Saturday, 16 August 2014

Day 22 - Coffee, buses and Nepalese hospitality

Woke up still feeling rough so decided not to go to school but to doze for a while longer. Up, showered and dressed then read with a cup of tea for a while. At about 11am I decided to brave the outdoors, despite the rain, and set out to Casa Pagoda. There I had a honey latte (I was expecting a teaspoon of honey but ended up with about 1cm in the bottom of the glass), mixed fried rice and a plain latte while reading and enjoying the fresh air. Walked to the local small supermarket to stock up on sugar free biscuits and to try and find milk. Milk is really hard to find in Kathmandu. You can sometimes get long life cartons but fresh is very difficult to find. I ended up with a small carton of soy milk.

Walked back to the apartment and packed for an overnight stay. I also played patience on the computer. I left at about 3pm to walk to Patan Dhoka. I was delayed slightly by yet another festival, this time to Ganesh. Once at Patan Dhoka I bought chocolates as a gift for the family I was going to be staying with then decided to get a taxi to the Yellow Pagoda Hotel to meet Harihar. 

The journey was through fearsome traffic but was entertaining looking at the shop signs. On arrival at the extraordinarily yellow hotel I found that Harihar was in a meeting on the 5th floor and the lift wasn't working. With a few muttered words I climbed all the way to the top to the Buddha Room where I found Harihar hard at work with his friends finalising the plans for a reading scheme in Nepali. I had time to look around and was fascinated by the work on the walls, all in Nepali, where they had been finding suitable words to use in the scheme introducing one character/sound at a time. Harihar explained he has been given 2 sounds and 20 words to write 2 stories for the scheme...not an easy task!

We walked down all the stairs then out into Kathmandu. We walked along Kantipath, up and over the roads, then to a small cafe located in the basement of a building near the main road. Here we had much needed cold drinks (I had a mango flavour one) then we set off for Ratna Park bus park - the "old" bus park.

We found the bus we needed and - a bonus - found seats. The seats were very narrow and quite uncomfortable but better than standing. The bus pulled out after about 5 minutes and we made our way slowly out of Kathmandu, past Bhaktapur and up over the rim of the Kathmandu Valley to Sanga. I amused myself by looking out of hte window and saw a market under tarpaulin that must have stretched 1km, a restaurant called the "hob nob restaurant" and the Kathmandu Valley fun park which - most unlikely - is a water park with slides located outside Bhaktapur!

We got off the bus in Sanga which is a small village straggling along the main road. We walked down a side road past shops where Harihar bought a few bits and pieces, and up to the Police School. This was in beautifully landscaped grounds and we walked for a further 8 or so minutes round the edge of the sports fields and vegetable plots to Harihar's house.

I was given the most wonderful welcome by his wife and daughter and flower posies which I took a photo of so as not to forget (I have them here now and they are a bit battered but still beautiful). The electricity was off so there was a small, low energy light bulb to light the room. I was offered cucumber picked straight from the garden, which was delicious and refreshing, then we went into the kitchen for a lovely meal of rice, lentils, vegetables, poppadoms and crisps and okra with an omelette. I tried the local ghee which is mixed into the rice and lentils and was very tasty. This was followed by bananas - much smaller than the UK ones but much sweeter - and then Nepalese tea (without sugar for me) with lots of spices in. I was very tired and retired to bed soon after. It was very cosy under the mosquito net with my book and torch and I slept really well.

1 comment: