A long overdue terrible bus journey and a bit more Newari culture in Patan
Patan Travel Blog› entry 11 of 33 › view all entries
Leaving Pokhara slightly regrettful that not seen the place at its best, but woke up to yet another murky day, so my decision to leave justified. Feeling hungover again - this Everest beer is worse than Stella for giving you a hangover without actually getting drunk. I'm going back to Cuba Libra's !! Found my seat on the bus and took root. Soon turned in to the most uncomfortable bus journey ever. I think they only made the half of the road (towards Pokhara), as the side back was just connecting pot holes. Sat on the back row, I got launched at minutely intervals. Not even of the scenic side of the bus, failed to get any sleep and listened to my MP3 player waiting for the journey to end. The bus company not helping by trying to turn it into a day trip with regular stops (although this may have been for the benefit of a German girl at the front with travel sickness).
Saw enough of the route to notice an increased number of Nepal Maoist party flags around some of the street lights, now overtaking the number of Union Jacks, which I still haven't figured out why UK is so popular (although there are many adverts offering places to Nepalese to study in the UK). 8 hours later we made it back to Kathmandu and as usual the tourist bus stop nowhere near where any tourist wanted to go. Tracked a couple of Germans with a map and made it back to Thamel ok.
Determined to achieve something today, researched prices for Tibet. Resigned to not being able to travel independantly (can't get a Visa if not through an agency), all agencies offering identical packages so just a case of playing prices off against each other.
Time for some more Nepal history. Patan almost adjoining Kathmandu preceded it as the capital. With its own Durbar Square, supposedly a nicer place to visit than the Kathmandu equivalent I'd already visited. Starting to get my bearings around Kathmandu, I headed in the direction of Pastan until found a taxi rank for a better negotiation position for a fare. Got cheaper than book price. Got to Patan and implemented new strategy to avoid prospective guides by finding a panoramic cafe to get own bearings and read where to go over a coffee.
Patan does not have quite so many monuments, but there's enough to be impressive. In addition, most were built when Patan was the capital and therefore older than Kathmandu. Many multi tiered pagodas and temples, all very well maintained. Without any hastle, I spent an hour wandering around. The Patan museum is recommended by Rough Guidem so popped in. Giving the background to Hinduism and Buddhism in relation it to Nepal was surprisingly interesting, even to a sceptic. A highly regarded collection of Buddhist and Hindu statues dating back up to 1000 years of Nepal history couldn't fail to impress.
With time to spare, went for a wander off Durbar Square. As with many historic cities, a complete rabbit warren of little alley ways crossing over. Even heading in a general direction, very easy to get lost. However even as the only tourist around, absolutely no menace about the locals as they just got on with daily life. Nice to meander around with every new turn revealing another little temple or stupa. Stumbled across the famous Golden Temple, revered by many as a gem of Buddhist culture. Observed prayers from afar. With a new respect for daily life in Nepal, and the history that got them here, headed back to Thamel.
Met up with Harka for the evening. I had agreed to help him with a DVD to try and enable him to work for himself rather than always give a big cut to an agency.