dinner.
Internet here is a bit slow. Will try to send a few pictures but no promises.
I’m enjoying being back in Kathmandu. A Nepali friend Homan came by this morning for a visit and we had a quick catch up. As usual he came baring gifts for various of his Canadian friends which I’ll deliver when I get home.
I find it interesting that here, vendors I see once a year greet me like a long lost friend while in Courtenay very few shop owners seem to bother remembering loyal customers.
This is part of what makes me love Nepal – genuinely friendly people.
On that note…. time for dinner.