Thursday, October 19, 2006

A few more precious days in Nepal .. did I mention I love it here!

Oct 19th. Quick pic of Alexis's new guitar - just love this shot! Anyway as usual, I digress!! Early start today (don't all my entries seem to begin this way?) as we jumped in a taxi before it was light to get to the airport, and catch our beloved plane back to Nepal! No problems...although the plane did tip a tad precariously when the pilot announced "if you would like to look to your left, you will see Mount Everest", so everyone on the right hand side of the plane jumped out of their seats and rushed over to see for themselves. Of course, us smarty pants had already requested seats on the left when checking in (do i sound a wee bitty smug here haha!) so we had prime positioning for the best views and wow, it was incredible!

Had to say our fond farewells to Claudio and Gabriella when we got to Kathmandu as they were heading straight off to India...the rest of us (Michaila, Jose, Arantxa and myself) were so giddy about being back in Nepal land, it was slightly ridiculous, but it felt great!!!! Checked into yet another guest house and then headed out for a very civilized and healthy lunch at The Organic Cafe (almost too healthy if that's possible!). Then off to Patan (next town over from Kathmandu) to yet another Durbar Square, (funny how there are two of them, named exactly the same, so close together - literally about 20-30 minutes apart!).

Patan used to be a powerful independant kingdom in its own right, many moons ago, and still has its very own distinct, unique identity. Durbar Square here is definitely quieter, with less chaos than in Kathmandu. Patan's other name, "Lalitpur" means City of Beauty and the residents of this town believe their beautiful square truly is just that! We also visited the tiny and very interesting Golden Temple, (called Hiranyavarna Mahavihara in Sanskrit) which was just around the corner. This temple is the most opulent of its kind (its very small!) in Nepal, and with a three tiered pagoda, covered in gold, that seems to stream down at you as you look up, monkeys hanging out, and a Tibetan Buddhist prayer room upstairs, it is a little enclave of peace and quiet away from the bustle and noise on the streets outside.

I really liked this area, especially when Arantxa and I, who were sitting chatting on the steps of one of the many temples in the square, suddenly noticed three cheeky wee monkeys (code word for wee girls!!) looking at us and giggling! They were the cutest things ever and we had such a laugh with them! First of all they acted all shy and coy, next thing we knew they were sitting right next to us, chatting away (ok,asking about chocolates too!) but they were just so lovely, you didn't mind too much!!! Quite a strange area tho' as so many of the guides and people selling souvenirs spoke Spanish; Aranxta found it quite puzzling to be asked continuously "necessito un guia" (ok, not sure if that is the correct lingo but it's the best I can do!). Apparantly tons of Spanish people come to this part of Nepal.. not sure why but it is lovely, so maybe they just have really good taste?

Back home (well Kathmandu that is!), chatted to my wee pal Raju (had chai of course!) then went for traditional Nepali dal baht courtesy of his recommendation. Essentially this is a thali meal of rice, a few kinds of vegetables, chutneys etc..all brought as one meal, in a plate with lots of wee compartments - and it was deeeelicious! Tarik had arrived back from Everest Base Camp early so it was brillo to see him again....yah and came with us for dinner! Then we all celebrated further by going out to Full Moon for a few jars which of course led to some late night munchies.... best tuna sandwich EVER (ok now you realise why there is no chance of me EVER losing weight on this trip!)...another fabby night out in Nepal!!

Oct 20th. Fab breakfast with Jose and Aranxta and Tarik today! Great time chatting then off for some pottering/shopping. Arantxa and Tarik showed off their bargaining prowess! And wowsa....I have to say, although slightly blushing at their vigour, i was very impressed! Too funny! Tarik very nicely treated me to a lovely Free Tibet tshirt - in traditional Buddhist orange - love it! AND Aranxta bought me a gorgeous silver necklace with the Tibetan "om" sign.. how lucky am I??? Thanks so much guys!!

Then it was time for goodbyes, to the last two of the Spanish crew! I'm really not very good at these things! As usual, got slightly emotional....what is wrong with me! But not a big problem really, as we are all meeting up again in February in Seville - yeh, the Four Momos gang and friends! Should be a brilliant laugh!

Tarik decided it was "thangka time". Typically these Tibetan or Nepali paintings (the name means rolled-up image) are painted in opaque watercolor on cotton or silk and often mounted in elaborate brocades.They usually have very complex spiritual meanings (which are over my head!) and can be used for meditation, but as Tarik wanted to buy a bunch for presents i tagged along, and got a fab one myself (wonder what i will think of it when i see it in the light of a warm Boston day...hmmn!).

Relaxed for a wee bit as we were both quite "thanka'd out" and then dinner with Raju, Indra, Jonas, Alexis and Tarik - yup, me and the boys!!!! And what hotties they are - and such a cosmopolitan bunch too! We had Nepal, Turkey, Sweden and me, Scottie abroad, not bad eh!!! Brilliant Indian meal then off to the hoppin' Buddha Bar (yup that's what it was called!) for some drinkies and chit chat! Happy times!

Oct 21st. More of the Tibet gang meeting up today. Actually, Tarik, Michaila and I had to go and wake up the young Swedes, Jonas and Alexis, for today, i just don't know anymore! Met this boy who was determined to try on my glasses, as we were waiting for the slow coaches....funny wee thing! Once we finally got the boys up, we had a lovely time and a great ole' chit chat, then it was time for more goodbyes and surprise, surprise, I managed to pull out the waterworks again! I think i need to seriously harden up.. or else people may think im a wimpy old fool! Jonas and Alexis are two of the funniest boys i've ever met and if i can, ill def go for some skiing lessons when they get back to Sweden after all their travels! And Michaila was just the best roomie ever - but hope to see her soon in Spain for our Four Momo's adventure! Still sad to say goodbye tho'. Ahhhhh, its the best and worst of traveling. You meet great folks, have a great time, then have to say goodbye to them...."c'est la vie" (she said trying to sound sophisticated!). Then my last chai with Raju and goodbye again.... definitely time for me to cut the cords and make a break for it in the taxi with Tarik to the airport! In case it hasn't been clear, I've LOVED my time in Nepal and will definitely come back as I only saw a teeny weeny wee bit of it on this trip! Fantastic place - everyone should visit!

Interesting quick note about flying out of Kathmandu airport! Talk about security. Think everything was stepped up post the London threats but as i hadnt been watching TV or anything, wasn't really up to speed on the fact liquid soap, antiseptic cream, lip balm was all a no-no and I was frisked four times, last time being just before i headed up the steps of the plane! Talk about thorough! Didn't bother me tho' - better safe than sorry of course! Said my fond farewells to the world's craziest doctor .. well, at least in Turkey and keep trying to persuade Tarik to sneak away so we can meet him in Feb in Spain too - fingers crossed! So the end of my Nepali adventure and now onto India.....and a whole new world!!!

PS just re-read this entry. Hmmnn.. think there might be something wrong with a grown woman who spends most of her blog entry describing the food group she eats every day....ahh things haven't changed much since i started writing similar things in my diary.... about 30 yrs ago!!!! Oh well, that's me!


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