Before heading out for the day, we relaxed after breakfast for awhile. The only TV channels we get in English are MTV, VH1, and CNN, which is kind of sad. We've had CNN on, it's been kind if interesting watching it in Asia...a lot of the commercials/story highlights are local, so we're still able to learn.
And, I have to say, it's really strange being in a place that does not have power most of the day. It was off today by the time we woke up - we were up at about 6:45 and it went off at 6. It doesn't come back on until 10pm...luckily it's sunny. And the hotel does have a generator that runs some lights, but not all of them and they aren't very bright.
After breakfast, we set out to walk to a place called Hanuman-dhoka Durbar square. The roads to get there seemed more dusty and more crowded than yesterday, and it felt like we may have been the only tourists around. The yellow buff definitely came in handy, and we managed to chase off a couple of probably would have been pick pockets. Luckily, we spotted them, and we know how to carry our bags.
We stopped at Bishal Bazaar for a little while, and hung out in the courtyard for awhile. It was really interesting people watching. A lot of what I read about women's dress code suggested skirts and no sleeveless shirts. However, I've only seen a handful of local people in skirts, and a bunch of them are in tank tops. A good portion of them are dressed more like westerners, especially the younger generation. It's nice to see that things are a little more flexible, but also sad that there seems to be a movement away from the traditional dress. We've seen a lot of school children as well, they wear nice pants and shirts, with ties and blazers. Not what I would have guessed at all.
Once we left the bazaar, we headed back toward Durbar square. Our next stop was Freak street, a small area of the city where hippies from the US once flocked to...and it seemed like maybe still do. Definitely a cool thing to see - shops named after Beatles songs and organic coffee shops.
Before we entered Durbar square, we paid 750 rupees to a guard in a little booth, we weren't really sure why as a lot of people were just walking around it. As a side note, it seems as though there is no direction regarding traffic anywhere (foot or motorized). Being inside the square was nice - far less traffic. Before we really started to wander, we bought Nepal stickers for our water bottles from a street vendor.
We wandered the square for awhile, took lots of pictures, and got harassed by some more street vendors, before going into the palace museum. The palace used to be the home of the kings, but is now a giant museum with little arrows and people around every turn to direct you where to go. We spent several hours in the palace, complete with a wander up to the 9 story temple. Pretty cool - the whole thing was built in 1770, before the US was even an independent nation.
After the palace we went over to what I think was an Hindu temple called Kasthamandap. As with the rest of the architecture in the square, it was very intricately designed. Then we headed to a restaurant with the same name that had a rooftop deck. It was cool to see the city from way up there, but a little crazy how much smog was in the air. I had a chicken sizzler...came with noodles, three French fries, and veggies. I couldn't eat the veggies, but the fries and the noodles were good...chicken was all pretty much fat though. Oh well...
Walking home was not nearly as crazy as our walk out, which was nice. Of course, I narrowly missed walking into dangling power lines and then rolled my ankle in the uneven street - ouch...I really am a complete disaster.
After a brief rest, we headed back out to get a couple of pens to take on the trek, and then head back to the hotel for dinner. On the way back, we ended up on the main road, on what I think is the edge of the Thamel district where we're staying, and it was just...I don't know, eye opening. Sad...a little of both, I'm not sure. It looked like a war zone...or an earthquake. Just rubble everywhere. Yesterday, when we drove through it, we asked if they get earthquakes. They told us no, they wanted to widen the road, so they just bulldozed it. And left. But, the buildings aren't much better...
We came back to the hotel for dinner, and halfway through these odd tree lights came on...apparently those are considered essential power. Odd... But, I did try an Everest beer with dinner. Yay for local beer..
- And the power just came back on...and then went off...and then on. Maybe three times. Welcome to Nepal....
Ok...time for some sleep. Over and out, until next time.