Got up a little gingerly after the Raksi and discovered that my clothes and shoes were still wet. Got dressed and had breakfast then caught up on the blog from yesterday. At 10amI went down to the kiosk on Swotha Square to meet Anastasia. There we shared a very pleasant hour chatting over tea in the sunshine.
We had decided on an adventure day so had a sketchy plan only. We walked through the back streets to the local market which was packing up but there were still wonderful stalls of spices, daals, meat (including a goat head) and fish and rather a lot of dried fish and chillis. We took lots of photographs and then continued through the streets at a very leisurely pace taking more photos and just enjoying the atmosphere.
Once at Patan Dhoka we made our way to the large supermarket where I managed to track down both batteries and a large, squashy pineapple toy to use in circle time.
We wanted to visit Swayambu (the monkey temple) so decided to brave a bus. Anastasia has used them a lot but this was the first time for me and I was glad to have someone else there. We had to ask around to find the right bus - labelling is either non existent or in Nepali - then boarded. There is no timetable, the bus just goes when it is full and we only had to wait a few minutes. The ride was exhilarating and very interesting through large parts of Kathmandu to Ratna Park where we managed to get out. The journey was about 20 minutes and cost 15rs - about 12 pence. We then transferred to a taxi to get to Swayambu and negotiated a 300rs fare. Unfortunately this did not take us to the top of the site and we were faced with the stairs....
We slowly made our way up the stairs taking lots of rests and photographs, especially of the monkeys who were playing all around. It took a while to get to the top but I felt extremely proud of myself for managing it. We wandered round the site and then down to the Hindu part. It's a wonderful place,very peaceful and atmospheric and with amazing views over the valley.
Once finished we got another taxi back to Thamel. Thamel is the tourist area of KTM and is where I stayed in 1996 on my first visit to Nepal. We were dropped off in the middle and walked and I finally managed to orientate myself when we saw the Kathmandu Guest House. The area has changed a lot since 1996.It's much busier and better looked after but still an assault on the senses with bags,pashminas, clothing, statues, singing bowls on every corner not to mention the guest houses, cafes and restaurants and many, many tour operators. We walked round a new shopping mall then back to the road I had remembered. One of my favourite places in 1996 was the Pilgrim's Book House just up the road from the Guest House. I was keen to find it again and was really dismayed to find it had burned down last year. I don't know why this affected me so much but I felt extremely sad.
We wandered down the road, peering into shops then decided we needed a drink. We went to the Roadhouse Cafe and ordered two bottles of Gorkha Beer (cold!). These were just right and we sat there for ages chatting and drinking the beer. There was classical music playing - Beethoven piano sonatas - and it was extremely relaxing.
We reluctantly emerged from the restaurant to walk through the streets to the main road as no buses come into Thamel - the roads are too small.. It had started to rain. We walked down past the Garden of Dreams then to Ratna Park. We managed to find a bus stop and to get on a bus heading to Patan Dhoka. What we didn't know is that it was still on its outward journey and after 40 minutes travelling through traffic we found ourselves back where we had started, albeit heading the other way. This was in no way a waste of time. I love travelling by bus as you see so much more and we saw lots of KTM including a Pizza hut,KFC and branch of Clarkes!
We eventually arrived back in Patan Dhoka and paid our 15rs for what was over an hour on the bus. We walked back through the streets to our respective houses and I was very glad to have a long, cold shower and then to Skype Paul. I caught up with the blog while eating Bombay Mix and drinking water. A lovely end to a lovely day.