It was back down the hill this morning to the Kathmandu Valley, where I will spend my last two nights in Nepal back at the Shangri La in downtown Kathmandu, which is both the name of the valley and also of the city which is part of an urban agglomeration of three cities – Patan, Bhaktapur and Kathmandu, and to add to the confusion, this big city is what is known collectively to the outside world as Kathmandu, capital of Nepal.
Halfway back down the mountain we stopped for a walk through Bastola Village where a lot of traditional farming goes on but there is road-building and modernisation as well.
It was a really steep path going down…
A lot of the villagers here supplement their farming income with homestays and cooking for visitors. Our destination was this house.
Where this lady cooked lunch for us…
…which we ate on the upstairs floor, where the breeze was cool and fresh and it was surprisingly comfortable. I didn’t even have to sit cross-legged, which I can no longer do anyway.
Ajaya warned me it would be a hole-in-the-ground toilet, but the lady had upgraded to a proper sit-down, PLUS there was soap and running water. I didn’t take a pic, but I did take this pic of some of the services on offer.
Then it was back up the hill to meet driver Rai on the ‘main road’. I’d been somewhat dreading the long trek back up on a full stomach, but the lady knew of a short cut and we set off, after first farewelling her grumpy Tibetan mastiff.
So it was up this path and to a steeper short-cut path up the mountainside to the right – wait for it – passing these marigold-gathering ladies on the way.
Ajaya had to pull me up over this crest to this path, which was a flat stroll compared to what was below the crest.
So then there was an hour of more of agonisingly slow, noisy and dusty driving back into greater Kathmandu, with my head aching, nose running and eyes scratching. Of that more in the next post. But we did explore the beautiful of centre of Patan with its Durbar (Royal Square) and palaces and temples.
This old fella smiled at me and sort of summoned me over. I wasn’t sure whether he was asking for money but I slipped him a small note anyway. Mostly people are happy to be photographed and don’t ask for tips, like this young lad who’s priest for a month at this temple. Every male in the community gets a go at it at some stage in their life, at the age of 11.
And being a priest does not presumably break this law.
But speaking of tips and suchlike, I had dinner at the Vietnamese place across the busy street last night – there are no traffic lights at all! – and the waiter insisted on ushering me back across the terrifyingly busy four lanes of traffic. But he refused the $US1 note I offered him, so I pressed it on the uniformed guard at the hotel gate, who escorted me across in the first place! Meanwhile, back at the Durbar Palace…
….I had a damned good caffe latte in this cafe in the Museum grounds.