Durbar Square temple.
We visited Durbar Square which is a series of temples and monasteries which were up until recently the home for the ruling King. The area is supposedly world heritage listed, and tourists have to pay to enter the area. Although the buildings are out in the open streets and people have shops in some of the buildings, cars and motorcycles pass through, people sleep on the foot paths, Sadhu - people finding enlightenment - try to get you to take a photo for money, just little entrepreneurs really. And of course there are monkeys climbing round the joint. On our way to the square we had an interesting walk through back alleys, through local food and clothing markets.
During our walk we came across many police patrols and at one stage we saw a group of protesters throw burning debris including tyres onto the roadway, the protesters then forced traffic to turn around and find an alternative route.
The protesters taunted police and anyone who tried to drive past the blockade. We watched hoping for some violence to erupt. Unfortunately apart from burning and waving flags and screaming it was pretty sedate. A short time later a great number of police and tear gas arrived and the fun was over. We see photos every day in the local paper showing massive riots etc, but they occur out of the tourist areas. And the Maoists don't want to attack the tourists either, more the locals and the police/army forces.
Protesters and police clash behind me KTM Nepal
There are a number of reasons to protest in Nepal,
1. You’re a Maoist
2. You want democracy
3. You are a member of some group/s called 5 parties or
4. You have been served a suspicious dhal and naan bread.
We leave for Tibet on the 1/5/04 having booked a trip through a tour company called Green Hill Tours.
It is a tour that gives us a 20 day tourist visa for Tibet, yet the tour actually only goes for about 8 days incorporating a trip to the Base camp of Everest from the Tibetan side, weather permitting. Our passports have been with the Chinese for the last week to get authorisation for Tibet. Unfortunately the Chinese visa we were issued with in Australia will now be null and void. This means that we do ourselves out of some money and also have to reapply for a double entry visa to continue our intended route into China and back through Mongolia later on. Hope that makes sense. Why did they void our visa.
Down town Thamel STM Nepal
Answer : Why is one side of the earth dark, while the other is light.
It just is........ Welcome to Chinese bureaucracy.
Another thing. It just dawned on us that there might be a Russian Embassy in KTM, because we need to reapply for a date change for our exit from Russia into Mongolia. At the moment our visa has us leaving two days prior to when we actually do. This could cause all sorts of little dramas. Unfortunately we did not think checking for a Russian embassy earlier. It is physically impossible to do so now as our passports arrive back from the Chinese embassy the day we leave for Tibet. Supposedly.
Paul and I went to Bhuktapur for the night. There is an ancient old city there with temples and stuff to see. Very culturally significant etc. Thought it was great and got heaps of photos. Even got a photo of an old guy making pots out of clay on a spinning wheel.