3rd Aug 2012 - Nepal
Rooftop of the World
The flight from Bahrain was interesting...I was hoping to sleep but there was an engineering student from Maryland who wanted to talk. He is a native Nepali doing his Master's Degree in electrical engineering. The other problem was that the sun came up as we flew over India, so my planned sleep became a nap. I arrived in Kat at about 8:15 a.m. to a heavy rain storm = Monsoon. It rained off and on the rest of the day.
Kat is bursting literally overflowing with it's 5 million people. The infrastructure is crumblingl under the weight of all of these people. The people and city are buried in garbage. My guide suggested that both the government and the Nepali people are at faultl....not enough waste bins and the people have become accustomed to dropping garbage wherever they are. The unemployment is staggering. The makeshift housing of the unfortunate is reminiscent of the shanty towns in Brazil and South Africa.
My walking tour of Kat was amazing...according to my young guide we covered about 20K. We started at Durbar Square, the heart of the old part of the city. Historically Durbar Square was the place where they crowned their kings and they ruled. It was originallyll called Kantipu. It grew from a trade route to Tibet in the 7th c. It started out with the Kiratis/Newar tribe.
In Durbar Square there are about 26 monuments. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, that incluldels the Mahendreaswar Temple, Taleju Templel, Chyasin Dega, Basantapur Durbar, Tago Gan (big Bell), Kal Bhairav, Hanuman State, Jagannath Temple,l lDegutlalle Temple Shiva-Parbati Temple,l Maju Dega, Ashok vinayak, Kasthamandap, Silyan Sattal, Dhansa, Trilokya Moban Narayan, Kumari-ghar, and Gaddi Baithak. The Square was wall to wall people (Hindus) as it was a special religous day for them complete with bands, special costumes, and painted faces.
Some of the buildings are still being restored from the 1934 earthquake. After exploring the buildings, including the 9 story (narrow creaky stairs) museum part of the palace we headed to Thamil....tourist mecca....Nepal's equivalent to Bangkok's Khao San Rd. Lots of cows in the middle of the road obstructing everything...goats on the sidewalks...very fragrant.
The Nepali drive on the British side of the road which makes crossing the street a challenge if you don't remember to look the correct way. So far I have only seen one traffic light. I would describe the traffic here as organized chaos but everyone seems to manage. The pollution is indescribable and if I were staying in Kat longer I would definitely purchase a face mask.
The volunteer hostel is great with people from Switzerland, England, Italy, Australia, with 7 new volunteers arriving today. The Australian girl will follow me at the monastery. I had forgotten how hard the beds are. In Thailand is was like sleeping on just the box spring - same same as they say here.
The vegetarian meals are very tasty but I haven't quite adapted to their very sweet tea and coffee. Everyone cautions about the drinking water - bottled only.
Will upload some photos later as I am off to see three more temples today followed by shopping for a Sari. The women here look so comfortable and the colours are amazing.
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