Sunday, 11 September 2011

Kathmandu

My flight back to Kathmandu was smooth and easy but as it was so early, when I got to the hotel at 7:45am, my room was several hours from being ready. This was disappointing because I was filthy and smelly and just wanted to get cleaned up  but I made the best of it and checked my luggage so I could go out shopping.

I headed out to the Thamel district in search of clean clothing, shampoo, conditioner, and a razor. I was quite eager to not only get cleaned up but also to shave my legs!

Unfortunately most of the clothing for sale was either not my style or outside of my restricted budget. I eventually managed to find something that wasn't tie-dyed or some other permutation of hippy-dippy drag at a reasonable price. My budget became even more constrained after I bought some loose gemstones. I couldn't help myself and ended up getting 5 star ruby sapphires, 3 peridots, 2 citrines, and 1 watermelon tourmaline. It's not as bad as it sounds though because they are all lovely stones of very good quality varying in size from 3ct all the way up to 10 and after the haggling had died down I paid between £10 and £30 per stone. Now I just need to have them set.

Anyway, I got back to the hotel at lunchtime and finally managed to get my shower before I met up with Nema from the Kathmandu office of Really Wild Adventures who took me to see the Boudhanath Stupa and have lunch.





Then it was off to Rum Doodle for dinner. This restaurant is named after the book, The Ascent of Rum Doodle which is a mildly amusing book about an expedition to climb the mythical 40,000 1/2 ft. mountain written in the style of Three Men In A Boat. I was eager to go to this restaurant because I was looking forward to a few drinks but also because it is traditional to dine here after a successful ascent of Everest.







I honestly didn't think much of the food there but I'm sure it was better than the alternatives available.

Afterward I returned to the hotel and ended up drinking and hanging out with an expedition who were heading to Cho Oyu in the morning. We were having a lovely time and then I got a sad text Bletchley Park that the great Tony Sale had died.  If you were fortunate enough to have been to the 1st ACCU/Bletchley Autumn Lectures in 2009, then you would have had the pleasure of hearing this amazing man speak. I don't think anyone left the lectures that day who did not wish that Tony was their grandfather. His work to save Bletchley as well as such things as rebuilding Colossus prove what a treasure this man was. Tony, you will be missed.

I spent my last full day in Nepal just wandering around the back streets.







And also got a tattoo at Mohan's. I checked in at all of the tattoo parlours I saw and this one struck me as the most professional. Evidently I was right because I later learned that Mohan's is indeed the place to go. 

So, what tattoo did I get and why? I got a lotus done on the inside of my forearm. I chose a lotus because all along the trail those crazy Buddhists were doing their chanting. Much like suzuki violin students learning 46 variations of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, this Om Mani Padme Hum was chanted in endless variations, over and over and generally translates to something about contemplating the lotus so I thought it would make a nice memento of having completed this journey.

And so, here it is. Mind you, it's still healing so it's a bit scabby/dry.


On the way back to the hotel I stopped into the inevitable Irish Bar for one last nightcap. It was interesting to hang out with some ex-pats and hear what it's like for them to live in Nepal. 



It was a pleasant way to end my final day in Nepal. In the morning I would be flying home at last.

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