29th March, 2009
I don’t know why exactly but all month whenever I’ve typed the date, I’ve been typing September. I do manage to correct it, but it’s quite weird. So, I didn’t do much today as I thought it would be best to take it easy and let myself rest and try and get rid of my flu. I had breakfast over at the Shisha bar where the classic rock band has been playing (six nights a week. I tried to find a place that would make a parcel for me with no success. The one across the street is open, but there’s no one in it ever. I guess tomorrow I’ll walk down to the Post Office and see if there’s some place near there. I figure it’ll probably be an all day operation. I went there yesterday:
Talk about weird coincidences! I ran into a couple outside my hotel that were on the backwater trip with me in Kerala. We had a chat and it turns out they're from Budleigh Salterton! And he was born in Torquay, just across the estuary from where I was born in Exmouth. Small world hey?
March 28th, 2009.
It seems I am not quite oriented here in Katmandu. What I thought was North is West. SO I had a hard time reconoitering today. I decided I would go to the museum which is actually the abdicated Kinf of Nepal’s Palace. It’s some kinda shrine, and the lienup was about three hours long or more so I changed my mind and hunt down the Post Office so on the 29th I could send my souvenirs from there. The Post Office is closed Saturdays, but open Sundays. It took a while, but I managed to track it down. I passed it once. On the way there I stopped at a park where all the grass is worn away and its covered with garbage, and its really a market now where people sell cheap street stuff from blankets in the park. I noticed some of the vendors out on the street gathered up their blankets and bundled everything away as the police walked down the street, but the cops who were jus behind me really didn’t seem to be interested in busting them. They have loops on the corners of the blankets so they can just grab the corners and gather everything up in the blanket. I tried to make my way back to the hotel after I checked out the Post Office, and ended up in Durbar Square, where there’s a buncha old temples. I took a buncha pictures and made my way North, but was off a little in my direction (still). Got back and had a great steak and mashed potato dinner at New Orleans Café. My first mashed potatoes in 3 months! Strange to come all the way to Nepal and discover Nirvana in a pile of mashed potatoes. Still it was great. The power was on for a while so I watched TV until the satellite feed died. It’s still not up. Also the wifi connection I was using is nonw password protected. Too bad they didn’t name the network so I could find out where they were, and I could pay them for the connection. The New Orleans Wifi is down as well. It’s a bad connection from the hotel. I think I’ll go down with the laptop after I get the Post Office thing done, and send a last update before I leave Nepal for Africa.
So, anyway, in Dunbar Square, they have monkeys. Not lots. Some. The major shrine there is to Hanuman, the Monkey King, God I guess. Anyway. I had bought some strawberries from a street vendor, and for some reason thought the monkey might like one. First I should say this: I kinda avoid the monkeys cause they have sharp teeth. And the rabies thing. Still, while I was taking pictures I noticed that local people chase after them and throw stones at them, but the monkeys actually charge back at people who do that, a major troupe movement, and one kid that threw a rock at the head monkey, Il Capo di Primato, was chased right out of the square. SO, I’m thinking, that’s not very nice, why can’t we all get along? So I walk over to the Capo (“Cappy”) and offer him a strawberry. I wasn’t really sure how to hold it. I didn’t want any fingers sticking out in case he took it with his mouth, but it turns out you can just pass them over like any other primate. They have little furry hands. Anyway, at some point, I thought I’d give a strawberry to Cappy’s girlfriend but she ran away. So I threw a strawberry after her. BIG MISTAKE! She ran at me like she ran at the kid, and Cappy, who realized I was about 7 times bigger than his girlfriend came at me as well, and ran up my legs and grabbed my shirt and ripped it wide open (It has snaps, not buttons) and he kinda hung there in front of me baring his teeth and I’m thinkin this might be the end of my holiday, but I turned my hand to put the strawberries out of his reach and whispered “Sit!” at him and he climbed down and sat in front of me. He was still holding my shirt, but when he let go and put his arms down I handed him a strawberry, which he took and ate. We shared a couple of more berries, but I decided maybe I should go, and maybe I shouldn’t feed the monkeys anymore.
March 29th, 2009 (again)
I ate at the Shisha Cafe tonight and listened to the band there (the Classic Rock One) They’re all Nepalis and they play really well. Hendrix, Doors, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Creedence Clearwater Revival, kinda my 60’s rock playlist on my iPod. They did a really great version of “Hey Joe!” I’m back in my hotel room and there’s a guitar and tabla duo playing in the New Orleans Café. For a while the two sounds were overlapping, but the tabla guitar stuff (female singer, blues) is really goo as well. This place really caters to the old hippies I guess. There was a big thunderstorm and the Classic Rock Band almost got soaked, but they managed to put up the walls arounf the covered rooftop terrace before they electrocuted themselves. That’s it. Probably won’t be writing anything until I get into Addis now…
March 30th, 2009
Last day in Katmandu. The plane leaves at 11AM so it's not too onerous. I have to there by 9:00. I am quite ill, but at the moment, I feel pretty good cause I bought some antibiotics (not kicked in) and took a 292 (kicked in). Also I had a hot shower not exactly hot, but not cold at any rate. The Post Office was absolutely painless. The parcel department there sews up the parcel and mails it and everything. So it was lucky the cargo place was closed yesterday. Probably saved me a bundle. Still it was 3,452 Rupees which seemed like a lot, but translating, it was about $45 USD. I was feeling quite ill and it took me a while to get back. I shoulda taken a codeine 292 earlier I think. I got back to the hotel and crashed out till now (about 16:00), and as the power is out and the server I was logging into is now locked, I'm in the New Orleans Cafe having butter chicken masala. It's a bit spicy for me, especially due to my illness. It feels like I have bronchitis, which is not surprising considering the pollution here.
I don't know if I mentioned it before, but the pollution in Indian and Nepalese cities is horrendous. Somebody should invent a scooter that's smog-free. An plastic. Plastic bottles are strewn everywhere I go since I came here. Same on Socotra. A perfectly beautiful island til you look down at your feet. now they've found noxious substances in clear plastic bottles, I think its time to think of something else. Maybe cardboard. Then the goats will have something to eat.
I walked by Cappy's square, but he was up on the roof of a temple, held at bay by a flower-bedecked dog. Turns out the dog belongs to the kid who threw the rock at Cappy the other day. And he carries the dog on his back like a furry back pack. Big turf war in Durbar Square! Last entry until Ethiopia (I think).