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Published: April 5th 2013
I was relieved to find out yesterday that we would not have to leave too early this morning. Rabi's brother-in-law, Dru, came to my hotel at 10:00 and we took a car to Changu Narayan to start our walk to Nagarkot. Changu is also a World Heritage Site (100NRs) and the brochure says it is 'The most ancient pilgrimage site of Kathmandu Valley.' Dru is a tour guide, so he knows about the temples and sites in the cities, but I told him he didn't have to tell me everything. Hindu is such a complex religion, and I've been to many Hindu temples, so I knew I would just go into overload if he told me too much. He was totally fine with that, so he gve me enough information to keep me interested and I asked questions about anything I really wanted to know. This temple was renovated in the 17th century and became a World Heritage Site in 1979, but it's history dates back to the 3rd century A.D.
Now that's old. It is remarkably well preserved though. The village is quite beautiful and has no shortage of tourist shops. They have definitely capitalized on the plethora of
also a World Heritage Site - Nepal is full of them!
visitors that come. But we were just walking through, so no shopping for me. I decided I didn't want to eat and then walk, and it was getting hot, so we took off and stopped for lunch after about an hour of walking. I had my doubts about this place where we ate. It was a shack. The walls were black from dust? grease? what exactly I don't know. One guy was standing there in the shack and he served one dish. The Nepali version of chow mein. Chow mein it is then. It was excellent. It looked good, it tasted good, and it stayed with me for many, many hours. I also had a drink I haven't had in many, many years. Mountain Dew in a glass bottle. Man, it was good!!! Did not expect that.
We stopped at another small temple on the way there where I saw three very colorful Sadus, already preparing for Holi Festival I guess. Holi Festival would start in two days. People throw colored powdered on each other. It is more famous in India I think, but Nepalis celebrate to a certain extent, although the government passed a law that you cannot
Changu Narayan Temple
We drove here - in a car, not on the motorbike - from Kathmandu and started our walk to Nagarkot.
throw color on anyone you don't know or anyone who says no. I regret not getting a picture of these sadus. I saw three sadus at Pashupatinath Temple too, and they were also very colorful. And lively. And high it would seem. Oh well. Whatever gets you in the spirit.
There were some stunning views between Changu and Nagarkot. Lots of terraced farmland. My camera just isn't good enough to capture the detail in these views, but I gave it my best shot. It was also quite hazy, lots of dust in the air, which is unfortunately, very common around Kathmandu. We arrived in Nagarkot at the Hotel View Point around 4:00PM. My room was nice, lots of wood, but my hot water heater was broken. Didn't realize it until it was too late to change rooms. Oh well. Just a quick rinse for me tonight. That was a great wake up call right before I went to bed!
Dru and I walked around the village a bit, he told me a bit more about the Nepali cultured and the history of Nagarkot, but mostly we just talked about stuff and had some good laughs. Every Nepali I've
spent quality time with has a great sense of humor, in English! Rabi, my trekking guide Nabin, Dru, Rabi's brother Dipu. All of them are funny and it is so easy to make them laugh.
So tomorrow morning is the real reason we walked 12km to Nagarkot. The whole point of coming here is to watch the sunrise. Now, I have to admit, I often find sunrises and sunsets very anticlimactic. Maybe I just haven't seen enough of them with the right person? I have seen some amazing ones in my home of Tucson, Arizona, and in Hawaii the sun was so huge when it set. That was a real showstopper every night. But for the most part, if I have to make an effort to wake up super early and then work to get to some place to see a sunrise, it is pretty anticlimactic. Last year in Nepal, however, I saw the sunrise from Poon Hill after a fairly strenuous walk at 5:00AM. And it did not disappoint.
This time, all I had to do was climb a few flights of stairs to the roof of my hotel. So I woke up 5:00AM, Dru met me
5:30 and we climbed the stairs. To find about 10 Chinese people with two huge cameras each on tripods, all aimed at the impending sunrise.
Are you kidding me? This must have been the racket I heard at 4:00 AM!! They were climbing the metal stairs and opening and closing doors and performing any number of very noisy preliminary preparations to get 'that' shot of the sunrise. So I stood there with my 7 year old Canon Elf and waited, but I did have a pretty good vantage point. A Malaysian man was also waiting with his small camera, and he struck up a conversation with me. Made it very clear that while he was of Chinese origin, he was NOT with this tour group. Haha. He and his wife were driving around Nepal! Go you cause that ain't no easy task, and they are both retired. I ended up with pretty good pictures of the sunrise. I was pleasantly surprised. Wonder if those Chinese chaps would be jealous? Probably not.
Was it worth driving to Changu, walking 12km to Nagarkot, getting up at 5AM, and dealing with the tourists on the roof? I'm still thinking about it,
but it did seem a bit anticlimactic, I have to say. I enjoyed the Changu village and the walking more than the sunrise. I probably could have skipped it and been just as satisfied with my trip.
Dru was so funny at breakfast. It was 7:00 and I had not had nearly enough coffee. He told me yesterday we had to go back the way we came, 12km, and then walk another 5km to Bhaktapur. Frankly, I'd been to Bhaktapur last year and was eager to go back and take more pictures. I was not eager to spend the entire day walking 17km. I sensed Dru wasn't either. Heehee. He's a tour guide, not a trekking guide! So over breakfast he mentioned that we had 'options.' I sensed my day was about to improve. He said we could take a local bus to Bhaktapur and have more time to explore the sites there.
LOCAL BUS??? OH YEAH!! LET'S GO!!
I'd seen and heard about local buses. I was all over that! We got to the bus as it was on its way out of town and it waited for us while we clammered down a hillside. We
actually got a seat. Dru ended up next to a gal from his village, but he didn't know her. They talked non-stop. The Nepali guy next to me seemed completely unaware that I was there. Or that a seat was there. Or that he was on a bus. It took about an hour to get there, got increasingly more crowded, but not too bad, and while there was a lot of large bags of grain and possessions on the bus, there didn't seem to be any live animals. I was disappointed. I was hoping for another chickens on the bus experience like I had in Vietnam. The bus delivered us very near the entrance to the old city in Bhaktapur (1100NPs). How convenient.
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