Kathmandu greeted us with sunshine, warm hot sunshine. We saw some mountain ranges as we descended. Our suitcases made it! Yes, there was a shuttle to take us to our hotel and no, he did not charge us.
The drive to our hotel was an overload in every sense of the word. The van was overloaded with all our heavy luggage. My senses were filled to capacity. The streets were small but packed with cars, buses, vans and motorcycles. The road was as often loose rock as it was; lots of people weaving in between traffic. I needed my mask on. The dust was a little much. I wiped my finger across my forehead and my finger was gray with dirt. Many buildings being torn down, others falling apart but still being used. New buildings in various construction stages. Lots of stray dogs napping along side the road. Cows, regarded as sacred, wandered through the streets, settling down in the middle of traffic, oblivious to the cars swerving around them.
Our hotel was luxurious compared to the hotel in Guangzhou, and compared to so much of the living conditions around Kathmandu. After resting and showering, we headed out for dinner. The Mint Cafe had a great selection of food from all over the world. Mo-mo’s are the Nepali equivalent of gyoza and they are delicious. I ordered falafel, but it was more salad than falafel.
The restaurant owner was so kind and helpful. He called two rickshaws to take us up to Swayambhunath Temple (monkey temple). He said we could walk it in about 30 minutes: right at the end of the road, and the next left over the bridge. Not quite. It took our rickshaw drivers at least 30 minutes, and there were many lefts and rights and up and around hills. So many steep hills, in fact, that they asked us to get out several times so we could help push the rickshaw up the hill.
This was a great way to see so much of Kathmandu with only the slightest anxiety worrying if the rickshaw might tip and what would be the safest exit securing camera and one’s own ankles. A lady with sewing machine on a table by the side of the road.
Chickens being plucked and cleaned. Sections of goat hacked into pieces. Pashmina shawls and sari shops. A lady having her blood pressure taken in a pharmacy. Hundreds of grocery stands. Fruits sold on bicycles. Cleaning supplies sold on bicycles. Ladies squatting down at a water faucet, washing dishes in large bowls. So many sleeping dogs.
To ensure a return trip, the drivers walked up to the temple with us. It’s adopted the name monkey temple for good reason: lots and lots of tame monkeys scampering about.
There were a lot of steps, but what a complete view of the city at the top. The valley is completely filled with city. I didn’t realize how big Kathmandu is.
You can see the damage from the earthquake to the temple. There was some construction on it.
I bought two paintings from a vendor at the top. What attracted me to the shop was the Scripture on some of those paintings. At the top of a Hindu temple, there were Christian Bible verses on paintings of Nepal. No doubt to appeal to some tourists, but I liked that.
We had our rickshaw drivers drop us back around our hotel for some shopping. There are so many shops selling cheap hiking gear: Northface pants for $10. Yes, please and thank you!
Get ready for Nepal, Day Three