Published: January 13th 2009December 2nd 2008
Day 50 - November 29, 2008
Closer glimpse of Mt. Everest
Woke up early and drove for an hour and a half to the airport. The airport was freezing. It was very modern and yet no heating whatsoever. We left Lhasa at 10:30 AM and reached Kathmandu at 10:30 AM! Tibet follows Beijing time, that’s why. On the plane, we got a closer glimpse of Mt. Everest, which was awesome.
Ammar met us again at the airport. We went back to Moonlight Hotel and then went hiking to the Swayambhunath Temple (640 AD). Also called “Monkey Temple” by the locals because of its many resident monkeys, it sits on top of a hill west of Kathmandu. We climbed a long stairway to the top of the hill until we reached the stupa. We didn’t mind neither the climb nor the hike, as we have acclimatized to 14,000 ft in Tibet that hiking in 4000 ft altitude of Nepal was a breeze! In front of the stupa is the “great thunderbolt” called Dorje, symbolizing male force or compassion (thanks again, Lonely Planet). We went around the stupa in a clockwise direction 3 times, and spun prayer wheels.
back to Kathmandu Durbar Square and visited again all the places we missed the last time. One interesting temple was the Jagganath temple. The pillars on the roof have erotic carvings depicting different sexual positions and sexual deviance as sodomy, bestiality, and ménages a trois. Gim took pictures for Micah.
We went back to Thamel, determined to buy our thanka tonight. Curiously, we went back to the very first place we learned about thankas. We finally found our Kalachakra Mandala!!! (8500 rupees or $110).
Day 51 - November 30, 2008
We reached Bhaktapur shortly before lunch. We walked around its Durbar Square and noticed how cleaner and calmer the town compared to Kathmandu. It has a population of 65,000 and the square has been restored with German funding in the 70s.
There are 3 main cities in Kathmandu valley, each having their Durbar Square: Kathmandu, Patan, and Bhaktapur. Durbar Square is the plaza around the Royal Palace in each of these cities. Of these three, Bhaktapur is our favorite. It is also the best preserved and the cleanest. It was really a refreshing change walking around Bhaktapur. Its star attraction is the Nyatapola temple. It
is 5-storey, 30 m high and the highest temple in Nepal. Built in 1702 by one of the Mallah kings, Ammar said that this towering temple has very strong foundation that it withstood the earthquake in 1930s that flattened most of the temples around Bhaktapur. We saw other smaller temples around the square.
Then we had the famous yoghurt of Bhaktapur at Café Nyatapola. This place is right smack in the center of the square and has great rooftop views. It used to be a temple, too. We saw a couple from our tour group in Tibet, Marc and Sabrina. We arranged to meet them diner. Unfortunately, Gim got really bad stomach bug after eating the yoghurt. We had to go back to our hotel. He was up all night, the yogurt hit him real bad.
Day 52 - December 1, 2008
Trying to leave Nepal
I got up early and asked the hotel people to take me to a pharmacy. We took a motorbike to get there. I got Gim some pills, bananas, Oral Rehydration Solution, and a lot of water. He couldn’t eat the whole day and felt so weak we had to stay inside
the hotel. This is the day that we were supposed to leave Nepal to Malaysia via Bangkok but we changed our plans since we were unsure when Bangkok Airport opens. Bangkok has been having riots for the past week regarding the ouster of their Prime Minister hence airport has been closed for the past week.
Day 53- December 2, 2008
We finally left Nepal today and spent the night in Delhi airport. They were so strict as they were also having terrorists gunning down tourists at Taj Mahal Hotel, so we had to stay in the waiting area during our 12-hour layover. It was boring. Very. Very. Very. Boring.
There are more photos below