Sunday, 20 September 2015

Bhaktapur; King of Curds and World Heritage sites

Sudan came to pick me up at around 12pm and he had planned a day around historical Bhaktapur, which is a city on the outskirts of Kathmandu, very very old, and is one of the old Newar cities where people still speak the ancient language, it used to be the capital city of Nepal waaaaay back in the day. It has some of the worlds oldest world heritage sites and unfortunately some of them suffered extensive damage during the earthquake and because of the old fashioned buildings a lot of the city had suffered extensive damage and alot of people lost their lives here. However it is still a great place to go as it still has so much history! And it really is a stunningly beautiful place.

So Sudan turned up on his motorcycle, Bhaktapur is 10km away from Kathmandu so it meant travelling on the highway to china...needless to say I was a little scared, I am not a great fan of motorbikes, mainly because of my experiences in thailand with them...crashing into a coconut tree when I tried to drive one, falling off them and cutting my legs etc. But the great thing is i'm not on it as a tourist this time. Sudan was experienced with the roads at least which are so complicated!

So on I hopped and we set off on our day adventure. It didn't take long and the highway actually wasn't that bad. As soon as we got there and parked up outside Durbar Square, Sudan went off to go buy the famous 'king of curds' the 'Juju Dhau'. It came in a little clay pot and was the creamiest loveliest sweetest yoghurt I had ever tasted. If they ever massed produced this it would fly off the shelves. But at the same time it would destroy it. The significance of eating it in Bhaktapur sitting in the world heritage sight of Durbar Square is what its all about. 

So we set off exploring the Durbar Square, where several temples were completely destroyed in the earthquake but even so it was eerily beautiful and ancient. A young boy came up to us asking if i needed a guide and Sudan, being the kind caring man he is, said yes, but on one condition, that it would be a lesson for him on how to be around tourists and as a tour guide, and in return he would teach Sudan more about the history of the town. I thought this was a really nice idea so agreed. This boy was only 13 and it was his one day off from school (they go to school 9-5 monday to saturday, with sundays off). So he was obviously serious about the job and wanted to practise his english and one day be a guide. So I thought it was great that Sudan could help him out.
So he took us on a tour around Durbar Square and then into the city more, to show us the local side of Bhaktapur, the oldest window in the city, and the 5-tier Pagoda which is also a world heritage site.

On the way he took us to areas that had been basically flattened by the earthquake, and at one place Sudan was particularily interested in what they were doing; splitting wood and impailing it into the ground as a foundation for more temporary housing. There was also a group of kids flying kites and one group showed me they had just come back from the river where they had caught some little fish in a bottle. Sudan busied himself in helping with the construction happening behind us, while I was talking to the children. Sudan helped out alot after the earthquake. Helping recover bodies from the wreckage, helping the badly affected villages in the Kathmandu Valley and helping with aid agencies to build temporary housing and delivering food supplies to cut off places. So he knows his stuff. And was showing them a quicker way to split the wood to save on man power for the job at hand. It was interesting to watch. Our guide also showed me a monastery where the monks were all on the roof flying kites too. It was a strike today because of the national constitution that was in debate and supposed to be signed today so almost everyone was off and chilling or helping in the community...monks included!

We then went on to where they make nepalese paper, and the 5-tier pagoda, which is an awesome place. We stopped off for more king curd along thw way...i was easily addicted to the stuff. And after the pagoda we all stopped for lunch at a local place for Buff Momos (buffalo meat), which were delicious and for all three of us only cost £2 with drinks!

The young boy then decided he had been taught enough from Sudan for the day and wanted to go play with his friends so after exchanging numbers with Sudan he parted ways. It was great to encourage young children to get experience in a profession young especially on a day off from school so it was really nice of Sudan to take him under his wing for the day.

It was then time for our last stop at the pottery making district where I tried my luck at sculpting some pottery (a money pot and an ash tray) which Sudan said he was going to get fired and pick them up as something for me to take away with me from nepal which is pretty cool. At this point it also started to pelt it down with rain so we stayed undercover for a bit and then walked back to the main durbar square. 

Here we decided to take a cup of tea on a rooftop tea house and take in the views (which were stunning) and discuss my tours he was going to book. So he reckoned it would be good to start Chitwan from Tuesday, then head to Pokhara and come back to Kathmandu a week before I leave to do the Everest flight and Nawargot for a viewing of the Himalayas. I was pretty happy with this and the price so I agreed and we decided it was time to head back to Kathmandu, via a massage place which his friend owned as I really fancied a cheap massage.

So we set off on the bike again and the rain clouds were chasing us. But luckily left us alone! On the way back a few roads had been closed and there were people crowded around drawings in the middle of the roads. We were wondering what was going on so Sudan stopped to ask a policeman and he told him that the constitution had been agreed upon and signed so people were protesting in happiness and gathering around to light candles on drawings of the Nepalese flag etc. Sudan was also very happy about this as they had been waiting for some stability since the revolution which had only been a few years ago. It was amazing to see people so so happy and parading through the streets, dancing, singing, lighting candles etc. It was an amazing evening! 

I had my massage and took half the money out for Sudan (i had a crisis with my bank and because it was a weekend the transfer didnt go through until the next day so it looked dodgy but I rang the bank and everything was legit so that was ok.) The massage was awesome but so strong, she really gave my body a work over and i came out feeling like i had had a fight but a little better and relaxed. 

So after this I just went back to the hostel, showered, skyped Pierrick and then went to get food...but i forgot it was a sunday and everything ahut i went to the local shop to buy some noodles which i could cook in the hostel kitchen. However when I got back I realised nothing was easy to find in the kitchen and by the time i had found a saucbut and started to look for matches which was impossible to find, i had already gone off the idea of food so just decided to wait until breakfast!

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