Flying on top of the World

Today we go for a flight around Mount Everest! So as usual we’re up sinfully early (5:50 am) to go to the airport. I almost miss it because of the infernal 15 minute time zone adjustment Nepal has (srsly 15 minutes!?) but get down just in time.

The flight is rather short, 45 minutes all in all, and we’re not exactly flying around Mount Everest. Instead we fly just enough so that we can see it before turning back. The scenery is spectacular though since you can see much of the Himalayas as well as many of the 8000+ m peaks and I don’t regret spending 1000 sek on it. Back at the hotel we get a quick breakfast before going off on another guided tour. First stop is the monkey temple, probably the most famous sight in Kathmandu with the Buddha eyes gazing out over the world.

The temple is a rather nice place to just walk around but there aren’t that many monkeys around. Dogs are strewn about, but you can see a clear difference from India in that they’re not mangy, rather they look well. The upper courtyard where we enter is chock full of those colorful Buddhist prayer flags and you really wonder how some of them got up there! We move on up to the top where the actual temples are alongside the usual craft stores. The half an hour free time we get goes by quickly and we move on to Patan.

Patan is an older part of Kathmandu with even more temples, of which the coolest is dedicated to Kali (whom you all know from that Indiana Jones movie). Turns out she really is a bloodthirsty sucker as our guide points to rope-like things hanging over the entrance and tells us that they’re actually Buffalo guts! Once a year there is this festival where people bring all kinds of animals to sacrifice and the floor is covered by blood. Not so much now though, but there is lots of really nice carvings of angry god figures to look at.

We also get to visit one of those craft stores where they make those insanely detailed mandala paintings. They’re very beautiful but I settle for some detailed photos and we move on to catch some lunch before going back to the hotel. The rest of the day is unscheduled except for deciding to meet up for dinner. I do some shopping in the myriad of trekking stores and get away with some pirated North Face and Mammut. Since I seem to have lost the others I find a nice café to do some blogging and have an afternoon snack. I get this cool vegetarian specialty Momo together with Indian Tonic and end up spending a couple of hours watching people and writing.

Feeling a bit ursine I find myself a barber while exploring my way back to the hotel. As usual I gladly accept the accompanying offer of massage (my sixth this trip). Next door is one of those awesome stores where there’s just a guy and a sewing machine. They sit there and embroider t-shirts “by hand” – meaning that they use the sewing machine to embroider freehand directly onto the t-shirt. If you want you can just hand in any picture and an hour later you can collect the shirt for a really modest fee. (around 100 sek) I get a shirt with the Everest beer logo as a souvenir before heading back to the hotel.

Sitting in the pub at the hotel I spot Ricard and Monica looking all excited. I head over and it turns out that they’ve made good on their talk about bungee the other day and booked it for tomorrow. Shit, I wanted to do that as well! Coincidentally I passed the place they’d booked at and I head back in a mad dash and get there five minutes before closing! The spots for bungee are all filled though, but the guy tells me that I can do something called canyon swing instead. A little bummed I agree to do that, even though that it seems like a step down from bungee. All in all it’s a really good deal though with transport, lunch and jumping for a mere 600 sek.

Following dinner we go out looking for this bar that Elin has read about where sherpas are supposed to hang out. On the way there we drop off Petra which is actually going on a date with that handsome nepali hunk who served us at the bar yesterday, you go girl! =D A lot of walking on empty dark streets later we decide that we probably won’t find that place and settle for the really nice Namaste bar where we down cheap colorful drinks until they throw us out at closing time. Since it’s kindof late we find the really serious-looking gate closed up when we finally get back to the hotel and we have to bang it to get the guard to open it. A pretty good day I’d say!

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