Now that we have a bit of solar power and are able to access the internet occasionally, we can now share our adventures.. From spending 2 extra days in Kathmandu and the start of our trek in the Khumbu.
Wednesday 4th September 2013
Another morning waiting for the plane so far our flight had been delayed until 9:30. We got out the cards and chessboards to kill time. Just before 9:00 we got a phone call explaining the weather was still unsuitable to fly in. the next update was at 11:00 so some of us bought chocolates while others caught up on their diaries.
Just before 11:00 we were informed that all flights to Lukla had been cancelled. We then went for an early lunch and then to our first cultural tour. The guides name was Kedar Temang but we called him Mr Kedar. Our first stop was the Swyambunath Stupa also known as the monkey temple. It was on top of a hill and there were so many prayer flags it was awesome. We saw a monkey drinking out the wishing fountain which was amusing. We walked up many steps taking pictures of monkeys as we went. We were lead through a shop to the roof to take in the spectacular views of the city.
He explained the history of Kathmandu from the rice fields to the Queens Forest, how the valley was once drained from being a vast lake. After taking some photos we returned to the shop where we were taught about the type of art called Thanka. These paintings were used to spread the teachings of Buddha and certain rules must be followed whilst painting. Some of them take up to 24 months for a grand master to paint and use 24 carat gold. Up to 70% of the paintings were done by 1 to 5 hair brushes taken from the neck of a cat. The whole process sounds so complicated.
After the monkey temple we went to Durbar square. Mr Kedar told us about all the different temples most of us got confused about the hundreds of Gods they have. We also got to see the Kumari who is a living Goddess and is currently only 9 years old. Some of us were not happy about this as she was trapped in a building away from her family but this highlighted the differences between our cultures. Once we had been toured out it was time for dinner. It was probably one of the weirdest places we had ever eaten. We ate at funky Buddha and it was techno night!!!