Breakfast at 8am, along with it seems the entire hotel so have to wait for seats and then the queues mean it takes an hour to have breakfast and then we need to get going. Today we are heading to Bhaktapur for a bit more sightseeing, it pretty much the same as yesterday but more walking less reading. This place though is a lot more damaged than the previous sights we have been to so far, so the dust is pretty awful and leaves your eyes stinging and nose burning!
Its such a shame the damage done here and you also see all those people who are now living in huts and have been displaced with no where to live, its sad to see. But amidst all this dust and poverty we see so many ladies in bright vibrant red and gold sari’s it seems today is a special day (well I have heard that every day I have been in Kathmandu to be honest!) but apparently its a good day for a wedding, more blessed than any other so pretty much every corner we turn there is singing, dancing and wedding celebrations and then the grooms are all paraded in their cars off to the brides houses! Its an interesting sight to see, and must be strange as well because every tourist is snapping video footage, taking photos and watching all the action!! Me included to be honest but how strange to be a tourist attraction for getting married.
Anyway, we have a good mooch around the Palace, and more courtyards and do a little bit of shopping and I find a really lovely necklace and try to get my barter on with the guy, but he insists its a good price (bit like Dubai its all about the weight and market price) I can’t complain to be honest as probably would pay more in London for something like that. I feel I have a bargain, therefore I do!
I see an old lady spinning wool sitting in the courtyard and go to take a photo, I forgot photo etiquette and she gestures for money. Now I have no idea what currency I am working in between Bhutan, Nepal Rupees and USD so pick up a 20rupee note and then see her pained face and realise its probably not that much, at the same time Nora is snapping away and I shout to her that she has to give her money and she pulls out a 5 rupee note!! just to make things worse, thinking about it, I just gave her 20cent worth, basically 15p and Nora gave her about 3p so not surprised she’s a bit miffed!! I pull out 100 rupee to appease the situation and she seems much happier!! (note to self, know your currency and photo taking rate so as not to upset anyone).
I took a walk up some of the ruins and around a load of temples, decided to take a selfie of me with one of the elephant statues being repaired on a set of steps. When I came back down from the steps Nora said “I was going to ask how you could tell which one was the elephant, but thought that might be rude!”, a bit gob smacked I replied “yep, that is pretty much” (Scottish humour I’m guessing)!! Lol
Final stop on the tour is Bodhnath, the largest Stupa surrounded by houses (now shops and roof top restaurants) and a very ornate monastery at the entrance to the Stupa, and the standard prayer wheels all round. A popular attraction again this one, it seems very busy in Kathmandu especially compared to Bhutan which is no where near as populated with tourists (thankfully!).
After that its back to the hotel and I am handed the Tibet Visa and told to guard it with my life, lose it and we are basically stuffed! can’t get in, or can’t get out!
After a bit more packing/repacking based on the changes to be made to the itinerary (e.g. going to Pokhara straight from Tibet rather than another overnight in Kathmandu), its one final dinner. This time we are trying the sister restaurant of Friends, called Or2K its vegan / veggie (well so am I sort of for now!) and again gets good reviews so we will see.
The place itself is quite funky, with fluorescent lighting and the menu lights up, very hip. Shoes off, low seating on cushions with low tables so very hippy! It feels a lot like that too when you look around at all the people there travellers, hikers and the like. You may know what I mean when you think of travelling and everyone buys themselves the fishermans pants and has dreadlocks, and is soooo in tune spiritually with the place because they are finding themselves, but they end up simply being travel clones of each other and the opposite of actually truly finding ‘yourself’ but simply blending in with everyone else, then they go home and the firshermans pants get thrown out! Anyway, I digress….
I had the veggie Biryani and it was lovely, really yummy but so filling along side that some naan and humous, sadly though the service was really poor. Nora’s food came out about 20 minutes after mine, by which time I was finished and apparently it wasn’t hot. The water came with no glasses to actually drink from, and the only time they were fast at anything was picking up the bill. Needless to say its not somewhere i would really recommend, and was actually nearly twice the cost of ‘Friends’. It needed an Espresso Martini just to take the edge off!
Finally, one thing to note about the Vaishali hotel, the internet service is tragic and compared to every other restaurant, cafe or place visited in Kathmandu I simply can’t believe how slow it is. So bad is it, that google maps won’t even come up, Kathmandu is just a huge green space until you logon to another wifi service! Everywhere else seems pretty good to be honest, so it is a real shame. But then, the TV also hasn’t worked any time since I have been here either.
Anyway, another early night, early morning flight and next stop Tibet!!