Mr. D and the monkeys
Trip Start Oct 13, 2010
69Trip End Mar 08, 2011
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As we continued we passed more fruit vendors and a few butchers. In one courtyard we saw a little girl dressed up for the festival.
While we were in there we were approached by a young Nepali guy named Mr. D. He was a good kid and offered to give us a very good tour of the Square. He said he usually charges foreigners 800 rupees per person ($11)... we told him we'd pay 500 per person, and he agreed but said if we were happy with him then we could tip extra. He took us all around the square and gave us tons of info about the history and architecture and gods of the various temples. It was really fascinating. He also had a pretty good sense of humor and had fun explaining stuff and having us try to guess certain answers. Usually the tour is about 1 hour, but we spent a good hour and a half with him, and even got some cokes together and just chatted. Turns out he's been doing the tours for 7 years, since he was 11 and today (conveniently?) was his 18th birthday. In the end we gave him 2,000 rupees, because we were really happy with his tour. =) We wouldn't have gotten half of the info or had half as much fun from trying to use our book. Thank you Mr. D!
After that we took a taxi over to the "Monkey Temple". There are two ways to get to it. You can take a taxi or bus to the top of the hill, or take the pilgrims approach which is a very long set of stone stairs all the way up the hill. We opted for the stairs, needing to start training of course. Once we got there we already saw a bunch of the monkeys that live in the forest below and have made a career of begging and stealing food from visitors. As we started to climb it started to rain, and as we approached the top we were caught in a full on rain storm, it was pouring buckets! Luckily there were a few vendors who had tarps strung up, so we hid under them with everyone else and waited it out. The tarp we were under had a small speaker blaring some nepali music, and it made for a very surreal experience in the rain.
Once the rain cleared we found that the temple had a plaza of sorts surrounding the main Stupa, with other little temples, some shops and a Tibetan monastery. Along with all the monkeys there were also a couple packs of dogs that were strewn about sleeping. The monkey's were very entertaining, jumping, running, climbing. There were a few larger males, quite a few females and a handful of babies which were clung to their mothers and sometimes ventured out on their own.
We spent a couple hours up there, just watching the people and monkeys, lighting some butter lamps and then eventually made our way down the steps again. We took a taxi back to the hotel and decided to check out the "Yak Restaurant" for dinner. When we got there it was full. We waited for a bit and then one of the hostesses asked if we would mind sharing a table as there was a couple who offered. We gladly accepted because we were pretty hungry. The other couple were super friendly and we immediately struck up a conversation about our trips so far, future treks, which then lead into photography and he and Simon geeked out over their cameras and lenses, handing them back and forth over the table. Eventually we were sharing food and found out that they were staying at the same hotel, and actually in the room right above ours. It was a funny coincidence.
Both guys ordered Tongba which is a type of hot Tibetan beer made from fermented millet. What we didn't realize was that you actually get a small wooden barrel filled with the fermented millet seeds and a large thermos of scalding water, which you pour into the millet. The longer you let it sit, the stronger the beer is, and as you drink you just keep refilling.
The next day we planned to hire a car and drive out to explore Bhaktapur and Patan, which are neighboring villages with amazing temples and a medieval feel.