Everest Trek – Dingboche – 5/7 – 14,213 ft.

We got our first glimpses of Everest today!  Well, really our first glimpse of any mountains.  When we woke up, the fog had dissipated and we could see mountains from our campsite.  At breakfast, our guide told us that if we were able to hurry and make it up the hill behind the lodge in time, we’d get a great view of Ama Dablam.  So, we hurried, somehow I made it up the hill, and what a view we had.

A little while later, after charging up some more hills and stone steps…gosh, I felt slow….but, people in my group told me I was doing fine, so hopefully that’s the case.  Anyway, after some more crazy up, the clouds cleared, and we were able to see Everest….and Lhotse.  It was so cool to finally see the mountains I’ve read so much about over the past year.

With all the rushing, we made it to lunch about an hour ahead of schedule.  That gave us some time to see a nearby monastery.  Our guide knew the monk from his monastery days, so he gave us a tour and explained how everything worked.

The rest of the day was tough but manageable.  The sherpa sauna combined with decongestant worked wonderfully, and I woke up feeling much better than I have in days.  But, because we missed a day with the flight delay in Lukla, we had to combine two days of hiking.  Like I said, not bad, and would have been two really easy days if we had split it.

Once we got to the lodge, I basically found my tent and collapsed on the little mattress that goes under my sleeping bag.  At some point, I said, ‘there are a bunch of things I should do (open my wet for some reason sleeping bag, pull out the stuff I want to hand wash when the washing water gets here, etc.) but I’m so tired, all I want to do is lay here.

We’re camped by another lodge….it was interesting to learn that the lodges and villages we’ve stopped at grew up around the trekkers.  They have a main room where we’ve been hanging out – it has lights powered by solar energy and a small furnace that heats the place using Yak dung.  Surprisingly, it doesnt smell, though, it did try to explode earlier.

Tomorrow we have another acclimatization hike.  It’s basically several hundred feet straight up.  Hopefully, at some point I’ll be better at these hills. I’m beginning to get a little worried about the Kala Patthar hike at the end of the trip.  Hopefully I have the strength to make it…or they let me crawl.  I gave in and started taking the Diamox, maybe that will help, along with getting over the sick.

Other than that, I paid $6 to get both garmins charged so we can continue to track our treks.  I have no idea what the phone battery looks like, it had half a few days ago, but things tend to lose battery life in the cold.  I’ll figure it out the next time I use it, I guess.  Maybe there’s a coffee shop with free wifi here too…I’ll explore tomorrow.  I don’t plan on paying $9 an hour to use it at the lodge.

Ok…time to brave the cold and head to bed.

Everest Trek – Phortse – 5/6 – 12,700 ft

Somewhat long hike today, just over seven miles, I think.  Most of it wasnt bad, but the rest rivaled the crazy hill going into Namche.  It was especially tough going up to lunch and then getting into town and to our campsite (after the hard part was supposedly over).  Of course, our site was at the top of town, which will come in handy tomorrow since we need to leave from the top tomorrow.

I still havent managed to shake the congestion…it almost seems to be getting worse with the altitude.  And climbing hills is the worst, since I already cant breathe.  Hopefully slow and steady will get me through tomorrow.  Two of our guides gave me a sherpa sauna after dinner to help clear the congestion.  Basically, it’s a bowl of boiling water with some Vicks that you bend your head over and breathe deeply.  It felt and worked wonderfully.  Hopefully that coupled with some decongestant will help get rid of it.

We still havent really seen the mountains.  We may be able to see Ama Dablam tomorrow if the weather clears.  But, the weather for base camp on Friday looks clear, so that’s exciting.

Ok…off to bed.  Hopefully tomorrow’s hike wont kick my butt as much and maybe I’ll start to feel better.  

Everest Trek – Hike to Everest View Hotel – 5/5 – 12,804 ft

A couple of notes….first, I am really enjoying reliving my trip as I post each of these blog entries.  It was totally the trip of a lifetime, and I hope people are enjoying reading about the adventure.

Second…we got a kitten the day after we got back…typical…haha.  His name is Hubert, he’s grey and white with medium length hair.  He’s adorable, but he’s so skinny and tiny, I’m afraid I’m going to break him.

Ok, back to the travel blog…..

So, the congestion is kicking my butt, and I really need it to go away.  I woke up at some point last night with a really sore throat and needing to pee.  I decided that I should have taken two of my Nepalese Nyquil, since it only put me out for two hours.  I decided to get up and brave the cold and the toilet tent, precariously perched on a small cliff.  After popping actual Nyquil (thanks Heather!), I began my journey.  Almost slid down one flight of stairs, but other than that, made it ok.  The whole experience was a little frightening, I was pretty sure I was going to fall the entire time.  One thing I wont miss – days when getting up to pee at night involves an outdoor bathroom and a parka.  I only had one cup of tea today, so hopefully that will eliminate any midnight adventures tonight.

I woke up at some point later horribly stuffy, to the point that my ear was pounding.  Not fun….cue more Nepalese Nyquil and about a million tissues.  Hopefully the ‘easy’ day today will help it go away.

Today’s adventure was an acclimatization hike up to the Everest View Hotel.  Tough hike up some crazy hills, and some areas that I’m pretty sure weren’t part of a trail.  Again, I was thankful for the poles, especially on the way down in the rain.  The way up was pretty tough, especially with the congestion…it really needs to go.

We passed the Tyngboche airport, pretty much closed now, but there was a chopper loading gear that we guess came down from basecamp when the expeditions got cancelled.  On the way back, it was too foggy to see it, but we’re guessing the weather was too bad for it to really go anywhere.

The view from the hotel was supposed to be amazing….views of Everest and the rest of the range.  We waited about an hour, maybe a little less for the fog to clear, but it didnt happen.  At that point, we realized that we could make it through the entire trip and never see Everest.  Hopefully bad weather now will mean for good weather later.  We enjoyed $12 cokes and candy bars, then headed back down to Namche.

We were welcomed back with lunch and warm tang (I will miss that stuff), then our guide took us to his home.  He has two houses, one here in Namche and one in Kathmandu.  His house here is steps from the hotel and is a traditional Sherpa home.  It has three rooms – a kitchen, a party room, and a prayer room.  The party room is used to entertain guests and host Sherpa parties, which involve drinking and dancing.  We all left wanting to attend a Sherpa party.  The party room is also used for sleeping if guests stay over.  They have mats they pull out for people to sleep on.

The prayer room was gorgeous – he hand painted everything in the room, and uses the room for prayer and painting.  He told us about the statues in the room, the prayer books, and how they’re used.  He also showed us the National Geographic medal his father was awarded for his work on Everest.  He also showed us his paintings, which were gorgeous, and post cards (we all plan on buying those).  Before we left, he answered all of our questions about his religion, Everest, the Dali Lama, and I cant remember what else.

Overall, a great day.  Tomorrow, we depart for Phortse (another village), gain some elevation, and hopefully leave the congestion behind.

Everest Trek – Namche Bazaar – 5/4 – 11,200 feet

Wow….what a day.  The hike was only just over three miles…maybe three and a half, but the total elevation gain was 2000 feet.  There was some scary downhill – slippery slopes and such (very thankful for the poles), but the end was a mile and a half straight uphill.  We took it slow, but it still kicked my butt….whether it was the altitude or the sick, I’m not sure.

The hike ended at Namche Bazaar, the “city” of the Khumbu region.  It’s a really cool town cut into the side of a mountain, with stairs everywhere.  Once we got here, I thought we were done with the climbing, but then had to climb up to the lodge where we’re camping, snow lodge, I believe.  We’re camping on the terraces behind the lodge (because nothing in Namche is flat).  Brian and I are on the upper terrace, maybe ten feet up, with no railing and some steps that I’m sure will be crazy in the dark.  Here’s to hoping I don’t fall if I make a bathroom run in the middle of the night.

We walked around the village for a little while before dinner – found a couple of places to get a yak bell on our way back through and a coffee shop with free wifi.  I had my first coke in I dont know how long, usually it has way too much sugar, but I must have needed that today.  I also found a pharmacy and asked the woman working there what I should take for a cold during the day and night, and got a decent supply of medicine for $8.  Hopefully Nepalese cold medicine works well (and I can guess the dosage since there arent any directions).

So far the most interesting thing I’ve seen is cell phone usage.  We’re in a very remote area – no roads, no cars, and everything here was trekked in from somewhere else.  But, cellphones are everywhere, and everyone (even the kids) seems to have one.

The things I miss the most – pizza and showers…and probably clean clothes, but I dont think I’ve had to wear anything twice yet and we might be able to do laundry tomorrow.  The food has been amazing, but I can’t tell you how badly I wanted pizza when we got here today.  And of course there’s a pizza restaurant down the street, but we cant eat it because we’ll get sick from food we arent used to.  The lodge has a solar shower, but the guide warned us not to use it if we werent feeling well because of the heat loss between being done and getting dressed.  The temp also varies – one of our group members got a shock of cold water and had to have someone come fix it.  However, it may become too hard to resist before we leave.

Other than that, its been great getting to know our group.  After only a few days, it’s like we’ve been friends forever.

Everest Trek – Lukla, Phakding, Monjo – 5/3 – 9500 feet

Traveling while sick is anything but fun.  Travel that includes a 4am wake-up call and a 27 minute prop  plane ride over the mountains while sick is definitely not fun.

Flying into Lukla is an adventure, it’s basically an uphill runway into the side of a mountain, and conditions have to be perfect or the plane doesnt fly.  We were supposed to leave at 6am, but faced delay after delay due to rain and weather.  After 6.5 hours of sleeping on the airport floor, (I can only imagine what I was breathing off of that floor – luckily or unluckily, I was too sick to care), we finally took off for Lukla.  We had about a 30 minute window to get on the plane, take off, and land, due to incoming weather.  I remember being woken up and having to quickly run out to a bus to get on a plane….complete whirlwind…

The flight was beautiful?  Terrifying?  Probably all of the above.  Beautiful views of the mountains, and then the shortest runway ever….you can see the end of the runway when you land, and the whole thing slants upward.  Google it – it’s crazy.  Typically, I’d be terrified, but once again – too sick to care.

Because we got in so late, and not all of our bags made the flight (of course mine was one of them), we spent the night at a lodge in Lukla.  There werent any lights, but there was a bed, a pillow, and a bathroom in the room.  Perfect place to curl up and sleep for fourteen hours…or at least try to.  I feel like I spent more time waking up and rolling over than I did sleeping, but I dont have a clock, so I’m not really sure.  The two rounds of Nyquil given to me by a fellow traveler (thanks Heather!) were definitely a big help.  After visiting the health center behind the sketchy blue curtain at the Kathmandu airport in search of a cold pill, I was wishing I had gone on an adventure before we left.  Although, who says the health center at the domestic terminal in the Kathmandu airport isnt an adventure…..

This morning, we were woken up with hot tea and began packing our bags.  Breakfast was a mix of porridge, hardboiled eggs, and a tortilla looking thing.  Most of which I dont typically eat for breakfast, but did enjoy.

Then, the trek began.  And, other than being sick and sliding down a flight of stairs, it was amazing.  The beautiful architecture of prayer wheels and stupas and prayer flags pop up around every turn.  The local children couldnt wait to give us high fives and call out Namaste as we passed.  Or, they would just follow us down the path until our guide shooed them home.  We were treated to beautiful views of the mountains and steel rope bridges over an amazing glacier river.

I started to feel a little better, thanks to some dayquil from another fellow trekker (thanks Larry!).  But, I was still ready for a rest when we got to Monjo.  We’re camping outside of a lodge, but we’re allowed to sit inside and use the lighting until we head to the tents.  Tomorrow we have a short hike to Namche, but a huge gain in elevation.  It will be interesting to see how I fare, both with the altitude and the sick.

Kathmandu Airport – 5/2

The start of my trek blog, as translated from my notebook….

I knew from the minute I woke up yesterday that I was catching something.  Of course, I didnt think to bring cold meds and didnt feel like having an adventure to go find some.

The day started out just fine – breakfast, met the rest of the REI group, and went on a tour.  The tour included the rest of the World Heritage sites in Kathmandu, so we were able to see all seven over four days.

Our first stop with the group was a giant Buddhist temple, a stupa.  It was gorgeous – such great architecture and brilliant prayer flag colors.  We also stopped at another art school for a tour.  Since we’d already bought a painting, we just used the bathroom ‘happy place’, as our guide called it, and went outside to people watch.  So many people to see, both locals in traditional dress and tourists just looking around.

The second stop was Patan Durbar square, the final durbar square in the heritage sites.  It was interesting to see that this site was more of a modern tourist attraction, with vendors selling plastic blow-up figures on sticks and cotton candy.  We walked the square for a bit, and then headed to lunch at another rooftop restaurant.  I still wasnt feeling well, but I was hungry.  I opted to try the sweet and sour chicken and some rice.  Then, it poured….a lot.  Luckily, we were under some cover….some.  A plastic tarp kind of thing, that stayed attached to the deck…sort of.  Haha…at least Brian and I were prepared for rain.

Our final stop was the monkey temple, another Buddhist Stupa.  But, this one had monkeys everywhere.  They were fun, but pretty destructive – we watched them rip down a flag and try to tear off part of the stupa.  Apparently, if the locals leave their windows open at night, the monkeys come in and destroy the house…charming…

On the way back to the hotel, our guide answered questions about his life, family, etc.  He had an arranged marriage (most people in Nepal still do), and told us about his wedding, a multi-day celebration where they had to walk several hours to his fiancee’s town.  He told us about his daughter, who he wanted to give a non-common name, so he named her Rachel – something he’d found on the internet.

By the time we got back to the hotel, I really felt awful.  Horrible timing.  I went back and slept for a bit before our pre-meeting with our guide.  I dont remember much from it, other than feeling awful and hoping it wrapped up soon.  I tried to get a milkshake after, thinking it might help my throat, but it was luke-warm milk and ice cream, and I definitely didnt trust it.  So, I pulled the ice cream out and ate that. Dinner took forever, so I ended up having it delivered to my room so I could pack and get to sleep faster.  I skipped my final kind of clean shower since I was freezing (yeah running a fever the day before I leave…) and the water wasnt all that warm.

Home Again….

So, there was a chicken in someone’s hotel room….left the window and the screen open (if there was a screen) and in walked a chicken. Two maids and the window washer were trying to corral the chicken and get it to go back out the window it came in. Oh Kathmandu….

The Kathmandu Airport is the most interesting international airport I’ve been to. There’s one snack shop once you pass security with really cheap water and really expensive snacks.  There are only five gates, so everyone is sitting in a large room (think DMV), waiting for the gate to be announced as flight times get closer.  Flights are headed pretty much everywhere in Asia – China, Bangladesh, India…it’s a figurative and literal melting pot of culture in the 90+ degree heat. I’m thinking that getting on the plane and having some AC is going to feel really good.

The whole airport process has been as much of an adventure as when we arrived and when we flew to Lukla. The REI bus dropped us off with the masses on the curb and we had two airport people (I think) help with the bags (the REI people seemed to know them). They got us into the line and then left us with the carts, so I got to steer a cart full of bags through the masses in line (luckily, I didn’t take anyone out in the process).

Once you’re inside, all the bags, including carry-ons go through a scanner and everyone gets patted down by some poor soul not wearing gloves. Then you get to check in and head to customs which is a slow process with long lines. But, luckily, no issues.

Then comes security…where you get to walk through old metal detectors and everyone receives another pat down, whether they set the machine off or not. And the lines are broken out male and female. Somehow, I got through with half a bottle of water, but got stopped because they thought I had a lighter. Didn’t believe me when I said no, but did after they went through the pocket of my bag and found nothing – sorry Nepalese TSA, I’m just not that exciting.

Our final twelve hours in Korea has been pretty uneventful – the lady at the information booth let me use the phone there to call the hotel shuttle last night, we got to sleep in, and we had dunkin donuts for breakfast. I feel like we’ve been at the airport forever, hotel checkout was at noon and our flight isn’t until 5:30.  Luckily, it’s a pretty nice airport…decent food, free foot massagers, and the carts that transport people from gate to gate play music rather than honk incessantly.

And, after an incessantly bumpy flight, we made it back. I can definitely say I was glad when we landed and glad we were on a 777….it would have been a nightmare on a smaller plane, but still, dry heaving two hours into a ten hour flight isn’t fun.

US customs wasn’t as crazy to get through as its been in the past, and soon we were home for nap time.  It was great to take a shower in clean water…and brush my teeth with tap water because I finally could….

We finally had the Barney’s we’ve been dreaming about for three weeks for dinner. Yay gourmet burgers and chicken. So full…and so sleepy. The rest can wait until tomorrow.

Farewell Kathmandu

First, I’ll post my daily Everest blog once I get back to a computer. It’s currently pages and pages of handwritten notes – way more than I could type on an iPhone. 

Our adventure pretty much comes to a close tomorrow – other than a trip to the airport and another night in Korea. 

We got back to the KTM from the trek two days ago.  It really felt like a whirlwind adventure that I almost wanted to do again and not be sick for the entire thing, but, really, everything that happened made it everything that it was – and absolutely amazing. From having a 23 minute flight window in Lukla to the climb into Namche to base camp and Kala Patthar, it was full of daily adventures that made me realize I can do things even when I think I can’t. 

Once we got back to the hotel, I realized I was ready for civilization again….the shower and clean clothes felt better than anything I’ve felt before. And the random laundry place did an amazing job, so the trek clothes aren’t even smelly anymore. 

We had our final team dinner at Rum Doodle. Super fun and they have giant yeti footprints that the Trekkers and expeditioners can fill it with names and memories and whatnot. Ours had dominos and charlay the zopkyo (yak) and all of our names. It will be great to come back someday and see it. 

Most of the group left yesterday, I think there are only four of us left now, plus one at a different hotel. It was so crazy saying bye to people I felt like I had known forever. Brian, his uncle, and I played cards with several of them before they left, a fun, relaxing day in Kathmandu (especially since we’re over the dust and the craziness in the street. 

Other than that, we spent the day grabbing last minute souvenirs…super excited about the little yak statue I found for my desk. And, we grabbed another Everest beer…hopefully they survive the trip home and we can enjoy them when we get there.  

Today we head to the airport, I’m sure that will be an adventure, as will arriving in Korea at midnight. But on some level it feels like we just got here, and I’m not sure I’m ready to leave. However, I am ready to be able to brush my teeth with the tap water, have power all day, and put on make-up again.

Kathmandu and Bhaktapur

So, today is the last day before we join up with the REI group. We’ve met a couple of them, and everyone has been very nice so far. This morning we met another guy on our trip, he’s from Sonoma. He’s done other REI adventures before, as has Deanna, the lady we met when we arrived. That speaks well for the journey we’re about to take with REI. 

After another early morning, (we were up at 5:30 and hotel construction started at 6), some animal planet TV, and a luke-warm shower, we headed down to get some food. I was surprised to see that they vary the food available on the buffet – today’s choices included pancakes with honey. Something I’ve never tried before, but did enjoy. 

While we were at breakfast we decided to see if we could hire a tour to take us to the remaining three world heritage sights (we saw one yesterday and will see three more on our tour tomorrow).  The other three are too far to walk from the hotel, and after reading about the cabs, I’m a little nervous trying to get one to bring is back. So we walked next door to the hotel and hired a guide and a car for what a cab ride in San Francisco might cost. 

And, hiring the guide and driver was a really good idea.  They met us at the hotel and took us to three different places; Pashupatinath Temple and Pyre, Changu in Bhaktapur, and Durbar Square in Bhaktapur. The guide was native to this area and had a ton of information to share. 

After a crazy ride (as one would expect when traffic laws seem optional and cows take naps in the middle of the road), we arrived at Pashupatinath Temple and Pyre.  I’m pretty sure I almost lost something to a motorcycle flying by as I tried to get out of the car – I’m amazed that hasn’t happened yet. We were unable to go in the temple because we weren’t Hindu, but the guide was able to tell us plenty from the outside. There were a lot more people in traditional dress in this area, such beautiful clothing in beautiful colors. There were also a bunch if animals roaming freely and hoping to be fed…cows, goats, monkeys…the monkeys were really cute, and somewhat friendly – they’d let you get pretty close, but definitely not close enough to pet them. 

After the temple, we walked over to the Pyre, where cremations occur. The whole thing was a very sobering experience.  The guide told us a little bit about the different religious buildings in that area, and as he was doing so, at least two, maybe three funeral processions passed through. The atmosphere wasn’t what I would expect…the people didn’t seem to be saddened with the death or celebrating the life, they just seemed blank.  The most emotion I saw was someone I’m guessing to be a wife, she looked heartbroken, walking with her arms around two friends. 

For the cremations, they carry the person from their home, feet first, because that’s how you would walk. They stop just upstream from the Pyre to wash the person’s head before continuing on. Once they reach the Pyre, the person is laid with their head to the north (for some reason, one that we saw was laying the opposite way), and the ceremony begins. The ceremony is conducted by the eldest son and a priest, women aren’t allowed in the Pyre. For the next year, the widow and the sons must wear white and the priest comes to the home once a month for a ceremony. 

Our next stop was outside Kathmandu in Changu, Bhaktapur, the next city over. It was also our guide’s hometown. Unfortunately it was also down a dirt road and up a small mountain…packed five people in a car in the 90+ degree heat. Brian told me he’d never seen me that white, I was just glad I didn’t puke. Changu was great, even though it took me most of the time we were there to feel normal again. It seemed as though our guide knew everyone, which was pretty cool. He also showed us where his house is now, which was also cool. After Changu, it was time for lunch, which I was thankful we had after we drove down the winding, country roads. 

Lunch was at another rooftop cafe, with great views of Bhaktapur. I was still a little nauseous, so opted for a safer option of chicken fried rice.  

Our final stop was Bhaktapur Durbar Square, which was multiple squares all connected by narrow brick roads. There was so much to see here…so many temples and palaces and amazing architecture. There was another Hindu temple that we couldn’t go in, but were allowed to peak from the entrance. There was a pottery square, where they were creating pottery from mud…so interesting. 

Our final stop was at an art school.  Our guide must have had some sort of connection, because we got a tour, saw the students, and got a rundown on what the paintings all meant. If the painting is signed, it was done by a master…if it’s not singed, it was done by a student. We hadn’t planned to buy anything, but he showed us one that was red and black, and painted with gold…gorgeous, and we figured one big souvenir would be cool. 

After that, we started the adventure back to the hotel. Yay crazy traffic….and cows…and people…and dogs. And probably a few other things. 

Tonight at dinner, we met two more people on the trek – Doug and Heather. That brings our total to seven, and we’ll meet the other five tomorrow. I had another veered beer with dinner, I’m going to miss that when it’s gone…haha.     

And the TV just turned itself off…

Ok…big day of touring tomorrow, and as with every other night, I’m exhausted. I’m beginning to understand the blogs I read before I left and how tired people were. 

Over and out…until next time.

Seven Miles in Kathmandu

We were up early today, probably because that’s what happens when you go to bed at 8pm. It seemed to be the trend, as there were a lot of people at breakfast early. Breakfast was pretty good – fairly large buffet and an omelette station. We are so much food…haha. I ate two omelets with cheese, a non-sweet donut shaped thing, four pieces of sausage, and a really sweet muffin. 

Before heading out for the day, we relaxed after breakfast for awhile. The only TV channels we get in English are MTV, VH1, and CNN, which is kind of sad. We’ve had CNN on, it’s been kind if interesting watching it in Asia…a lot of the commercials/story highlights are local, so we’re still able to learn. 

And, I have to say, it’s really strange being in a place that does not have power most of the day. It was off today by the time we woke up – we were up at about 6:45 and it went off at 6. It doesn’t come back on until 10pm…luckily it’s sunny. And the hotel does have a generator that runs some lights, but not all of them and they aren’t very bright.   

After breakfast, we set out to walk to a place called Hanuman-dhoka Durbar square. The roads to get there seemed more dusty and more crowded than yesterday, and it felt like we may have been the only tourists around. The yellow buff definitely came in handy, and we managed to chase off a couple of probably would have been pick pockets. Luckily, we spotted them, and we know how to carry our bags. 

We stopped at Bishal Bazaar for a little while, and hung out in the courtyard for awhile. It was really interesting people watching. A lot of what I read about women’s dress code suggested skirts and no sleeveless shirts. However, I’ve only seen a handful of local people in skirts, and a bunch of them are in tank tops. A good portion of them are dressed more like westerners, especially the younger generation. It’s nice to see that things are a little more flexible, but also sad that there seems to be a movement away from the traditional dress. We’ve seen a lot of school children as well, they wear nice pants and shirts, with ties and blazers. Not what I would have guessed at all. 

Once we left the bazaar, we headed back toward Durbar square. Our next stop was Freak street, a small area of the city where hippies from the US once flocked to…and it seemed like maybe still do. Definitely a cool thing to see – shops named after Beatles songs and organic coffee shops. 

Before we entered Durbar square, we paid 750 rupees to a guard in a little booth, we weren’t really sure why as a lot of people were just walking around it. As a side note, it seems as though there is no direction regarding traffic anywhere (foot or motorized).  Being inside the square was nice – far less traffic. Before we really started to wander, we bought Nepal stickers for our water bottles from a street vendor. 

We wandered the square for awhile, took lots of pictures, and got harassed by some more street vendors, before going into the palace museum. The palace used to be the home of the kings, but is now a giant museum with little arrows and people around every turn to direct you where to go. We spent several hours in the palace, complete with a wander up to the 9 story temple. Pretty cool – the whole thing was built in 1770, before the US was even an independent nation. 

After the palace we went over to what I think was an Hindu temple called Kasthamandap.  As with the rest of the architecture in the square, it was very intricately designed. Then we headed to a restaurant with the same name that had a rooftop deck. It was cool to see the city from way up there, but a little crazy how much smog was in the air. I had a chicken sizzler…came with noodles, three French fries, and veggies. I couldn’t eat the veggies, but the fries and the noodles were good…chicken was all pretty much fat though. Oh well…

Walking home was not nearly as crazy as our walk out, which was nice. Of course, I narrowly missed walking into dangling power lines and then rolled my ankle in the uneven street – ouch…I really am a complete disaster. 

After a brief rest, we headed back out to get a couple of pens to take on the trek, and then head back to the hotel for dinner. On the way back, we ended up on the main road, on what I think is the edge of the Thamel district where we’re staying, and it was just…I don’t know, eye opening. Sad…a little of both, I’m not sure. It looked like a war zone…or an earthquake. Just rubble everywhere. Yesterday, when we drove through it, we asked if they get earthquakes.  They told us no, they wanted to widen the road, so they just bulldozed it. And left. But, the buildings aren’t much better…

We came back to the hotel for dinner, and halfway through these odd tree lights came on…apparently those are considered essential power. Odd… But, I did try an Everest beer with dinner. Yay for local beer..

  • And the power just came back on…and then went off…and then on. Maybe three times. Welcome to Nepal….


Ok…time for some sleep.  Over and out, until next time.