Nepal is actually quite nice

But i knew that already.

Anyway, I got off my ass and finally after two weeks in Kathmandu, got it together enough to leave Thamel and go on a couple of day trips – first to Boudhanath and next to Patan. Now these arent major day trips. They are both less than 10km from Kathmandu and sure, I needed to walk a kilometer or so to the bus station and do the whole ignorant tourist asking at every bus if it goes to X thing but it really isnt that difficult.

Patan and Boudhanath are both really worthwhile places to go to. If I had my time in Kathmandu again, I’d probably choose to stay in either of those places. Boudhanath is in my comfort zone of Tibetan Mahayana buddhist enclaves (ie Leh and McLeod Ganj) and Patan with its incredible musuem (designed by an Austrian), its sculpture workshops and its quiet streets (compared to Thamel anyway) is just lovely.

The thing about Kathmandu that I’ve really liked so far is parts of the town design. Hidden amongst the crowded narrow streets are courtyards that function as communal spaces, lightwells and quiet oases away from the traffic. They often have little temples and/or stupas in the centre as well. You can see Nepalese children playing there, people leaning out of their windows chatting and your normal everyday life going on.

In larger communal areas there are also often communal wells and pools. The pools are rectangular terraced affairs dug down to the groundwater level and from there, decorated stone pipes perpetually spout water. People wash their clothes here, have quick showers, have a drink, fill vessels and pails or if they’re kids, just play.  They are designed so that people can lay their clothes out to dry or just hang out on the various terraces down to the water. In Patan, the water seems especially clean and I washed the heat of the day away in the cool clear water.

Anyway, after a good day like today, I dont feel quite as burnt out. Even if I did tell a group of schoolgirls on assignment that I’d rather be alone and not talk to anyone when they approached me.

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