Temples, temples, temples....and more temples

Trip Start Mar 28, 2010
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Trip End May 31, 2011


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Flag of Nepal  ,
Monday, May 17, 2010

We arrived in Kathmandu the afternoon of May 17 after yet another wild ride on a Nepali bus. Let's just say that one of the many accidents we came across that day was a transport wrapped around a house on the cliff of a mountain road – it would have gone straight off had the house not been there.

We weren’t in Kathmandu more than 15 minutes when we ran into the top-shelf couple, Alice and Alex from the UK, that we met and shared a number of drinks with in Chitwan. Small world. After making arrangements to meet for dinner the following evening, we made our way to our hotel in the Thamel region of the city. Thamel is essentially a big street shopping district somewhat similar to the Paharaganj area of Delhi – but way cleaner and with better bargains. By the number of people walking around and the size of most of the streets, one would think that it’s pedestrian access only however cars and motorcycles frequent the area, blowing horns constantly. This makes for an interesting stroll when going through the area as you almost always have to dodge a few vehicles along the way.

Our second but first full day in Kathmandu included a self-guided walking tour which lasted about 6 hours. The walk should have only taken 3 or 4 hours but we got lost fairly early on and took some time getting back on track. Getting lost is not always a bad thing though – what better way to get a feel for a city and its people than finding yourself in rarely visited (by foreigners) areas?  Once back on track, we visited a number of temples and shrines along the streets of Kathmandu before making our way to Durbar Square (a temple-filled square in the heart of Kathmandu, opposite the Royal Palace). Temples are everywhere in this city and have been fully integrated into modern city life, no matter their age. It is not uncommon to see a centuries-old structure doubling as someone’s storefront or contemporary architecture built over and around small shrines. Sadly, many of these relics are poorly maintained and much of their original glory has been lost. Still incredible to see though.

Before going exploring on foot again the following day, we popped into The Last Resort, which is the only registered company running bungee jumping trips to the famous Bhote Kosi Gorge – at 160 metres it’s the longest bungee in all of Asia and one of the longest in the world.  Shane was keen to book a jump for the following day and Lyndsey was fence sitting at the time. Once at the agency we learned that because low season had set in, trips were only being run twice a week - Wednesdays and Saturdays. Given it was Wednesday that day we would be denied our jump as we had already missed that day’s departure and our flight to Cairo was on Friday. Shane was absolutely devastated so in order to salvage the mood of the day we made our way to Swayambhunath (the Monkey Temple), a recognizable landmark temple in Kathmandu which Alice and Alex had professed brought them much serenity.  Surprisingly, we didn’t see that many monkeys at the Monkey Temple... however the atmosphere was indeed quite calming.

Our final day in Kathmandu was fairly quiet... we took a bit of time to return to Durbar Square and walk down Freak Street (dirt cheap hotels, cafes and shopping – though didn’t buy anything), then strolled through the endless alley-like streets of Thamel before returning to our hotel for some planning time.

On the day of our departure from Nepal , we were once again reminded of the power of the Himalaya mountains when we saw a pair of trekkers in wheelchairs at the airport who had obviously recently made an attempt at summiting Everest... badly frostbitten faces and hands wrapped in gauze... one had two hands amputated we were told. A humbling sight and a strong reminder of how powerless we really are against Mother Nature.

Although we have very much enjoyed our time in Nepal and we hope to return someday, we are relieved to be leaving ahead of the next planned Moaist strike/protest set to take place towards the end of May. We hear this one has the potential to be much more violent though we hope this rumour is false. In the past week we have seen quite a few UN vehicles cruising the streets of Kathmandu and Pokhara as well as a helicopter at the airport, which suggests that they too are gearing up for the next wave....

 Next stop, Cairo, Egypt where we begin the Middle Eastern leg of our adventure... a section we are very much looking forward to.

Trip by the numbers:
2 – number of countries we’ve been to
3 –number of times combined that we’ve had Delhi Belly (Shane is winning this game)
48 – number of days we’ve been out of Canada
48 – number of days Shane has gone without wearing pants
4 – number of times we’ve done laundry
1,000 – approx. average amount in Canadian dollars we have each lived on per month while away
1,400 – Shane’s monthly rent in Calgary before leaving
2 – number of times we’ve been flat out lost
2,500 – number of photos we’ve take so far
50 – number of episodes of 30 Rock we’ve watched
3 – total number of hours we’ve been apart
2 – number of people from Calgary that we’ve met
Slideshow Report as Spam

Comments

Soulby on

48 - number of days Shane has gone without wearing pants??

I've set up a reminder in my calendar to visit your blog every week. It's very interesting to see where you are and what you're up to. A true adventure! Thanks for sharing it with us.

lyndshane
lyndshane on

I hope to go the entire year without putting a pair of pants on. haha! I think you can set it up so that you get automatic email notification if we add a new entry but i haven't tried. let me know if you try and it works. hope you continue to enjoy our entries. cheers, shane

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