Saturday, 3 September 2011

pkr – ktm: more sightseeing…

after an early morning of “non-sunrise” watch, i was sent back to the hotel for breakfast. breakfast was at the hotel next door, which i think belongs to the same owner.

DSC_0200 i chose to sit outdoors, coz the air was nice and cool after the rain.

DSC_0203 typical hotel breakfast…

after breakfast, i went back to my room to try to get some rest, but as i had coffee for breakfast, i just managed to get a few winks of sleep.

DSC_0206 great mountain view from the balcony of my hotel room…

as i wasn’t able to book a tandem paragliding (coz all the operators were fully booked), i decided to continue with the last activity in my package, i.e. the boat ride at fewa lake.

DSC_0266old boatman…

DSC_0231my guide and i were rowed over to that tiny island on fewa lake. i asked the guide if the island is a natural island or man-made, and he replied, “we don’t have the technology to build man-made islands”

there’s a hindu temple on that island, and just so happen on that day, it’s the festival of snakes. so the island were quite crowded, with boatloads of people going back and forth the island to offer prayers.

DSC_0261my guide took the opportunity to do the puja too…

after the boat ride, i had some time to kill before my flight back to kathmandu at 1pm. so i decided to take a walk along the street surrounding the lake area, which is lined with shops catering for tourists – restaurants, tours and hike packages, hiking gear shops, souvenir shops, etc. there’s also lots of shops renting bicycles and scooters. so on a spur of a moment, i went to rent a bicycle! it’s been years and years since i last rode on a bike, but since the streets were not so busy, i thought i’d try a leisurely bike ride through the streets and side streets. i was a bit wobbly at first, but it all came back to me soon enough :)

DSC_0270 still full from breakfast, but don’t think i’ll have time for lunch when i get to kathmandu, i decided to try this apple pie in a small deli near my hotel.

after that, it was a mad rush to pack up and try to get to the airport on time, coz initially i thought my flight was at 1.40pm, but realized later that it’s at 1.00pm! i was praying the whole way to the airport that i dun miss my flight, but luckily pokhara is relatively small and the airport is just 10 minutes away. moral of the story is, always confirm and reconfirm your flight time to avoid crazy last minute rush! *phew*

back in kathmandu, sure enough, i was whisked off to 3 durbar squares in 3 different places in kathmandu valley before i was sent back to kathmandu resort hotel to call it a day.

from wikipedia: Durbar Square is the generic name used to describe plazas opposite old royal palaces in Nepal. Before the Unification of Nepal, Nepal consisted of small kingdoms, and Durbar Squares are most prominent remnants of those old kingdoms in Nepal. In particular, three Durbar Squares in the Kathmandu Valley, belonging to the three kingdoms situated there before unification, are most famous: Kathmandu Durbar Square, Patan Durbar Square, and Bhaktapur Durbar Square. All three are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

at the durbar squares, each building is dedicated to a god/goddess/king/queen etc. the 3 durbar squares are far from each other (definitely not walking distance), but i’m lumping the shots from all 3 together, coz to the ignorant me, all the buildings looked about the same! :P

DSC_0282DSC_0304DSC_0293long dried-up watering hole…

DSC_0316 vegetable sellers…

DSC_0318 pottery is the main industry...

DSC_0322DSC_0325DSC_0328still done traditionally…

DSC_0327DSC_0331 food stuff are hung outside to dry as well as to keep them away from rats…


DSC_0339  a lot of locals go to the durbar squares to lepak as well but they get in for free, while tourists need to pay an entrance fee.

DSC_0350DSC_0363  DSC_0351 this is the window of the kumari chowk (kumari house) in kathmandu durbar square, where the royal kumari lives.

the kumari is the virgin goddess who is selected as a child of about 3-4 years of age to be worshipped as a living goddess and will be replaced before she reaches puberty. there are many stories about the royal kumari, and i was told a version of it by my guide when i was there. but then i bought a book by a former royal kumari, “from goddess to mortal”, and found out that the story i was told (as with the many other versions presented in some documentaries and articles) to be untrue.

here are a few of the most common myths surrounding the kumari:
1. the selection process is rigorous, which involves having the child candidate spending a night in a room full of bloody cow and goat heads
2. a kumari is replaced as soon as she sheds blood, even from a fallen tooth or a small cut
3. a kumari must remain a virgin her whole life and can never marry

finally, here are some shots from the streets…

P1080982 they have some fancy-coloured vehicles… does this reminds you of bob marley? :D

P1080962 check out the shape of the rear lights!

DSC_0345 tuk-tuk, the cheaper alternative to a taxi
















transportation of goods…

it’s already late in the evening when i checked into kathmandu resort hotel. so after dumping my bags into my room, i went out again in search of an early dinner, coz i was famished!

P1080983 i didn’t know what to have, so when i stumbled upon this korean restaurant (a different one from the one i had the first night), i thought, “what the heck, bibeembab it is!” :P

after dinner, i walked around thamel a bit, looking for souvenirs, but can’t really find anything worth buying. i ended up buying a few books!

DSC_0368 i got a room on the 1st floor, where a group of koreans are also staying. the whole night, they were running back and forth to each other’s room, talking and shouting loudly in the corridors and slamming the doors. the same thing happened in the morning. i really felt like opening my door and shouting at them, but i don’t know any korean cuss word! :P

DSC_0373 the room window also opens out to the street below, which is blardy noisy!

i was thinking of turning in early, as it was quite a tiring day, but i couldn’t fall asleep due to the noise, not only from the koreans, but also from outside the window – shop keepers closing their shops and people talking and calling out to each other. even late at night, there were people (the guards, i think) talking loudly!