Saturday, 26 November 2011
8am had breakfast at the Third World Restaurant, strange name but nice sunny rooftop overlooking the Durbar Square. Its good to be here early morning before its too busy, most tourists day trip here from Kathmandu so we've beaten the crowds by a few hours. We try the walking tour of the city from our Lonely Planet guide book, we like to play a game of spotting other tourists who are doing the same which is normally quite easy, just look for westerners clutching a book and looking confused. We take lots of wrong turnings from the map in the book but in Patan that only leads to new discoveries round every corner, there's a multitude of shrines and temples down every little side street and weird alleyways such as the one I accidentally led us down with an open air abattoir and blood splattered butchers stalls displaying every known animal part including ghostly looking goats heads, intestines, trotters and big chunks of meat being hacked apart by cleaver wielding butchers. If I wasn't already a veggie this would maybe tip the balance, we're probably a bit too fussy over hygiene in our country but when you see animals being slaughtered and skinned in a dusty alleyway next to the drains and stray dogs wandering into bloodstained butchers shops its a bit of an eye opener. Anyway where was I? Oh yes, there's a mixture of Buddhist and Hindu monuments which can be found everywhere, through every doorway, in every courtyard down every street, there must be more shrines and temples than there are people. After a good day exploring we sit in Durbar Square for a while, it seems a very social place, lots of local people relaxing and chatting around the steps to the temples. We chat to a boy who likes to collect foreign coins so we give him some loose change, he says he wants to visit London to see Big Ben.
Walked to an area called Pulchouk to find some cafes and restaurants we'd seen on our map, it seems a more affluent area with places serving European food, a popular place for expats apparantly. We have a cup of tea and a snack in the most typically Nepali style place we could find, a place called 'New Orleans'. The bill for snacks is more than any of our meals since we've been here. We check out a couple of places to come back and eat at tonight but I complain to Bec that they are too nice and don't serve enough Nepalise food, I'm like a reverse snob, I'd rather eat in a dark little cafe where I cant understand the menu but with it being hard to find places to eat in Patan we end up at a place called Yala Layeku Kitchen overlooking Durbar Square, a bit of a Nepali themed tourist restaurant but a good compromise. We had a Newari set meal which turns out is dal bhat on posh plates, its good food but doesn't beat the dal bhat we were eating up in the mountains. I was going to say its pricey but Bec reminds me its about £15 for a meal for 2 including beers and quite rightly tells me not to get hung up about it on our last night. By about 9pm nowhere is open and nothing is going on so there's not much else to do except go to bed.
Paws for thought
For all the stray dogs on the streets you'd think there would be canine chaos with barking, biting, chasing, fighting and pooing. Infact the dogs just calmly mooch about or sleep on the roadside. Tonight I watched 5 dogs casually strolling around together occasionally stopping to chat, looked like they were whispering at times, maybe planning something. A doggy revolution is brewing, the scabby dogs are plotting to take Kathmandu.....