Kathmandu

April 6th, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

I’m in . Currently in , but about to fly to Lukla to start a 17 day trek to the Mt Everest Base Camp and back, along with four other Wellingtonians.

There will be no Internet (or electricity!) in some of the areas we pass through, so very little blogging for the next two to three weeks. There should be the occasional guest post, but not much from me. I won’t be clearing e-mails during this period either, and will be deleting all e-mails unread when I get back as there will be so many of them. So if you want me to read something, send it to me after 29 April.

Anyway have had a day and a half in Kathmandu, and a few photos starting with the most important one.

KAT0003

This photo is a huge relief as Malaysia Airlines lost my bag (yeah, I know at least they didn’t lose the plane !) and for around 20 hours I was in a state of minor panic. On most trips losing your gear is a hassle, but not a disaster. Just go out and buy some clothes for two days. But if my bag didn’t turn up within 36 hours I would not have been able to do the trek – or would have had to try and buy a huge amount of gear and clothing and (legal) drugs. So was very very relieved when the bag turned up the next morning.

KAT0002

Like many Asian cities, the electrical wiring is chaotic. By coincidence there are several power cuts a day. In fact as I type this there has been no power for 90 minutes. As it is 4 am, I guess not many have noticed!

KAT0001

They have some great bookstores here. Will buy a few books after the trek, but no not this one – it isn’t autographed!

KAT0004

One of the many temples at Basantapur Durbar Square. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site.  Over two dozen temples, many hundreds of years old.

KAT0005

This is the courtyard where the Royal Kumari, or living goddess, makes an occasional appearance. A young girl (the current one is aged four) is selected to be a living goddess for four years, and is worshipped at various festivals. seeing her is meant to bring good fortune. After she retires as a living goddess, she returns to her family. Few of them ever go onto marry. I guess being married to a former living goddess would be challenging! Especially as their every wish must be granted when they are a goddess!

KAT0006

A statue of the monkey god.

KAT0007

There is a purpose to this photo! Look at the size of the heels on her. Massive.

KAT0008

Nothing stops a determined tree.

KAT0009

Shiva the Destroyer.

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I love this portrayal.

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Hundreds of wild dogs run and lay around the place. Some, like this one, look very cute. But you never ever pat them as the chance of getting rabies from a dog bite is far too high.

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Yes he is heading straight for me. He seemed to take an interest in me and walked directly over to me, and then stopped next to me. Was a bit wary of patting him with those horns.

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Then we went to see Boudhanath which is one of the holiest Buddhist sites. I love the eyes, that make it so friendly.

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Inside one of the temples.

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One of the three million gods they have.

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This is the wheel of life. I like the depictions of the different heavens and hells. Lots of people being boiled in a pot down below.

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Then we went to Swayambhunath, also known as the monkey temple for obvious reasons. I liked this cute scene. However again no matter how cute, stay away as many have rabies.

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A big array of monkeys making their way over a roof.

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This was somewhat unusual. We saw a public cremation. Many families cremate their deceased here at the temple. This is meant to happen within three hours of death. You can see the body wrapped up being transported.

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Then it is set alight, starting at the mouth!

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And a cremation in full flight. Rather unsettling watching it. At the end, the ashes are swept into the river below. That’s one river you definitely do not want to fall into!

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20 Responses to “Kathmandu”

  1. lazza (382 comments) says:

    A good likeness Legend-Slim Dave … “Shiva the Destroyer”. Hope the climb goes well.

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  2. itstricky (1,880 comments) says:

    Don’t blame you, I wouldn’t buy a Thatcher biography either, autographed or not.

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  3. Colville (2,298 comments) says:

    What profesion was the Chick in the heels?

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  4. Duncan Brown (16 comments) says:

    Enjoy your trek :-) But are you really so important that heaps of people email you but you care so little you just delete them???

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  5. Anthony (798 comments) says:

    The real birdsnest of wires is telecommunications rather than electricity I think you’ll find, otherwise anyone adding a new connection would get electrocuted! Interesting pics though!

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  6. Fletch (6,489 comments) says:

    Had to be done :)

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  7. Elaycee (4,404 comments) says:

    DPF: Currently in Kathmandu, but about to fly to Lukla….

    Lukla??? [gulp] 8O

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  8. ShawnLH (5,720 comments) says:

    Stunning photos David. Thanks for sharing.

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  9. nasska (11,797 comments) says:

    Elaycee

    We can but hope that our host has a safe trip but after watching that clip I have a feeling that his underwear won’t be coming back with him. :)

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  10. Grizz (610 comments) says:

    Why not do it properly and walk in from jiri. At least you will not have to worry about landing at the worlds most dangerous airport.

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  11. Manolo (14,044 comments) says:

    Good on you, and enjoy the trip, DPF.
    Going away on pleasure, not business, is always a joyous occasion.

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  12. Brian Smaller (4,024 comments) says:

    There is a purpose to this photo! Look at the size of the heels on her. Massive.

    I didn’t notice her heels.

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  13. wreck1080 (3,956 comments) says:

    “Going away on pleasure, not business, is always a joyous occasion.”

    Phew, he takes a lot of holidays . Lucky :)

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  14. trout (944 comments) says:

    The books you have just perved over a mostly photocopy ripoffs brought in from India.
    In Kiwiland we boast about having numerous entrepreneurs; Kathmandu has thousands; in the absence of welfare there is an imperative to finding some legal way to make a buck; nothing goes to waste; everything that can be is recycled – even the clothing of the cremated dead that floats down the river with the ashes. Shoemakers refurbish worn shoes discarded by tourists, cabinet makers work on the footpaths recycling old wood , roadside mechanics service buses en route. So much busyness in a country short on resources.

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  15. btb (7 comments) says:

    IMO this blog topic, although interesting doesn’t belong on kiwi blog and is irrelevant to whats happening in NZ. Post it on a travel blog where it rightly belongs. Or explain why it is relevant to KIWIS in an election year.

    [DPF: Excuse effing me but you seem to be mistaken as to what Kiwiblog is. It is my personal blog. I blog on any issues and experiences I find interesting. Most of those are politics, but not exclusively. This is not a solely political blog. If that’s what you want, feel free to go to The Standard]

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  16. Johnboy (16,994 comments) says:

    It gives Whale a chance to run the ball btb! :)

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  17. Crusader (321 comments) says:

    Nice. It’s an amazing walk. Scenery stunning. People super-friendly. Culture interesting. Ideal destination. And there’s a Kiwi link to the Khumbu region.

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  18. PaulL (6,044 comments) says:

    This health kick is a bit crazy DPF. But good on you for living life to the full – you must be stoked at being able to do things like this (both in terms of health and in terms of the way you’ve organised your affairs to permit time off)

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  19. Rich Prick (1,721 comments) says:

    As an aviation geek, but also having experienced Lukla, the gradient is there for a reason in both landing and take off, to slow planes on landing and speed them on take-off also to catch the thermal gradient. Not at all for the faint hearted!

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  20. ChardonnayGuy (1,213 comments) says:

    Did you spot a little yellow figure to the north of Kathmandu, and a little yellow cross beneath the town? And does a broken hearted woman still tend the grave of mad Carew? :)

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