Arrival in Nepal

Arriving in Kathmandu after a four hour flight from Bangkok, we had no money to pay for the visas. After filling in all the required customs form, incredibly the customs officer let us leave with all documents in hand along with our passports to go to the nearby ATM and get cash. Coming back to the airport got our stamps and headed out.

We knew we would like Nepal even more when we found out that our taxi driver could speak Urdu, which we would learn soon enough is spoken widely throughout the country and is referred to as Hindi. Kathmandu is a chaotic city but is fairly compact with many alleys, honking traffic, pollution, and kids at night who offer to sell you drugs. Despite the negatives, the locals are warm and friendly and will engage in conversations at the tea shops.  Most of our time was spent near Thamel, close to Durbar Square made up of Hindu temples and was the former coronation place of the now deposed king. The city has many temples and young and old are devoted to the faith and wear the bindi. We took a walk a few kilometers to Swaybunath (monkey temple) with lots of yes monkeys but also the two faiths of Buddhism and Hinduism represented with both monks and sadhus worshipping. Several day trips lie close enough to the capital, so going to Bhakthapur, an ancient city was pretty special. With not much traffic and the clak-clak of the loom, women sewing, artisans doing woodwork and pottery, we got lost in it's maze of alleys and found Hindu temples with an orchestra of music of traditional instruments such as Dhol, Thubla, and Harmonium being played out for worship outside. We were sure to snack along the way on samosas, milk tea, and thick sweet yoghurt, a specialty of the area.

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