Friday, 25 November 2011
Bhaktapur and on to Patan
Up and out to explore Bhaktapur by 8am before all the day tripper tourists arrive in a few hours time. We started off in Durbar Square and checked out the impressive buildings, temples and shrines whils having to repeatedly brush off the wannabe guides
"I can give you all the good information"
"I will guide you for only 200 rupees"
"We dont want a guide so tanks but no"
"Right now you are in Durbar Square and infront of you is the palace built in...."
"No! stop following us! We dont want a guide!" etc. etc. etc.
Anyway, moving on, most of these buildings are many hundreds of years old and they're certainly not just relics for tourists posing for a new profile pic, its all still living and very much in use. The imposing grand size of everything is just as incredible as the fine detail of all the stone work and wood carvings that adorn the palace, the temples and all the statues and shrines. As we walk away from the square and explore the city we find shrines and monuments dotted about everywhere. a wrong turn down a dark and dirty side street is likely to be hiding an elaborately decorated Ganesh shrine. There's the usual scabby stray dogs, chickens pecking about, the odd goat rooting through some rubbish and even a few buffalo being herded through the edge of town, it all adds to the ancient but lived in feel to the place. Yes its old and dirty but it still feels grand and impressive. We take a look at Potter's Square where there's thousands of clay pots laid out to dry in the streets and then go in search of some traditional yoghurt shops. I try some proper local curd, its served in a little clay dish for only 30 rupees, tasty!
Late afternoon we collect our bags from the guesthouse (along with more hilariously confusing conversation with the genuinely nice but totally insane 'Robin Hood') and head off to the local bus station. local bus for 25 rupees or taxi for 500 rupees? gotta be the bus with the locals, its easy to do and i like seeing a bi more of real everyday life. Just like yesterday the bus is quite crammed but still a fella hangs out of the door shouting "Kathmandu, Kathmandu" and bang the side of the bus for the driver to stop so he can pull more and more people on, its amazing how many people you can actually fit in a bus if you try! Patan is a short journey just south of central Kathmandu, its dark by the time we get there which makes the task of finding a guesthouse a bit more difficult, we find a place near the centre called Cafe de Patan, they show us a room by candlelight due to a powercut just as we arrived, it looks fine in the dark and we're not too fussy anyway, just glad to find a room. Tomorrow is the last full day then we fly home on Sunday.