A breath of fresh air after Kathmandu, Bakthapur impresses with less traffic and more traditional architecture. It doesn’t take a stroll too far to break away from the tourist infrastructure and get a glimpse at day-to-day life. In the morning we stumble across a mostly disassembled cow on our doorstep and buy the Kathmandu Daily and the Himalayan Times for 6 rupees. Where else can you buy two daily papers for 8 US cents?
Nach der dicken Luft in Kathmandu erfreut uns Bakthapur mit weniger Verkehr und mehr traditioneller Architektur. Man muss nicht weit laufen um die Touristenläden hinter sich zu lassen und so den normalen Tagesablauf der ortsansässigen zu erahnen. Morgens stolpern wir ueber eine halbzerlegtes Rind vor unserer Tür und kaufen fuer 6 Euro Cent zwei Tageszeitungen. Wo sonst kann man das erleben?
A couple days in the hills and we find new appreciation for quiet days where watching the sun rise or set is the big event.
As if to announce the quadruplet of 7000+ meter Ganesh peaks soon to emerge from 3 days of mist we were awoken by an earthquake at 2 a.m. this morning. The vibration lasted a few seconds, noticeable but much too weak to break anything in our vicinity. The epicenter of this 4.9 magnitude quake was some 40 miles north, just on the other side of the Nepali-Chinese border.
Large bamboo swings that were erected for festival week are everywhere.
Fifteen flights to Lukla everyday and many other destinations are reached from below the yellow lights.
We’ll be polite and won’t call it monkey temple, especially as this is the most holy Tibetan site outside of Tibet. We could however tell you a lot about the monkeys’ diet and their lack of fiber …
Not much comes easy in Kathmandu and every day spent here leaves us more awed with the resilience of the Nepalis. The walk of 3 kilometers from our guesthouse to the temple is intriguingly lined with little temples, open laundry sites, open sewers and what was once a river, now more of a creek.
Kathmandu I’ll soon be touching you
And your strange bewildering time
Will hold me home.
– Cat Stevens
Much has changed since the bard held court in the Snowman Cafe down on Freak street. What used to be a one-car town in the 40s is now terrorized by motorcycles coming horns ablaze from every direction on narrow one-way streets and alleyways. We have come from too much government in Tibet to seeming complete absence of any organizing authority.
As you descend from the Tibetan plateau to the border town of Zhangmu the vegetation turns lusher around every bend of an incredible deep canyon. Zhangmu is a one road town, only this road barely clings to a very steep hillside and has many hairpin turns. The road is clogged with Tata trucks bringing hand-made goods to China and picking up electronics in return. What is a luxurious paved ribbon on the northern side of the Peace bridge is a dirt road on the Nepali side. The border town of Kodari is complete mayhem with three cars and a donkey cart abreast where only one bicycle should fit. We enter a visa office which we easily could have missed and bored officials look up from their computer game of solitaire to grace our passports with an entry. Frequently hobbling over recent landslides we continue on with a friendly Nepali. At one point the road is disrupted by an overturned truck and we have to switch vehicles. The temperature rises and the traffic maddens as we reach Kathmandu within 4 or 5 hours.