April 27: Kathmandu, Nepal, 94 degrees

The hotel's breakfast is buffet style with more choices than there is time to eat. 6:30am found all of us grazing ourselves through the volumes of both continental and Nepalian style items. Never say that any one of us want to see anything go to waste.

Well fed and ready to go we loaded onto our minibus and it was the center of the city this morning. Rush hour was in full effect with cars, buses, motorcyclists, bicycles, and even pedestrians moving in all directions on the streets. There doesn't seem to be any order to who or when someone is to move -- just go and hope you don't hit something. Motorcycles get pinned between cars and buses and seemed to take it in stride like it happens on every block. Horns blow, people scurry, but with again not logical pattern they all seem to get where they want to go. Our bus driver is wonderfully talented in getting us through this mess. However, today an extra. The Maoists are protesting and block the major thoroughfare just outside our hotel. Goal: create such a disruption that people take notice. Completely non-violent, the protest pushes the rush hour traffic onto the side streets, the shop owners stay closed, the farmer's market is not to be found. All very disappointing to our group, but we just went with the flow.

The second half of the day is spent in Patan, the second city of Kathmandu. Large stupas with the Buddha eyes staring out over the city grace the area with reverence. Dunbar Square was full of life today -- partly again because of the Maoists and their protest, but the other being that it is such a prominent place to congregate. A very high percentage of the Nepalese do not work. That allows for a lot of men to just hang out all day on the square. The women and children along with some men try to sell you everything from beads to bangles as you walk through. That is all while the buses, cars, motorcycles and bicyclists are trying very hard to run you down -- well not totally true, but when a motorcycle comes up behind you and beeps its horn -- it sure feels like they want to hit you.

Kathmandu is a very crowded city with a lot of noise and pollution. The infrastructure did not keep up with the expansion of the city, so the water is contaminated, the sewers run free and the trash is all over the place. BUT -- the people are wonderful. It is a great place to come to just people watch and try to figure out why they became city "folk".

As soon as the internet connection is faster I will upload pictures and you can see what I mean!

The close of the day was spent at the famous Monkey Temple. It is believed by the Buddhists that this is the spot where it all began. Sitting high on a hill overlooking the valley of Kathmandu, it is a majestic site. Monkeys do run free, so one has to be vigilant as to not get bit, but the significance of this spot allows one to just relax and enjoy the surroundings. Peace is the main thrust of the Buddha faith and one can feel it at every turn on the property.

All of us still in some sort of jet lag dragged ourselves back into the hotel around 5:30pm with a promise to meet for a quick supper next door in an hour and off to bed. Mission accomplished by 9pm!!! Nepal meal of MoMo, Sizzlers, and some very spicy chicken. Have to admit that the cold Mt Everest beer really helped top of that meal.

The Young!

The Old!

Patan -- The Street

A Shoemaker

Home Delivery Service

And Another!

And Another!!



On Our Way!

Hippy Priests

Palace Windows

Monkey Temple (Stupa)

View of Kathmandu from the Monkey Temple