Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Patan and Swayambhunath

Last night we went to the Utse hotel, which has a fab Tibetan restaurant, lots more momos were consumed! I had Tibetan noodle soup (that thuk or something similar) and Grant (intrepid Aussie who'll try anything) had some of the fermented millet drink (Tongka?). I thought it was quite tasty but he really didn't like it, it was sort of like hot sherry.

Today we were up bright and early to hand over our bikes which are being driven to Lhasa by Durbah and his crew, hopefully there won't have been any landslides as they will have to carry them over! We were also supposed to be going for a sight seeing tour but it was really tipping it down so we rearranged to go after lunch. So Nick and I commandeered the hotel bus and a driver and went down to Patan, just to the south of Kathmandu. We were dropped off in the Durbar square and had a very pleasant wander through the area. There were loads of people about and even a queue to get into the Hindu temple. We later found out that its a special festival today and every one was having a lovely time. We stopped off in the Old House cafe for hot lemon and black tea, served by a young lad who looked about 12.

Back up at the hotel we bumped into the rest of the group about to go for lunch at the Gaia restaurant again, so we joined up with them, again a good lunch. The we all piled into the bus and went out to Swayambhunath, the monkey temple. We made it up the 360 odd steps to the top and were greeted by a fabulous view out across the valley. The temple was a stupa and equally crowded with Hindu pilgrims. Our bus picked us up on the other side of the hill and we drove towards the Kathmandu Durbar square and went for a great big walk around the area. We stopped in to see the Kumari, the living goddess, a girl of about 5 or 6, a rather weird experience, sort of like going to the zoo, with all the tourists gawping up at her as she made an appearance over a balcony. We walked back to the hotel past the markets Nick and I saw yesterday. Thankfully the rain has stopped, last dinner in Kathmandu tonight and then off to Lhasa first thing in the morning!

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