Anthony's Interesting Times 2004 travel blog

Typical small Nepali shrine - to be seen everywhere

Close up on Buddhist stupa, Khatmandu

Some Nepalese prayer wheels are very colourful

Swayambhunath, Khatmandu

Mini stupas and typical shop at Swayambhunath

Sleeping monkey, Swayambhunath

Typical central Khatmandu, note walking furniture, multi-directional traffic, rickshaws, etc

Typical Napalese view (at least the rubbish is, unfortunately)

Garland seller, Durbar Square, Khatmandu

Hanging out, Durbar Square, Khatmandu


Saturday: At last, back in Khatmandu, after a very uncomfortable 10 hours crammed into a small space on a bus. It was only meant to take seven hours, but numerous army checkpoints and traffic chaos...And most of you are old enough to remember Nepalese Temple Balls.

I am in a different (cheaper) hotel, but still in Central Thamel, the tourist part of Khatmandu. The guidebooks are sniffy about Thamel, but I like it here a lot, it is very buzzy, and I don't have any particular investment in staying as ethnic as possible - in my experience that usually means nasty toilets, rats, no hot water and lots of noise. Visiting ethnic is fine, but you wouldn't want to live there.

I went in a few places to check out flights and it is not going to be as quick and easy as I thought. All the even faintly reasonably priced flights go via parts of the world (i.e. mostly the Gulf) where Nepalis work for rich people doing all the crap jobs. As such all the seats are booked until nearly Xmas. I will have to go a waiting list, and may not know until a few hours before whether my flight is definite or not. Slightly inconvenient. However, I am still confident I will be home by the weekend. If it didn't take so long to get an Indian visa, I would fly from there instead. Had a fantastic Korean meal though, as good as the one I had in Suzhou, a sweet hot peanutty pork with twelve side dishes!

Sunday: Got myself on a waiting list for a flight. The travel agent seemed relatively confident it would work out. If it does, I will be back in Blighty 7 am Friday morning 25th November, some 12 weeks after I left, doesn't seem that long. As soon as it is confirmed I will post details here, so you will know if it is my plane that was flown into Buckingham Palace, and so Shea can make my house look exactly as I left it.

After that I walked over to the edge of the City to a big Stupa called Swayambhunath. The walks there and back were both extrmely enjoyable, just absorbing the atmosphere of the non-touristy parts of Khatmandu, loads of interest and colour (and smell!). The monkies were quite fun at Swayambhunath, and robbed the sugar from the Dutch people on the table next to me at lunch, so the proprieter gave us all catapults to keep them away, though I never got a chance to use mine.

I know my way around the City well enough now to be able to just wander, which is what I did most of the afternoon, with a bit of time in Durbar Square again too. This was hugely enjoyable, and is probbaly going to be the pattern of my last few days here, a nice realxing way to end such a holiday. I do like Khatmandu a lot, and highly recommend it, both to visit, and to hang out in.



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