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Entries about kathmandu


sunny 30 °C

We caught the 7.30am bus to Kathmandu. The trip itself was grand - but the bus was pretty hot and we were kinda stuck to the seats, but it went past fast. I read my ''Into Thin Air'' book and I was basically a cryfest all the way to K. We arrived in K by lunchtime and headed out looking for some accommodation. After trying a few places, we settled on Hotel Potala - or Hotel Potato as it came to be known, as there were a few of us from Ireland there. (least I think that's why we dubbed it that! )


Please note - as writing this in China - i can't actually see what photos I'm inserting as loads of sites don't work here. So random photo insertion ahoy!

Kathmandu is busy, dusty, noisy and a bit dirty in some places. Most of the main roads in the touristy area Thamel are quite clean, but on our walk to the Monkey Temple - aka Swayambhunath, we encountered very littered streets and the ''river'' was destroyed with garbage. There was a family of pigs walking in it munching their way through the garbage! he he... It had a whopper stench.

Our first day in K we decided to just rumble round a bit and see what was around us. There are lots of bars, cafes, shops, stalls and restaurants in Thamel. There were so many signs and shops and bikes everywhere, that I got sensory overload very quickly. We dived for cover and a nom late lunch in this veggie place called Or2k - which was to become a regular haunt for us. Then as it was happy hour, we went for a cocktail in the local Irish bar. After that we went to this awesome bar right opposite our hotel called the Buddha Bar. We ordered an Apple Sheesha pipe and got chatting to 2 lovely ladies beside us.


1 of these ladies was living in Kathmandu and could speak Nepali! Her friend was visiting her here on holidays. After a while the visiting friend's sister came in with a load of locals and joined us. She started wearing the face off one of them at the table. lolz. Then she kept talking to me as if I couldn't understand English or maybe she thought I was really slow or something. I was like; ''why are you talking to me so slowly and skipping out words - I speak English ye know''. She said that she had just gotten used to talking like that!!!! I was like - eh wtf? ''how long have you been here?'' and she says ''2 weeks''.
ahhhh herrrrrrrrrrrrre love - go wan outrra dat.. I'm pretty sure I scoffed out loud and narrowly avoided calling her a muppet. :D

Anywho, we were all having the craic, getting lamped and at 11pm, we headed out for the last hour to go dancing in some ''nightclub''. The club was full of men - there were literally no women anywhere around us. We fell out of the place at 12 midnight. Everywhere closes at 12 midnight these days - it's a bit pants!

So anyways I was dying the next morning but ate my free delicious breakfast and we got on with the sightseeing. We decided to do our own walking tour and see some of the tiny temples and shrines on the way to the famous Durbar square. The shrines were pretty shit in fairness. They were dirty and not really worth seeing at all to be honest. Instead we ducked into The Sticker Shop and blew some dough on awesome stickers that I will never know what to do with. :)

After some more temples and stuff, we ducked down a laneway into a very cool small square with lovely old buildings and a nice stupa. Then there was more trundling and picture taking, til finally we arrived at Durbar Square - the apparent architectural pinnacle of Kathmandu. We spied an official looking lady in a booth waving furiously at us to pay 750 rupees to enter the square! 750 rupees?? yeah right lady. We both weren't that pushed about going to the museum so decided to head off in the other direction, only to end up back in the square from the other side. hmmmmm oops! We tried to duck and dive the payment booths and had a brief look around the square. It had some nice Chinesey looking buildings alright, but no one else was being made to pay to enter and it seemed a bit unfair to just charge foreigners 750 rupees to see a square! Anyways we got a bit lost so stopped to check the compass, when this scruffy looking loonatic comes up to us and started spitting on us!! EWWW - he spat twice on us and was getting ready to hawk up his guts again, so we legged it off up the road! It was so gross and we were slightly miffed. Everytime that we heard anyone clearing their throat after that, we turned quickly to see if we needed to start running!


Anywho we were hungry so went back to Or2k for lunch. It was delicious and we needed a nap after all this heavy eating so returned to Hotel Potato! Later we headed to Tom and Jerry's bar were we met some of the lads from last night and another 2 huge lads from Ireland, the craic was mighty. ;) We ordered drinks and then the barman kicked us out 5 minutes later! DOH! A bit like home! :D

Next day we decided to wealk to the monkey temple. The walk brought us past the river in the middle of the city, which as I mentioned was an absolute pigsty! Literally! There was a family of pigs marching and munching their way through the river of garbage as they went.


A couple passed us by on the way to the riverbank, and I assumed that they were going to maybe say a prayer or raise an offering at the edge of the river. But they just trotted right up and flung a bag of garbage into it! Right in there with the rest of the krap. Ewww. So we kept walking as the smell was pretty bad and investigated the nearby temples and shrines. We took some blasphemous photos before rocking on upwards to the monkey temple aka Swayambhunath.

The temple itself was a great big stupa - a big white dome representing the earth, thirteen tiers representing the 13 stages man must go through to achieve enlightenment, the Buddha eyes, and the squiggle as the nose which represents the number 1. The stupa was up a steep set of stone steps, with colourful statues of Buddha and other interesting figures dotting the stairway. At the top around the temple. were lots of monkeys, people selling colourful stuff, those twirly prayer yokes and of course great views of the city of Kathmandu.


We trundled around for a bit then made our way down on the other side of the hill. We saw lots more monkeys drinking from fountains and a sign that said ''RASMITA WEDS BRITISH MAN''. he he. :D Lucky Rasmita!


After a delicious lunch of veg lasagne, we decided we'd done enough to earn another nap. :D Later Lindsey showed me how to make some macro may bracelets so I can continue travelling the world and never go home, financing myself by selling these bracelets at festivals! Hippy life and dreadlocks - here I come! :D

Later we headed out for a drink at Buddha bar and met some Czech lad that we yapped away to. As we left the bar, at 12 midnight on the dot, we crossed the alleyway to the gate of Hotel Potato and were besieged by weirdos! A Nepali guy came up to offer us hash, a mad American with a bandage on his foot stumbled up to us looking for ''the tall Irish guy Damien'', and an aggressive dude came up shouting ''Sup Sup???'' almost demanding we came to his roof to ''smoke some shit''... All this as we were trying to bid adieu to the Czech guy.
We said ''no thanks'', to the Nepali dude
''No we don't know Damien''... to the mad US dude
''No we don't wanna smoke on your roof''.. to the aggressive dude. ..

No one was taking any notice of our refusals though and we had to keep saying ''no, no, no, no, no'' as Lindsey rattled the cage/gate to get into Hotel Potato. WTF??? Then the US dude thought that we had invited him up to our gaff with us!! F*ckin Hell!
Finally the Czech dude managed to get them away from us. Then he goes and joins them on their roof to ''smoke some shit''.. Good Lolling Jaysus. :D We escaped to the comfort of our roach-free-room. 8)

Next day was Lindsey's last day. :( We decided to take it easy and hang out at the Garden of Dreams. The GOD is a lovely big park with nice green grass, lovely ponds with goldfish and lillies, flowers, trees and lots of little nooks and crannies to hide the amorous Nepali lovers. :) We hung out in the sun for the day reading and eating ice cream.


As we sat there minding our own business, a bird popped on LIndsey's head!! It was a pretty large and gross poop as far as poops go, and poor Lindsey had to retreat to the bathroom to wash it out.

The garden was full of Nepali people and tourists alike and we started chatting to these lovely bunch of guys and gals who had just returned from Everest Camp 3! After just reading ''Into Thin Air'', I was dying to hear their tales and see their pics so we agreed to meet up later in Sam's pub. We didn't know if they'd turn up as they were on a mission to eat and drink as much as possible after coming down. But lo and behold they appeared later on. There was Joe and Mollie and Keith from the US, and 3 Ozzie lads - Rob, Mario and John. THe lads were great craic and we hung out with them for the night yapping and doing shots. (urrrgh) We had intended going home early as Lindsey was up early the next morning, but Balls to that! :D

I was super sorry to see Lindsey go the next morning, I also felt her pain having to get 2 flights after a night's boozing... STANDARD... Lindsey was a great roomie and awesome travelling companion and I felt sad to see her mosey on to India.

Posted by squeakylee 18:03 Archived in Nepal Tagged temple monkey of everest garden pond kathmandu stupa dreams Comments (0)

Kathmandu - part 2

Alone again for a total of 1 minute...

sunny 32 °C

So just after I bid farewell to Lindsey, I started yapping to a tall Irish guy from Derry called Bren. We had a right good natter - the usual travelling questions - how long ya out for?, where've ya been?, where ya going? etc. Brendan took redundancy and was out for as long as he liked, the lucky git. He was only at the start of his travels and had just done a month volunteering at an orphanage. We agreed to meet up later on. Meanwhile, I got a text from Mario to say they would adopt me for the day if I was lonely and to come hang out at their fancy hotel. So I dragged Brendan along and we went to their Yak & Yeti hotel for drinks, nibbles and chit chats. They showed us their GO PRO video of them crossing the Khumbu Ice falls on Everest and it was HELLA COOL! I'd love to be able to do a bit of mountaineering and see some awesome sights, but I got altitude sickness at 3200 metres so it probably ain't for me. Plus I actually don't like going uphill for hours on end. Tis torturous! Later we had some pizza and I brought Bren to the Buddha Bar for his first Sheesha. :D

Next day we went to the Garden of Dreams and met up with another Irish guy, Steafan, from the same town as Brendan. Small World. We also met the infamous and mischievous young Dubliner named Damien that we'd heard so much about. (Everyone around town kept asking us if we knew him!) We'd great craic with the two lads and agreed to meet up later for the pub quiz in Maya Pub.

I went to investigate rafting/canyoning and met a nice chap called Craig checking in to the potato. We invited him along to the pub quiz later on. Craig is out travelling for as long as he likes too. He's a writer and works as he travels so can keep going as long as he does a few days work a week. Nice. He is perhaps thee funniest Englishman I have ever met, so I invited him canyoning/rafting too. I'd decided to book 1 day rafting on the Bhote Kosi river. This has class 4 + rapids and was NOT covered by my insurance! ;) I also wanted to do 1 day canyoning, which is basically abseiling, sliding and jumping down waterfalls on the side of mountains. SUPER CRAIC.
So after much cajoling, Bren and Craig agreed to come rafting/canyoning with me and we booked the 2 days 1 night at the Last Resort Lodge for Saturday morning. We decided not to do it tomorrow (Friday) as we were going to the Pub Quiz later and would probably be hungover. :D

So we met up at Maya Pub at 8 for the pub quiz. There was myself, Bren, Craig, Steafan, and Damien on one team and we named ourselves ''Crazy Joe's Sore Foot''. Crazy Joe was the US dude who had been looking for Damien a few nights before. He was apparently a mad yoke and constantly on the beer and has busted his foot open during one of his drinking sessions. Anywho, King Zamundo (Coming to America) seemed to be the Quizmaster, which was awesome, and he had an Irish dude giving him a hand, who gave us a few hints on the auld answers aswell.
Maya pub was good craic, it was an old skool style pub - dark, with candles and a crazy selection of chunes on the audio box. The questions in the quiz were feckin rediculous though - a load of questions about the SAARC countries, philosophical quotes and other mad stuff, but after a few rounds, we were doing well and were in joint 1st place. Yearrrrrrrh. Some mad Irish woman with a crazy accent came over to chat to us and confused us all with her US/Northern Ireland/Dublin accent. (I really don't understand how people lose their accent or muddle it up with someone else's after being out of their own country for a few weeks)!.

Suddenly there was a huge loud WHOOMPH of a bang outside. We could feel the sheer force of it under our chairs in the pub. Everyone rushed to the window to see what was going on, including me. People were pouring onto the streets to find out what had happened and there were lots of people running down the street towards the noise. As more and more people packed onto the road, we heard that a cooking gas canister had exploded a block or two down from where we were, and a huge fire had started. The fire was centred on the Pilgrim Book Store and was gathering in size and momentum very quickly. As people in the pub began to realise what was happening, they began to panic a bit and started to pay up and leave. After a few minutes, we thought it might be prudent to do the same. The road we were on was full of restaurants and bars and was chock full of gas canisters (due to the constant electricity shortages) and copious amounts of booze. We were expecting to hear many more booms at any moment and I half expected the whole street to go up in one big explosion. We flung money at the bar man and legged it back to the Hotel Potato, which was actually only about 50 m away from the flames. As we walked through the crowds, we could see the flames. The fire was HUGE. The flames were as high as the tallest building on the street and seemed to be getting bigger. There were hundreds of people on the road filming and watching the fire, and police had just arrived. They were trying to control the crowds and move them on. It took about 45 mins for the first fire engine to arrive on the scene.


We returned to Hotel Potato quickly where we made a decision to grab our passports and wander out of the Thamel area and find a bar or hotel away from the madness. So the only place we really knew that was a bit away was the Yak & Yeti, so off we trotted. We got a very expensive beer each there and lounged around on the sofas in the lobby for a few hours. We periodically asked the hotel staff to check the status of the fire for us and each time we were told it was getting worse and not under control yet. At 2am, Bren did some negotiating with the hotel staff and got us 2 rooms for the night. We got some good kip and next morning checked to see if anything was in the news about the fire, but there was nada! We availed of the whopper breakfast buffet and bumped into the Everest gang again. I'm sure they must have thought we were obsessed with them or something, constantly turning up at their hotel! :D They were off sightseeing for the day so we said goodbye and returned back to Thamel. The streets were still busy with onlookers , police and fire engines. They had managed to get the fire under control after about 9 hours. The fire had destroyed a block of 3 or 4 buildings, and the Pilgrim book store which was full of rare and old books was gutted, but tbh I think they were lucky it wasn't more!

So we went for lunch later on and for a few beers in the evening. This seems to be what we do most days in K. Although I knew we were going rafting and canyoning at 6am the next day, so I packed it in and hit the sack at midnight. I advised the two lads, Craig & Bren to do the same, but they waved me away with my stuffy parental advice and stayed up drinking on the roof of the Potato. Our hotel security guard - 5 beeya - had developed a routine of selling us '5 beeya' and after hours sandwiches on the rooftop every night. We reckon we put a few of his kids through college. ;) He's a mad yoke. I asked him for a vodka, he said ''ahh vodka..yes'' and came back with a lime. :D lolz. Gas man!

Posted by squeakylee 18:51 Archived in Nepal Tagged pub fire kathmandu yak thamel yeti quiz Comments (0)

Nepal Round up

Time to sayyy goodbyeeee

sunny 30 °C

So Nepal was amazing. The scenery, people and food were all fantastic. I met the most awesome chums and did a load of fun, nailbiting adventurous activities!

We got blessed by a Buddhist monk in Lumbini - the birthplace of the Buddha.



I saw rhinos from the back of an elephant in Chitwan National Park.




Went paragliding beside the Annapurna Range on a spectacularly sunny day in Pokhara.


Did a 6 day yoga trek to Poon Hill with 5 other awesome solo female travellers - Krissy, Beata, Lindsey, Kathy & Zimmy. With mucho trekking and lots of meditation and yoga - this trek was both taxing and relaxing. :)


Saw the most beautiful sunrise over the Himalayas that moved me to tears.


Hung out with the most gorgeous and positive soul, Lindsey in Pokhara for a few weeks.


Met the best bunch of lads - Brendan, Craig, Steafan & Damien in Hotel Potato, Kathmandu for a week of beer, sheesha, laughing, mini golf, gas explosions advoidance and lazing in the park.


Went whitewater rafting down class 4 and 4+ rapids on the Botoe Kosi River with Spence, Noam, Bren, Craig and Alex.

Canyoned and abseiled down beautiful waterfalls and mountains with aforementioned awesome lads.

Scared the shit out of myself by jumping 170 m off a bridge into a giant canyon and river below, while doing the World's Highest Canyon Swing in the Last Resort with Noam.

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Farewell Nepal - it's been Epic. :)

Posted by squeakylee 01:57 Archived in Nepal Tagged canyon rafting adventures gas kathmandu explosion bungee Comments (0)

Off on the road again..

sunny 31 °C

So it was off to the airport again for round 2 of my attempt to fly to Beijing. This time it worked! Got on a plane that unexpectedly stopped off at Lhasa in Tibet without letting us know. The scenery from the air as we flew put of Kathmandu and over the Himalayas was spectacular. I wasn't in a window seat (doh! as I thought the flight was going to be trunty hours long) so could only peep over other people's shoulders, but what I could see was so clear it was amazing and so beautiful.
Couldn't take any pictures but took a picture from Lhasa airport! :D

At customs in Lhasa, the security dude took an almighty interest in my books. In particular, my Michael Palin - Himalayas book. I thought he was just interested, until he started copying down my passport details onto the front pages of the book.
"Weird", I thought.
"Hope I get to keep it now that he's put all that fancy writing on it!"
But alas I could not.
He pointed to a picture in the book, the one with MIchael Palin arm in arm with the Dalai Lama and said "Dalai Lama - no!!" and waggled his finger at me!
"Oh ok"says I.
Lol. Dammit.
Although to be fair, I was finding that difficult to read anyway with all it's descriptions of places. And I kept pressing on the words I didn't understand hoping for the dictionary meaning to pop up, only then to remember that this was actually a real book and not in fact my intelligent Kindle Fire. ;)

So the second flight was 2 hours with a stopover in Chengdu aka Pandaland for another 4 hours.
I tried to order noodles in two restaurants in the airport, but the staff just fell about laughing at me so I gave up, feeling sheepish and like a big eejit.


Third flight of the day had a fat man snoring beside me. Booo - shut up you twat! So after a delicious ass sandwich, (seriously, the other guy beside me said it looked like donkey) we arrived into Beijing at about 1:30 am. By the time I got my bag and a second taxi, (the first taxi driver just shrugged at me and waved me away and took another passenger), it was about 2.30 am.

The second taxi driver seemed to know where I was going, from my written Chinese scribbles, but when we were on the road, he rang the hostel to find out the proper address, then demanded more money off me. Arghhh. Git.
There is something comfortably familiar to once again confirm the fact that taxi drivers the world over are complete assholes. Obviously I had to agree to give more money to avoid being dumped out on the highway at 2 in the morning.

So anyways he ditched me at the end of this dark alleyway and gestured down it, shouting something at me, before he buggered off with his cash. So I mosied down the alleyway tentatively, following the email directions for the hostel on my phone. The directions say to "enter at the two wooden red doors with red lanterns outside".
Every second door was red with lanterns outside.
So I came across 2 red doors with red lanterns outside, but the place was in complete darkness. I gently pushed the door open and snuck in. (Dunno why I was sneaking, I would eventually have to wake someone up to get in!!)
I had to turn on my torch to see properly. I surveyed the joint CSI style and was mighty disappointed, I hoped to God/Buddha that it wasn't my hostel. It was a junk yard. A dog started barking his head off and I hot-footed it out of there and back into the alleyway.
That couldn't have been it.
I realised then that the 2 doors were actually iron and not wood so it probably wasn't it. But where the hell was my hostel!? I tried to ring the hostel, but my phone won't ring out in Asia for some reason. So I stood there in the dark alleyway looking up and down and wondering what the feck to do.
I also thought it would probably be quite funny tomorrow -me sneaking into people's houses in the dead of night. So I decided to continue on further down the alleyway and lo and behold, a few minutes later, I stumbled upon 2 wooden doors with lanterns outside and with the words "BACKPACKER HOSTEL" written on them in big white writing. :D hee hee.

I dinged the bell and was admitted to the cutest indoor courtyard with cobbled stones, lovely long wooden tables, a pond with goldfish in it and lovely red lanterns dangling down from the incredibly high ceiling. :)


I was shown to my 8 bed mixed dorm (2 adjoining rooms with 2 sets of bunk beds in each) and dumped my stuff on a bed. There were obviously people in the other room but they were more than likely out drinking. My bed was comfy and I read some of my Arnold Schwarzenegger book for a while. Up until that moment today, I'd just wanted to return to Kathmandu and my chums in the hotel potato, but my bed was so cosy and the hostel so cute, that I thought maybe, juusssssst maybe, everything would be alright... ;)

Posted by squeakylee 21:13 Archived in China Tagged flight kathmandu Comments (1)

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