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Published: December 9th 2005
In the old parts of town the whole place looks like this - every single piece of wood is covered with intricate carvings
Photo's coming when i get back from Everest...
Summary - since I've been here I've visited various religious places and really got under the skin of the place by spending some time just relaxing at some of the most holy religious sites in the world. I've seen snake charmers and had people asking for photographs of me amongst a whole bunch of other things. I've also done a bit of shopping stocking up on v.v.vcheap outdoor equipment for my trek coming up - don't worry I've invested in a high quality daun jacket and not one made out of chicken feathers!
The old part of Kathmandu is an architectural wonder - it's like stepping back in time a few hundred years. All of the buildings are leaning to one side or another and there is not one real vertical or horizontal straight line in existence here. Every house regardless of wealth has had an amazing amount of intricate carving put into the door and window frames - even the joists supporting the balcony that most of them have are delicately carved.
Today was one of my best days yet - I spent a few hours wondering round a
This age old trick is incredible. Every now and then a complacent passer by gets too close and one of the cobras will go for them.
couple of major temple complexes, relaxing and taking time to see what really goes on in these places. It turned out to be so worth it! As the day went by I saw various camera touting (I know I'm not one to talk but I do know where to be discrete with my camera) flying past with a guide giving them a quick outline of what the place is for and then legging it onto the next temple. I saw so many little things going on and watched entire ceremonies performed. The places are amazing, every little carving in the temple and every detail of every carving has a meaning. The whole time that all the religious things are taking place normal life continues all mixed in together - e.g. a group of small boys playing a game a bit like marbles with coins to see if they could make some money from each other or a young Nepali couple sitting on the edge of a step together whispering in each others ears and giggling.
Towards the second half of it I had the rare occurence of meeting and speaking to some local people who didn't want to be
The largest buddha stupa in the world - this is only the top of it. I spent some time talking to the three school boys in the photo and one of them invited me back to his house to meet his family and have dinner but I had to say no.
a guide or want money off me for some reason or another. They were a bunch of school kids, one of whom is hoping to study at Uni in England... I met them while relaxing atop what was I think (thats a key word as I can't quite remember) the largest buddist stupa in the world. One of them (Anal - don't laugh...) ended up inviting me back to his house for tea and maybe some local food to meet his family which would have been a great experience but just incase there was something amiss I declined his offer and simply exchanged email addresses but I may well see them again.
On the money side of things despite having spent a fortune the first few days of travelling I have spent hardly anything over the last couple of days. My accomodation is less than a pound a night and I'm generally eating cheaply and visiting all the interesting places independantly rather than on tours. For example today, up until dinner time, I spent less than 50p on food and transport to a couple of temples - a local tout tour operator in a respectable place wanted to charge me US$30 for the privelage without even a guide included! My mistake came later when I just walked into a restaurant which someone told me was good and just took a seat before looking at the menu. My meal (a mediocre indian curry) came to about 4pounds which granted isn't that expensive when you compare it with english prices but when you compare it to a little tibetan restaurant that i found the previous night which gave me better and more traditional food with drinks for less than a pound it is expensive!
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