Nic(need the names today as Rob has finally agreed to contribute directly today instead of just critiquing what I write!): Today we wandered beyond Thamel into the old city of Kathmandu, and the area around Durbar Square. We had intended only to visit Durbar Square, but after a wrong turn we decided to explore the back streets and hidden courtyards of the city, which was fantastic. In other cities I might not have felt safe doing so, but here it was totally worth it, even though we got a bit more lost than we had intended to, walking for over an hour to get back to our starting point.
By this point it was the hottest part of the day (even though it’s quite a bit cooler than India was), so we grabbed a bottle of water and climbed Maju Dega, a temple in the centre of Durbar Square, to people watch for a bit in the shade. Whilst there I befriended a couple of children who were using the supporting wall of the stairs as a slide. They were very cute and couldn’t quite grasp Rob’s name, giggling and repeating ‘His name is God? Good?” before demanding that I took their photo. It took a few minutes (and spotting people pointing) before we realised we were sitting below a roof of erotic carvings – seems to be a bit of a staple in Nepali architecture.
After a bit more wandering we headed to Tashi Deleg for Tibetan soup and momos, so so good, and then headed back to our hotel where we saw we had an email from Rob’s old landlady, responding to Rob’s suggested time to meet (half an hour earlier! Like he’s ever on time for anything!). We went straight back out and caught a taxi to the Bakery Cafe in Patan, to walk the last bit of the way – following a route that Rob remembered very well.
Rob: Even though the streets were the same, the place is a lot more built up that I remember, more houses and gates. Because it’s been so long the streets appear to be narrower. I took a few pictures to show the path for Becca, Nim and Mum, passing the gurka camp, pass the Chowk where we used to wait for the bus, to the Chowk (junction) that leads to Patan church and the alley to Patan hospital, turning right towards our old house. The route was exactly as remember, only subtle changes apart from the huge amount of building work that has been done, so many new houses. As we approached the house we could tell it was ours but it has had a new paint job, but even the gate was the same as when we left ten years ago. Instead of the old brown that it used to be, it is a new grey colour.
As we clanged with the gate, Rita came out to meet us. She couldn’t believe how much taller I was. Ended up reminiscing how the family were and making arrangements to meet up later in the week for Dahl Baht, as they weren’t sure if I would still like it, and was amused that even Nic makes it at home and likes really chilli food. The landlady’s have extended the garden to the field at the back and there are houses to the front of the house that weren’t there before, and a corridor has been built on the roof to go between the rooms. It was a lovely catch up over masala tea and we will be going back on Wednesday when hopefully Shanti will be home as well.
As a detour on our way to get a taxi we walked passed Jonathan Ramse’s house and took a sneaky photo, to have a look a look at Mum’s old workplace at Patan hospital and how much it has changed.
Nic: On the way back to Thamel we stopped at Rob’s old favourite restaurant Fire & Ice, for a treat meal and to celebrate our five and half year anniversary. I’ve heard a lot about this place, so expectations were high – apparently the Prince used to come here for take-away… before he killed royal family and himself that is. It was amazingly good pizza, and Rob said it hadn’t changed at all since the last time he came – I don’t think the cd had been changed either though, Supergrass and Sheryl Crow! 90s mix. A very nice end to the day.
We are slowly uploading photos of the day, but internet is being very slow tonight so might have to finish tomorrow! (update – photos are all up now on Flickr, or you can click through the ones from Patan in the gallery above)
Nic & Rob