Kathmandu, page 1 of 4
We reserved Hotel Malla from Holland and for sure wouldnt have stayed here if we had to reserve it now; because booked from here it was more than twice expensive! Not to believe, from Pokhara we tried to reserve a couple of more nights than we booked already, but when we heard the price of 200 dollars for one night we changed our mind! Our auto-riksja driver was terrible impressed by the drive-in of our hotel and stopped outside the entrance, he felt out of place with all this expensive automobiles! We also felt out of place with all the saluting militaries, opening doors and so, eventually we even entered the hotel by the garden, just to escape the door opening saluting soldier. Anyway we couldnt escape the guard at the entrance of the hotel, he managed to greet us even if we sneaked by the pedestrian throughway
But we had a great room, and when we took a small sandwich and a big beer next to the mini-stupa in the often awarded price garden, in the distinguished company of English ladies of a certain age (we saw a lot of them in the better hotels, also some men, apparently not lacking money and quite happy to see their India and Nepal again), and when our waiters bowed respectfully for our totally outworn clothes, we felt completely happy again! As you can see on this picture! We forgot everything about showering in bathrooms where you could combine going to the toilet and taking a shower. Which was of course very time efficient, if you didnt get electrocuted first (even more time efficient), which could happen because of power-points showing up in direct reach of the shower! And now I dont exaggerate, because even Jacques started to be worried my absolute norm that Im not imagining things Anyway, none of these problems ever reached our not at all troubled mind by now!
Our walking tour in Bhaktapur was a big success, so I thought it would be nice to take a little stroll through Kathmandu Of course we made a couple of walks, closely following LP advised routes, but I cant say it resembled anything nice and relaxed. The streets in Kathmandu are much too small for all the traffic, a lot of bike-riksjas, taxis, motorcycles, cars, people walking, constantly you hear hooting and braking and shouting, clouds of dust and exhaust-fumes are hanging in the streets and all the time you are bumping into people.
You have no time left to enjoy all temples and other interesting sights that are everywhere around you. So you are not able to relax and ponder about mediaeval ways of doing things, but you are constantly confronted with the 20-est century! All these smells, all this movement, all this noise, this dirt, it takes a while to get used to it. However, the dirt is less than in India, every morning the city is cleaned! Very impressive and I would like to use this opportunity to express our esteem to the government of Nepal!!!
Our walk brings us to a temple in the middle of a small artificial lake: the Rani Pokhari temple, a small Shiva temple that you cant enter. I photograph it through the bars and here you have the peaceful temple, see above. Dont forget that I was standing amid a kind of garbage dump, with dirty feet, trying to stay focussed on this temple with many people walking close by, my ears full of the noise of the traffic and my nose full of the smells of this junk pile After this I was quite happy to arrive in mini Swayambhunath, a copy of the real Swayambhunath we are going to visit the day after tomorrow. It is so nice and so surprisingly different, with all the white and all the colors of the flags and the happy screaming children running very fast around all mini mini Stupas!
A positive point of Kathmandu is certainly the food, you can eat delicious, again any style you want like in Pokhara, much better than in Bhaktapur (but to earn such a peaceful atmosphere you are prepared to eat almost nothing!). Jacques is still going for the sizzling rum steak and got positive results in different restaurants! We even get to drink some wine, a bit strange Nepalese kind, but by now we forgot totally about Bordeaux and are quite happy with everything that resembles wine distantly!
In Kathmandu you have a lot of bike riksjas and of course the drivers ask you if you want to go anywhere, but they arent so pushing like in India and you dont have to try youre most to lose them. However, they ask a lot of money when you do want to go somewhere, something which Jacques found offensive sometimes, did they think he was that stupid!? Not anymore now anyway, he made his point excessively clear, at least when I compare it to his usually never uttered comments/complaints!