Hello from Kathmandu,
The day I arrived in Kathmandu, on Oct 2nd, I was feeling sick, so I spent most of it resting in the room. Unfortunately, this illness hasn't really started to go away until tonight.
The next day I got up and walked to one o the famous stoopa's, or Buddhist temples, in Nepal. It is called Swayambunath. Dad and I decided to walk there as well, because it is only about a 20 minute walk. We're staying in Thamel, which is another touristy area of Kathmandu. I found it really difficult to describe Bangkok and Chiang Mai, because theres so much going on. It's even more so the situation in Kathmandu. The city has been really 'developing' in the past few years. There are basically 3-4 story buildings everywher, so that the whole city is this crazy maze of winding streets that all look the same.
The buildings also ALL look at least 50 years old, but few are more than 10 years old. They are all brick, and look very unstable. The streets are tiny, and recently they have ripped up most of the old street foundations to attempt to widen them. There's been a huge influx of motorized traffic, so the congestion is really bad and they are consequently trying to widen the roads. However, that just means right now it's even more rough in the streets, and very dusty.
Walking to Swayambunath was tiring. There are no sidewalks and the road is shared by pedestrains, dogs, bikes, motorbikes and vehicles. I THINK there's a system where you're supposed to drive on a specific side of the road, but at any time if people get stopped, they just cross into the other lane to move pass the traffic.
We got lost trying to find our way to a bridge that me dad knows leads to Swayambunath and this really nice Nepali man led us to it. The bridge was packed with people and cars and animals. I followed these two tiny girls in pigtails, who were walking to school, across the bridge because they looked like they knew what they were doing.
Swayambunath is at the top of this huge, steep set of stairs. I'm telling ya, it was a challenge getting to the top. It was really cool though. It's Diwali right now in Nepal, the bigest festival of the year. The top of this temple was FILLED with all these Hindu women in bright yellow sari's, with all these offerings doing al their ritual things. It was very interesting, crowded and colorful. And loud.
Sounds like a good summary of the trip so far haha.
Anyways, after Swayambunath I needed a rest, because walking around is so tiring because I'm always on high alert from the constant honking horns and cars rushing by right next to me. And when I say right next to me, I mean less than a foot away. That's why I follow the school children around :)
Today we went to another famous temple, at another World Heritage site. It's called Bhayadunath. I was STILL sick this morning, but I just managed to eat a whole meal at dinner, hooray! And I was feeling thirsty again this afternoon. I haven't been wanting to eat or drink for the past 4-5 days, so I think things are on the mend now. I was just about to start some antibiotics. Anyways, I really liked Bhayadunath (no crazy stairs!) and walked around the whole think counterclockwise, like you're supposed to, spinning the prayer wheels. I got some pictures too, so I'll put them up when I get home.
This was a pretty long entry, BUT it's because tomorrow I'm leaving for a trek! I'll be gone for 12-14 days with no e-mail, so there won't be any more blog entries for a while. I'm trekking in the Annapurna region, which is supposed to be very beautiful. I'm really excited for the trek, it was kind of my main attraction of this whole trip. I can't wait to get away from these crowded cities and into the mountain air! We met out guide today, called Ita. He's a sherpa from the Kumbu region near Mount Everest and he seems really nice. We also have a porter to carry our bags, so that will make the trekking MUCH easier. Then I can just enjoy all the amazing views :)
So that's all for the next two weeks! My one regret is that I'm missing Thanksgiving and Alex's birthday. So Happy Thanksgiving everyone and Happy Birthday Alex! I'll be thinking about you all while I'm on the mountains and I hope that you enjoy the turky and pie.
I'll be back in no time,
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