. We also watched children daring each other to touch the opaque green water of the sanke temple. At night, the main square came alive with the townsfolk socializing, snacking, running around, and playing drums and unfamiliar string instruments. We felt very lucky to have stumbled upon such a quaint and authentic Saturday night scene.
The next morning brought much rain and we were half tempted to abandon our plan to do some countryside and temple sightseeing. However we pressed on and after a few false starts found the right country road winding past small villages and up the hillside to the world heritage site of Changu Narayan, one of the oldest temples in the valley. It's set amidst tall a tall mountain range and offers nice views from the outside. The courtyard is filled with historic carvings, some dating back to the fourth century. From there, we headed further into the country toward the Tibet border and past the town of Dhulikhel. We had planned to spend the night here in a resort known for its sensational views, but thanks to the cloudy day, there was not much to see so we decided to take the scenic route back to Kathmandu. The route was indeed scenic and featured a winding road through little villages and impossibly green rice fields (they always seem so green!). The road got bumpier and narrower and we were getting many strange stares from the locals who were all tromping up and down it
. Finally it ended into a dirt pothole, puddle filled road with some impressive looking hills in front of us. We debated for a while as we had really wanted to take this bucolic route back (as opposed to the highway which was filled with diesel spewing buses and trucks) but decided not to risk it and turned back. The highway route was worse than anticipated as the mile long gas lines seemed to have worked the local drivers into a frenzy. Followed by the entry to Kathmandu which is normally bad but on this Sunday was particularly nasty as some bus drivers had decided to block of some main roads as part of their bid to get higher wages. No matter what kind of stop and go traffic you've seen in the states, it pales in comparison to the bleating, belching, confusion of a Kathmandu jam.
We were all too happy to finally arrive back in our traveler's 'haven' (Thamel, the crazy place we told you about in an earlier blog). Everything is relative I suppose! When we arrived at our hotel room and looked in the mirror, we noticed our ash-colored 'war paint' - in this case the darky grimy residue that had collected on our faces whilst trying to fight our way back home. We enjoyed our hot soapy showers that day more than ever!
Our favorite part of our Kathmandu experience was in fact not in Kathmandu. We decided to break up our stay while waiting for our Indian visa (our time in Kathmandu was a bit dominated by visiting the Indian embassy three times while obtaining our visa and also getting a little taste of Indian bureaucracy) with a road trip via motorbike through the Eastern Kathmandu valley. So we headed out through the chaotic road system and traffic towards Bhaktapur, another former Nepali capital and world heritage site. On the way there, we felt more justified for paying the $12 a gallon price we had been charged for petrol as we passed the mile long line of cars lined up for what has become an incredibly precious commodity in this country (hopefully not the shape of things to come everywhere). We had a great time in this small town. It's loaded with interesting temples and architecture. We did our best to follow the Lonely Planet walking tour through the back alleys and bustling residential neighborhoods ducking under low ceilings into courtyards filled with amazing woodwork