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Monthly Archives: May 2012

Bhaktapur – An Ancient Town

28th November 2011

Leaving the stunning Langtan and Himalaya Mountain Range behind we returned to Alpine Sherpa Cottages to have breakfast and pack.

The drive back had us pass through an army unit doing training runs and maneuvers, they did not look too impressed at having to be out running at that time of the morning.

Trying to Sneak a Pic from the Bike

We also past some houses in the process of being built, if “built” is what you could call it. Using bamboo to hold up sections and to align bricks, it was the kind of set up that would building inspectors from the States heart palpitations at the mere thought of it.

Back at the cottages we ordered some tea and within seconds Steve the dog was there. Buddha immediately poured half his tea into the saucer and went off to find him some sort of cookies to eat. I ordered some breakfast and poured half my tea into the saucer for Steve. Buddha returned shortly and started dishing out cookies for Steve, who also got to lick our plates. Once he realised there was nothing more, he trotted off without so much as a backwards glance. I almost felt used, at least Bob sat and waited for us and showed true dedication. Oh well, some strays are just a little fickle I guess.

Good Old Steve!

Just before we left a little boy ran up selling postcards and hand made hats. I couldn’t resist.

It was a stunning day and I was going to miss our little cottage. The views were spectacular as we climbed on board the bike and headed out of Nagakot and on to Bhaktapur.

“Bhaktapur is an ancient Newar town in the east corner of the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal. It is located in Bhaktapur District in the Bagmati Zone. It is the third largest city in Kathmandu valley and was once the capital of Nepal during the great Malla Kingdom until the second half of the 15th century.
Bhaktapur is listed as a World Heritage by UNESCO for its rich culture, temples, and wood, metal and stone artwork.”

Courtesy of: Wikipedia

It was a beautiful day to drive to Bhaktapur with the sun shining brightly. Half way down the mountain Buddha decided he was a little peckish and suggested we stop to eat. Considering I had just eaten breakfast I wasn’t too fussed but figured what the heck. We past a few decent looking snack shacks, but he chose one that had “local” written all over it. Something I really enjoy about being with him is that he always chooses the place that tourists would avoid and usually has the best yummies. In this case it was some Nepali tea and some cake like things. After about an hour we neared Bhaktapur. There is around a $15 charge for all foreigners to enter, this is to help in the preservation of the city. Buddha had me cover my head with my scarf and had no problem going through. Turns out they weren’t even checking folks that day. I didn’t feel bad about avoiding the entrance fee as I planned to spend money within the city itself.

Within seconds of entering I was overwhelmed at the beauty of the architecture. This was everything that Kathmandu wasn’t. I got quite irritated that Buddha wouldn’t stop as he was determined to find the city square. But when he did I was glad for it and the only way to explain the history that oozed from every doorway is to show you in pictures:





The Lower Part of the Carving Shows Childbirth


It wasn’t just the history that was beautiful, it was the people and day to day life:

Carrying the Days’ Load

One of my Favorites

A Tight Squeeze

Spinning

We ended the day with some lunch and then drove back to the chaos of Kathmandu. A fantastic 2 days, I wish I had known of these places earlier as I would have liked to spend more time there. Oh well guess I have to come back then…

 
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Posted by on May 28, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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A Sunrise Worth Waking For!!

28th November 2011

Sunrise

Rolling out of bed, barely, at 5.30am we left to attempt sunrise. Steve followed us out and watched us leave on the bike. It was so cold that morning that the bike didn’t want to start, but eventually we all got moving. At the base of the “Watch Tower” we bought some coffee from one of the little stalls and made our way up the small hill.

Who needs Starbucks

At the top of the hill there were quite a few tourists and locals alike and of course the usual curio and postcard toting sellers. We huddled around waiting for the sunrise and it was well worth it. First the colors started arriving:

Prayer Flags at Dawn

Then the air got colder and the mist started rising:

Valley Mists

Finally the first mountain outlines became visible and my first glimpse of Everest left me speechless (which is very hard to do):

Everest is the Pointy One


It Doesn’t Look That Big…


Me and Everest


Good Friends!

Finally the Langtang Mountain range, “opposite” to the Himalaya range that Everest is part of, became visible. The peaks just seemed to materialize out of nowhere, one minute it was just an early morning haze, and the next there was an entire range.

The Langtang Range Starting to Appear


A Little Clearer By the Second

And then the real show started as the sun crested the horizon. With this also came a blast of cold air as the cool air moved up the valley, it still amazes me that the air gets colder as the sun arrives.



A Sight Worth Waking For

The coming of the sun tinged all the mountains in a stunning pinkish hue. Definitely a great reason to wake up in the morning.

 
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Posted by on May 24, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Nagakot….and meeting Steve

27th November 2011

Trip to Nagakot

Buddha was taking me to a town just outside of Kathmandu, by the name of Nagakot. He used to come camping in this area as a kid, and it was known for its great views of the sunrise and set. We headed out after a lazy morning and afternoon, around 3.30pm. Apparently it was “very close”, but it took almost an hour and half. About 45min into the trip along a country road we hit a kid… or rather the kid hit us. We were going along on the far side of the road and the kid was walking hand in hand with an older girl. All of a sudden this kid just darts across the road (has a possible future in sprint) and slams into my knee… I know ridiculous, if he had been a second faster he would have been hit by the bike, instead he ricocheted off my knee and fell on his butt. Thank heavens Buddha is a good driver as he managed to stop the bike without us falling over. The kid bounced up and ran crying to a group of old men who seemed none too concerned, they waved at us with an expression that perhaps meant “no worries he does this all the time”. If I could feel anything below my right knee I might have hopped off to see if he was ok, but at present I think I was the one with more damage. Once we saw the kid get up and walk away we knew he was ok and headed off again, my knee throbbing with every mile. He sure had a hard head that’s for sure.

What with falling off the bike yesterday and bruising my right leg and now being hit by a kid in the right knee, I was a little on the shaken side. However, the beauty of the scenery started to distract me and I couldn’t help think to myself that this is what I had expected to see more of when I bought my flight to Kathmandu.

Missed Sunset

We had been told that the sun set after 5pm, but by 4.45pm it was a solid red ball and sinking fast. Since my knee was throbbing I motioned for Buddha to pull over, it took me a few seconds to descend and limped around to get my bag and camera. But in those few minutes the sun was down and gone before I could take a picture. Buddha acted a bit sheepish for putting off our departure. But no worries, just means the early morning sunrise was a go.

Nagakot was set high up on a hill and the road involved many curves and driving round and round to get to the top. Buddha had said to look for a place that might be good to stay at, but ignored every one of my suggestions. It was getting quite annoying until he pulled up to this place called Sherpa Alpine Cottages. It was perfect, individual cottages overlooking the valley. Just what I had been thinking of, sometimes I think he can read my mind. We were lucky as they had 1 available.

The Outside


The Inside

We dumped our bags and headed back into town by foot to look for somewhere to eat. We had to borrow a flashlight as there were no streetlights, just the beautiful stars. This felt much the same as the search for accommodation, I would point at a place and Buddha would frown and say “Nah!”. Eventually we opted for cozy looking place and sat down on elevated platforms and ordered some hot chocolates. When they were brought to us, the guy told Buddha that nothing was prepared and dinner would take a long time. So we decided to just have the drink and play the dot game. It seemed so strange that a place would actually tell guests that, all I can think is that the staff wanted to head home early.

Playing the Dot Game, It was a little chilly that evening

But it all worked out in the end. We walked back to the hostel where the staff there were entertaining everyone with music. It made for a great evening and good food. I taught Buddha a new card game and he instantly became addicted to it. Dinner was momos for me and fried rice for him.

Evening Entertainment

The Meeting of Steve

While we were enjoying dinner and card games another couple came in followed by a black and white dog. Turned out it was a village dog and had adopted them. After dinner as we all headed outside the dog, I named him Steve, decided he would choose us for the evening. He must have known that Buddha had a soft spot for dogs. We got to the cottage and Buddha immediately ushered him in, he looked around, curled up and went to sleep. Buddha took the towel provided and laid it on him as a blanket. It was rather cute, but guess that means we’re not using the towel.

Steve!


Buddha making sure Steve is comfy

The cottage provided one of the singularly beautiful sights, a view of the stars, don’t think I have seen them that bright in a very long time. It would be an early morning so that we could catch the sunrise. so with Steve snoring us to sleep, we called it a night.

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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“the Animal Cutting Place”…

26th November 2011

Temple of Kali

This morning we both managed to get going early and head out on the bike. Buddha wanted to take me to, what he called, “The Animal Cutting Place”. It’s a Hindu temple devoted to Kali, the goddess of destruction. How it works is that families bring chickens or goats or the like as a sacrifice. The animals are ceremoniously slaughtered, cleaned and returned to the family to take home for dinner.

The drive was longer and much colder than I had expected and by the time we got there we both had frozen fingers. Parking, we headed down to the temple. I have visited many places around the world but the intensity of this place was off the scale. Even though we were there before 10am there were already hundreds of people and the lines for the sacrifices wrapped round the temple. There was almost a festive air to the place, with people selling food, spices, toys, and everything else. At one point a guy came and tried to sell me a small brass lock shaped like a tiger. Even though I thought it was neat, I resisted and finally, in an attempt to get rid of him, I made the mistake of saying “Maybe later!”. He nodded and walked away. I figured there was no way he would find us in this crowd on the way back….

Everything for sale

Rows of beans

Colors and sounds abound

We attempted to enter the temple area and bypass the hoardes of people, but were promptly shoo’ed out by who I can only assume was “The Keeper of the Line”. So we walked around the perimeter and found another entrance. It was very smoky with all the incense and such and rather overwhelming in truth.

View from above

This is just part of the line

Bells

After wandering around for an hour or so we decided to pop into one of the “cafe’s” for breakfast. It was fascinating watching the food being made, we opted for tea and some sort of donut like things and a bowl of some sort of beans. It was delicious, but really have no idea what it was other than the tea.

Making Donut like things

Breakfast!

About half way through this old gentleman came up to us and started playing a traditional instrument. I wasn’t sure if he was playing for money or was going to try sell me something, but I got 50rupees ready just in case. He was superb and added a great atmosphere to breakfast, in hindsight I wish I had given him a little more.

Music Man

On the way out we decided to buy some veggies to make for dinner at the hotel tonight or tomorrow night. There was so much good stuff to choose from and pretty soon my shoulder bag was chock-a-block full and I was starting to get concerned on how my balance might be affected on the bike.

Remember the guy selling the brass lock, the one I was certain wouldn’t find us in this mass of human beings…. I underestimated the tenacity of a Nepali lock seller. He spotted us immediately and came right over. Being rather insistent and no matter how much we bantered and encouraged him to go sell to the obvious tour group just behind us, he was hell bent on selling me one. Eventually we settled on 300 rupees, as I did kind of like it. Later I found it for 270 rupees in Kathmandu, and that was without bargaining. He certainly was a persistent bastard, and was fun to barter with so its all good.

Walking around the grounds we came across family after family setting up their picnic areas. Each family had rather elaborate hand made screens that were set up and made a perfect private location for a family outing. It was rather touching to watch how the families interacted and it reminded one of how similar all families are all over the world.

Oops!!!

At the bike Buddha got on and then braced himself for me to get on. As I went to swing my leg over I realised that:
1- we were on a slope
2- I was on the higher side
3- my bag-o-veggies was rapidly overbalancing me

My first attempt failed immediately. The 2nd attempt on the other hand had me almost all the way on the bike when I felt the bag slide. Next thing I remember is that the bike lying on me and somehow had managed to kneel on one knee and the outside leg got under the bike. Buddha managed to jump out of the way, but one of the rear breaklights had popped off and was damaged. I also knew I was going to have a whopper of a bruise later.

I felt unnerved and embarrassed, because you know there were people watching. Buddha decided to move the bike up to where a stump would allow me to get better leverage onto the bike. I limped behind him and managed to get on this time. The drive home was insane as it was high traffic time, and if you thought bus drivers were crazy in town, try them outside of town. It was damn near terrifying on one section as a bus wouldn’t let anyone get passed and people were getting quite insistent.

But making it home barely, Buddha took the bike to the shop to get it checked out and I chatted with a couple who were staying in the apartments next to the hotel. He was from Australia and she was Nepali, they lived in Goa, India and were back in Kathmandu to see her family. Its always interesting meeting couples of different nationalities.

After a very interesting, intense and insane day we opted for pizza before calling it a night.

 
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Posted by on May 20, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Singing Bowls!

25th November 2011

Sneaking in for breakfast

around 9am Buddha and headed for Bouddha Temple for breakfast. Technically, you are meant to pay for parking and go through the front gate where tourists pay to enter. But Buddha knew a back route to a little Tibetan tea shop on the edge of the temple. It was definately a locals hang out. Unfortunately they were all out of salty Tibetan tea, awww schucks…. so had to have normal sweet Nepali tea to go along with our freshly baked Tibetan bread, almost like roti. It was a perfect start to the day.

Breakfast Tibetan Style

My Search for a Singing Bowl

After breakfast it was time to find the shop I had seen on my first day in Kathmandu when Buddha had brought me here the first time, it was time to find the bowl that would sing for me.

When I told people I was going to Nepal, everyone said “great, where are you going to trek?”. My reply was always “Trek? I am going to find my singing bowl.” This was often answered with “Singing what???”. Yes, since the first time I saw one of these bowls I have wanted one, but promised myself I would only get one when I visited Nepal. For those who aren’t sure what the heck I am talking about, here is some explanation courtesy of Wikipedia:

Singing bowls (also known as Tibetan Singing Bowls, rin gongs, Himalayan bowls or suzu gongs) are a type of bell, specifically classified as a standing bell. Rather than hanging inverted or attached to a handle, singing bowls sit with the bottom surface resting. The sides and rim of singing bowls vibrate to produce sound characterized by a fundamental frequency (first harmonic) and usually two audible harmonic overtones (second and third harmonic). According to singing bowl researcher Joseph Feinstein, singing bowls were traditionally used in Asia and the tradition of making sound with bronze bowls could go back 3,000 or more years to the Bronze Age.

I had searched for one in almost every shop I had visited in Kathmandu and Pokara and had found none that would sing for me. The guy at this shop had been very helpful the first time and gave me excellent information. As I walked in he recognized me and was very happy to take his time and help me find the perfect bowl. Many bowls seem more intricate and decorated, but are also made by machine. He recommended one of the hand made older ones and I finally found her, and she sang beautifully. She even had Om Mani Padme Hum, the Buddhist chant, in graved on it in Sanscript. I barely had to touch her side with the wooden stick to make her sing.

I also bought a small one for my mom, I wish I could have bought more if I had had the space.

I was given the meaning of Om Mani Padme Hum and thought I would share it, exactly how it was written:
OM: I invoke the path and experience of universality so that…
MANI: the jeweline luminosity of my immortal mind,
PADME: be unjoled within the depths of the lotus centre of my awakeness consciousness….
HUM: and be wafted by the ecstasy of breaking through all bonds and horizons.

Got to love it when things are translated into English.

People Watching

I could sit and watch people at Boudha Temple all day long. Its fascinating to see them walk by and often makes you wonder what their story is. Here are a few of my favorites:

Old Friends


Sri Lankan monk on a pilgrimage, looking for donations


I would love to hear her story


One of my favorite photos


2 Ladies of Tibet, the striped apron is moved to the front after they are married

Kapan Gumba Monastery

After finding my singing bowl and walking around Boudha a few times we got back on the bike and headed into what could be called the “suburbs”. Beautiful big houses out this way. Buddha used to come camping out here when he was growing up, before the city spread this far. He wanted to take me to Kapan Gumba a Tibetan Monastery, apparently quite beautiful. Unfortunately it was closed for the month due to a workshop on Buddhism for foreigners. As we were walking to the gate I heard a South African accent. Turns out the woman was not only from SA but from Durban, my area. You never know who you are going to meet where. We felt the connection instantly and chatted for a while before the bells called her in to more class.

That afternoon, we went to four different cinemas in search of a movie Buddha wanted to watch, but they were either full or had already started. So in the end we just headed back to relax and to play with my singing bowl.

 
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Posted by on May 12, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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DVD’s, Parasites and Antibiotics…

24th November 2011

Being sick gives you a good excuse to sleep in, rolling over for a breakfast of twix and cookies. However, if I had a choice I would rather be healthy and up early.

Dhurbary Square

Buddha and I planned to make a run to get some DVD’s at the chinese market but stopped at Dhurbary Square on our way. This is where you can see the “Living Goddess” or Kumari. Tourists usually have to pay a fee to see her, but unfortunately she wasn’t in. The surrounding temples and square were stunning though.



Home of the Kumari

Stray dogs sleeping in the square

Kumari, or Kumari Devi, is the tradition of worshiping young pre-pubescent girls as manifestations of the divine female energy or devi in Hindu religious traditions. The word Kumari, derived from Sanskrit Kaumarya meaning “virgin”, means young unmarried girls in Nepali and some Indian languages and is a name of the goddess Durga as a child.

In Nepal a Kumari is a pre-pubescent girl selected from the Shakya clan of the Nepalese Newari community. The Kumari is revered and worshiped by some of the country’s Hindus as well as the Nepali Buddhists, though not the Tibetan Buddhists. While there are several Kumaris throughout Nepal, with some cities having several, the best known is the Royal Kumari of Kathmandu, and she lives in the Kumari Ghar, a palace in the center of the city. The selection process for her is especially rigorous. The current Royal Kumari, Matina Shakya, aged four, was installed in October 2008 by the Maoist government that replaced the monarchy. Chanira Bajracharya, as the Kumari of Patan is the second most important living goddess.

A Kumari is believed to be the incarnation of the goddess until she menstruates, after which it is believed that the goddess vacates her body. Serious illness or a major loss of blood from an injury are also causes for her to revert to common status.

Eligible girls are Buddhists from the Newar Shakya caste (the clan to which the Buddha belonged) of silver and goldsmiths. She must be in excellent health, never have shed blood or been afflicted by any diseases, be without blemish and must not have yet lost any teeth. Girls who pass these basic eligibility requirements are examined for the battis lakshanas, or ‘thirty-two perfections’ of a goddess. Some of these are poetically listed as such:
-A neck like a conch shell
-A body like a banyan tree
-Eyelashes like a cow
-Thighs like a deer
-Chest like a lion
-Voice soft and clear as a duck’s
In addition to this, her hair and eyes should be very black, she should have dainty hands and feet, small and well-recessed sexual organs and a set of twenty teeth.

Once the priests have chosen a candidate, she must undergo yet more rigorous tests to ensure that she indeed possesses the qualities necessary to be the living vessel of Durga. Her greatest test comes during the Hindu festival of Dashain. On the kalratri, or ‘black night’, 108 buffaloes and goats are sacrificed to the goddess Kali. The young candidate is taken into the Taleju temple and released into the courtyard, where the severed heads of the animals are illuminated by candlelight and masked men are dancing about. If the candidate truly possesses the qualities of Taleju, she shows no fear during this experience. If she does, another candidate is brought in to attempt the same thing.
As a final test, the living goddess must spend a night alone in a room among the heads of ritually slaughtered goats and buffaloes without showing fear. The fearless candidate has proven that she has the serenity and the fearlessness that typifies the goddess who is to inhabit her. After passing all other tests, the final test is that she must be able to pick out the personal belongings of the previous Kumari from an assortment of things laid out before her. If she is able to do so, there is no remaining doubt that she is the chosen one.

(Courtesy of Wikipedia)

(Courtesy of: Travel and Tour Nepal)

Once the girl is no longer considered the Kumari, she can grow up to marry, however, its apparently a tough call to be man enough to marry a former Goddess…

Watching the people in the square was fascinating. The tourists with their cameras, the locals trying to sell their wears. But the most impressive were the people moving supplies, it was downright amazing at how big the loads were.

DVD’s and attack of the Tongan Parasites

Heading to Civil Mall, Buddha and I went to look for a new selection of DVD’s from the Chinese market. Buddha also bought me a cd with some Buddhist chants. As we were exploring I felt the urge to go. Of course the only place was a squatter loo. Now after 3yrs living in Korea this has never been a major inconvenience for me. However, I soon realised this was the monthly attack of the suspected parasites I might have picked up while in Tonga. This usually involves cramps, sweating, more cramps and is generally rather unpleasant. So trying to squat while your legs are rapidly turned to jello by severe cramping rapidly rendered my usual technique for squatters useless. So bracing myself with my hands on the walls I barely survived this wave.

Heading back to the mall feeling decidely light headed and weak the second wave threatened. Unloading my bags and the DVD’s onto Buddha I made a b-line for the mall that was thankfully in sight and, wonders of all wonders, had sit upon toilets. After wave 2 and 3, I felt…better or at least stable. Buddha, bless his heart, just carried my bag and waited without saying a word and just showing concern. I am really disliking this monthly gathering of the parasites…. We hung around the mall for abotu half an hour, just in case and then went to the doctor for my results.

Antibiotics

Well the pee in a little bottle test confirmed it, a Urinary tract infection. So with a fistful of ciproflaxicin 500mg, twice a day for 10days, and the plan to drink a yoghurt lassi as every possible opportunity we headed back to the hotel. The doc said I might have to have another test after the antibiotics were done to be sure the UTI was gone, that would mean Germany.

After dropping off all the new items at the hotel, Buddha took me to a friend of his who sells bags and scarves and such in the Thamel region. I got a couple of scarves and some socks and he gave me a very good price. Then we went to the Buddha Bar. Nope it isn’t Buddha’s, although when he does open his own bar in a few years I think he should call it “Buddha’s Bar”, it has a nice ring to it.

The Buddha Bar has a really chill vibe, with low tables and lots of cushions so you sit on the floor. We had some drinks and some dinner and just as we were enjoying the vibe, 9pm struck and the music was turned up. I hate it when a place does that, thinking that it is now the party hour or something. We decided to call it a night, since I was still feeling under the weather, and headed back to the hotel.

So except for parasites attack, it was a great day. I am sorry to be leaving in less that a week.

 
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Posted by on May 8, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Hot Stones = Heaven

23rd November 2011

Seeking Divine Advice

Another late morning meant a lunch time meeting. This time Buddha suggested a rather rich fried cheese with cashews in a sauce and roti. Delicious but super super rich.

Yogi, Hotel Silver Home’s owner, had decided he wanted to get the advice of a fortune teller and so we all set off in a rickshaw. However, since the rickshaw is made for 2 people it meant Buddha sat on our laps, it was all rather amusing and I was tempted to ask why he was on top… but they had been gentlemen and helped me into the rickshaw first…

The rickshaw ride didn’t last long as it turned out the fortune teller had moved out of the area and so we planned to switch to a cab. But first we popped into a curtain shop. Yogi is planning on redoing a lot of the out of date furnishings. He of course straight for the really impractical style, one that would show the dirt, had threads that would pull easily etc.. I pointed these out, sometimes women are just better at these things. He got the idea and started leaning towards a more practical design. But we will see what eventually gets chosen in a few weeks

Then into the cab, it drove us out to the middle of nowhere. Walking between half built houses with no idea how the guys seemed to know where they were heading. We entered a building, went up the stairs and discovered a hundred shoes littered outside a single door. This must be the place!!

Unfortunately, there would also be a longgggggg wait. Yogi decided to come by another time. And we wandered out towards the main road to find our way home. I was still feeling rather under the weather and Buddha, seeing that, said I should go for a massage.

Hot Stones!!!!

Back in the Thamel area, Buddha drove me to the same place where we had sat in the sauna, and proceeded to negotiate a good price for me to have a hot stone massage. I got an hour for $22. Then, to the amusement of the staff, announced that I was ticklish.

Within a short time, I found myself naked and wrapped in a towel lying face down on a table. The room was L-shaped and lying there I heard a voice that was decidedly male. The other masseuse was a guy and was giving the woman perpendicular to me, an ayuvedic massage. It sounded painful.

At first I felt a little unnerved with a guy working on someone else just a few feet away from my fancy… but the minute the hot stones started their magic, I didn’t give a damn! My masseuse was a sweet girl and she was amazing.

The combination of calming music, heated massage oil, hot stones and someone working all the kinks out from toe to head… is about as close to heaven as a traveler can get. After getting a good once over, I stumbled to the sauna and sat there for a bit. I was on the verge of slipping into unconsciousness and called, as instructed, for Buddha to pick me up. Unfortunately they were still busy and so I wandered back home through the streets, picked up a few cards, bought a bag and made some notes.

Scammers

Yogi had seemed a little out of sorts that whole day. It turned out that a guest had taken the wrong key and had “stolen” something from one of the other guests. But there was no way to prove any of it, only an irrate guest claiming an ipod was missing. He insisted on being reimbursed. It did not make it a good day for Yogi.

It also explained why a staff member nearly gave me a heart attack at midnight by banging on my door. In his panic to find the guest who had the wrong key he got the door number wrong and hammered on mine instead. Oops…

For obvious reasons Yogi didn’t feel like being social and Raj had business so Buddha and I had dinner in a little place round the corner. We ate chowmein, fried buffalo momos, chicken noodle soup and 2 friend eggs. There was so much food we could barely finish it.

Massage, good friend, good food… good day

 
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Posted by on May 6, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Uh Oh!

22nd November, 2011

Pain

Sleeping in a little is always a great treat when you are traveling and I felt nice and relaxed as I got up to pee. The relaxation was sharply ended when I felt pain… even though I had never had one I knew what it was, a UTI (urinary tract infection). This is not a good thing and its not something that goes away by itself. If left alone it will only get worse. Luckily we would be returning to the doc for Buddha this evening so will chat with her then.

I have avoided going to the doctor in Ecuador, Peru, Tonga, Vietnam, Cambodia and many more developing countries, I guess it had to happen sometime. May as well enjoy the day, in between bathroom runs, until the appointment with the doc.

Brunch and backpack shopping

Buddha and I met at our usual breakfast place for brunch, and I chose the killer chocolate cake I had been eyeing every day. It was divine and super rich, could only eat half of it.

Buddha went to hang out with Yogi at the hotel and I went in search of a backpack. I found one that seemed to fit all the things I was hoping for and it had a nice back support. I wasn’t looking for a big one just a day pack type of thing. I got it for around $42 and they threw in a metal water bottle as well. Of course, as so often happens, later when I was trying to pack it and use it, I realised the neat back support also meant it cut down on space and made it awkward to pack. Oh well am sure it will be useful as some point.

A few more errands of running to the bank, the bookstore and then negotiating for a really nice fleece lined jacket I had been looking at all week. He started at 1900 ($23) and I got him down to 1150 ($12). One of my best buys so far I think, just hope its going to be as practical as I am planning.

Monkey Temple

Then it was off to Monkey Temple for our evening ritual of feeding of the monkeys. Since we were a bit early for our usual feeding time we decided to have a little chow mein at one of the snack shacks.

Monkey Tamer

Return to the Doc

Then it was back to the doc for Buddha’s x-ray check. The x-rays turned out to be clear, but there were spots from his previous bout with pneumonia 5yrs before and she was a little concerned about those. I told her that I was pretty certain I had a UTI and what she recommended. She decided to put me on antibiotics and send me for a pee test. We all laughed when we realised Buddha had a URI (upper respiratory) and I had a UTI (urinary tract)… we are like to peas on the opposite side of the pod. She was fantastic and never charged me. We had to return in 2 days for my results. Picking up some antibiotics we headed out to the lab behind the pharmacy.

This is where it got rather amusing. They handed me a sample bottle and pointed me to the bathroom. The problem was that the bottle had a very small opening, not a problem for a guy, but when a girl needs to pee into a bottle and make sure only the urine touches it, it can be a little hit and miss, pun intended. Add to that a UTI that often means you feel the urge but can’t go or it only comes in spurts. Aiming took a lot of concentration. It cost me less than $5 for the test.

Movie time

To end the day, we met Raj and Yogi and went to go watch “Immortals”. Buddha could tell I wasn’t feeling well and was very sweet, making sure I had everything I needed. The movie was good, not great but good and its always good to have a break and go to a movie.

So with 1 week left in Kathmandu, I am hoping the antibiotics don’t make me any sicker.

 
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Posted by on May 5, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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