A city on the other side of the world
A 14 hour red eye to China followed by another 5 hour flight got me to Nepal smoothly. I came to Nepal and Tibet solo, but as it turns out, I had connections in Kathmandu. Go figure. I was excited to stay with Peter, who is a friend of my cousin (thanks Steph!), and his family, in Kathmandu. I wasn't headed to the standard tourist section of town (Thamel), but instead to this lovely neighborhood.
|View from where I stayed in the friendly, safe middle class 'hood of Gairidhara|
Tourist-ing KathmanduI had two and a half days of hanging around town waiting for my visa before I left for Tibet. I didn't have many must-see sights, but wanted to enjoy the culture and daily life of the locals. I hit the town hard the second day. I just started walking through the city in a general direction.
|The winding, muddy, back streets of old part of town in Thamel|
|Random temples in hidden alley ways|
|Ladies bonding over a ritual offering at a local temple. Rolled up paper and incense in a bowl.|
|Durbar Square - the central part of old Kathmandu.|
|The local water hole for dish washing, bathing, etc.|
|Excited school boys ran up to me in their school yard shouting "Hello! Hello!" Not too many tourists in these back streets.|
I meandered Patan's back streets and ultimately ended up on a rooftop eating lunch overlooking Patan's Darbur Square. Not a shabby day.
|Patan's Darbur Square|
Kathmandu continued!I tired myself out roaming the city the second day, so on day 3 I decided to take it easy. My main goal was to navigate myself back to the tour agency that should have my passport and Chinese visa at 5 pm. After hanging out with the family in the morning, I headed to a must-see stupa via taxi.
Beware! Buddha eyes are always watching.
There are two main stupas, places of worship, just outside of Kathmandu.
1. Swayambhunath is known as the monkey temple. I already had a hunch of these devious monkeys who get a little too close to humans. No thanks, I'll pass.
2. Boudha Stupa is the more ritually important one for Buddhist. So I went here and circled clockwise like all the other locals until I got too hot and tired and chilled at a cafe.
In the afternoon, I relaxed at the Garden which was beautifully curated and peaceful. Then I picked up my passport and Chinese visa (phew). I was already loving this crazy bustling city and time with my hosts.
2.5 days down. Kathmandu seen. Chinese visa secured. Off to Tibet!
|Leaving Kathmandu, Nepal, for Lhasa, Tibet, on Air China|