“Heaven is a myth, Nepal is real” – Unknown
I only had a day in Kathmandu so after breakfast I and a few friends joined a free walking tour. The guide took us through the busy market and shopping area in Durbar Square and gave us a history of the many local Hindu shrines, Newari residential areas, Buddhists stupas and monasteries we came across along the way. I am not sure how much of it was true.
From there we headed to the local cremation then to holy river (which is very dirty) and finally to the Monkey Temple. The Temple which is officially known as Swayambhunath is located on the top of a hill west of Kathmandu. It consists of a huge stupa surrounded by Hindu and Buddhist temples and monuments of great cultural importance. It is the most visited site in Kathmandu. It is called the Monkey Temple because it is home to hundreds of (very aggressive) monkeys. I made the mistake of buying a coconut at the bottom of the steps to the temple and eating it on the way up. Halfway up I was attacked by a couple of monkeys one of them nearly biting my fingers off. I threw the coconut at them and run for dear life.
After the temple we returned to the market by taxi to look for food, spices and jewellery. I really like Kathmandu. It’s loud, vibrant, with historical and modern building sitting side by side. Following two weeks in the sleepy towns of Tibet wandering around its bustling streets felt like a return to civilisation.
For once I was not annoyed by heavy traffic and pollution. It is just as busy in the evening as it is during the day. On the return walk to the hotel that evening I saw three black girls walking on the other side of the road. I almost run across to hug them. It was the first time I was seeing another black person in almost three weeks.