I'm going to Ka Ka Kathmandu!
Trip Start Sep 04, 2008
61Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
Lai Lai Hotel
First, I went to Chitwan National Park, hopped on an elephant and proceeded into the jungle. Unfortunately, no tiger sightings, but I did get to see four Indian rhinoceroses, or is it rhinoceri? Very peaceful in Sauraha, the little village on the perimeter of the park. Here's one disappointment though: about ten elephants go into the jungle at once, each of them carrying two to four people, plus the elephant handler. You'd think that everyone would be quiet in order to see the most animals, seems pretty obvious to me. Well, one Nepali tourist was talking on his cellphone on several occasions. I tried to command my elephant to snatch that infernal device with his trunk, but my accent must have been off.
The bus ride to Kathmandu is really slow, but that's okay as the scenery is topnotch. And, unlike India, Nepal actually tries to keep their country clean. In fact, Nepal is a lot nicer than India. They should probably post it at the border and on their tourism website. It could be like a news ticker, "Nepal, currently seven times cooler than India." Kathmandu definitely is chaotic, but coming from India, I was well prepared.
Yesterday, I rented a mountain bike and went on an eight hour ride outside of Kathmandu. About a third of that was singletrack through the jungle, with great views of snow-capped mountains. My guide was a little nervous at whenever anything rustled in the bushes, as a tiger came with a few meters of him once on an early morning ride. No tiger sightings for me.
Bodhnath is basically a suburb of Kathmandu, and has a large Tibetan refugee population. I made a short trip out there and went to a Buddhist monastery for the first time. They poured me a glass of hot yak milk and gave me a banana, as they chanted and played their various instruments. Nothing too unusual. Then one of the monks starts pouring a small amount of a liquid into everyone's hands, which is quickly slurped up. The monks have been blessing this liquid for the past two hours with chants. As he comes closer to me, I seem to recognize the bottle, which is partially wrapped in white cloth. He pours a little into my hands, and as I drink it my suspicion is confirmed. I have just had my first experience drinking sacred...Pepsi!