Thursday, December 10, 2009

Kathmandu and more of Nepal

Sorry for the day off in posting this but work and coordinating a move home got in the way. Not a great excuse, but I'm sticking with it....

Saturday morning we were up first thing and in a taxi to the airport. Our driver us off and told us to meet his brother when we came out of the airport to get a ride back to our hotel.

Our flight was a quick mountain flight that Tina had booked once we knew that we were heading to Nepal for the weekend.
It's a quick flight up and around that lets you get a great sight of the Himalayas and turns around right near Mount Everest.

We were lucky and ended up in the back row of the plane.

The video is when we first got airborne and shows the range when we were first airborne. In addition to being lucky enough to get more photos then you need you also get three videos with this one - we recommend that you watch them all.
View from the cockpit - that's Everest there just on the left.
Another shot of Everest over the wing.
Once more, Everest there with the clouds around it.

It was a great flight, and although we were delayed in landing for 15 minutes the pilot didn't want to turn around to get another view of Mount Everest for us.

Our taxi drivers brother wasn't there when we returned, or we couldn't find him, so we grabbed another taxi. We had agreed to pay 500 Rupee and then we tried to barter down to 400 the new driver got too excited - we then finally agreed to pay him 300 to take us back, about $4.10. We had him drop us off in the tourist area so we could have a quick lunch.
Two hours later we were fully fed, lunch took a long time, and we wandered down to barter for a new taxi. We bartered for a trip to Dhulikhel and Bhaktapur, apparently a 2-3 hour trip - we finally settled on 2000 rupee (30 USD).

Dhulikhel is a small down that affords great views of the Himalayas, but since we got there in the afternoon the clouds had sunk in and we couldn't get a great view. No photos of that, but then we returned to Bhaktapur, which is yet another USNESCO site. Our taxi driver dropped us off in a small square to tour around and told us that he would meet us just outside of the main square in an hour.
The city is amazing with tiny alleys and wonderful buildings that all look like they are about to collapse. When we finally walked out of the square we were in we walked into a bigger square.
Ok, that must be what our driver meant, on the street out of that square we ran into a band marching up the street.

I know that's the second video in the post, but watch this one too. At the end you can see how people are running up telling them to stop playing....

Video 3 explains why, as we also got to witness a funeral procession walk by. This was crazy to see, and since I had my camera up I just hit record and never moved it as they passed. Tina has a great photo and that will eventually end up on Flickr...

At the end of the street was a couple of car parks, but none of them had our taxi driving waiting. Asking at the entrance to the UNSECO section of the park we find out that there is another lot near the main square - a square that we manged to miss altogether. Tina said something and I pulled out the information packet they handed to me when we initially paid out entrance fee, and yeah I had a map that showed all sorts of areas that we missed.

We backtracked to the main square and our driver quickly found us, we told him we were idiots and needed a few more minutes to go off and photograph the main square that people come to see. It actually worked well since now the sunlight seemed to help us...
Another hour and we were back in the tourist section of Kathmandu. We paid our taxi driver an additional 500 rupee to cover the additional time we took for me not understanding that we had a map. On the way home we agreed with our driver to pick us up the next day at 10:00 to take us to two more sights that we really wanted to see. Everything planned out we enjoyed a few drinks and a nice dinner before collapsing into bed for the night.

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