Next to the Square there is Kumari temple. It is a local living goddess. Kumari is chosen from the girls of a special caste – jewellers. This girl will be a goddess till the first big blood loss. There is an interesting legend saying about one of the possible ways of Kumari tradition appearance. According to this legend, one of the kings was a pedophile and he liked a little girl. As a result of his pressing ‘addresses’ the girl died. And then the king introduced the practice of the little girl’s revival by proclaiming her a living goddess.
The next day we went to Bodhnath – the biggest Buddhist stupa in Nepal and one of the biggest in the world. The area joining Bodhnath is the place of living of Tibet refugees. Besides, there are a lot of Buddhist monasteries.
We’d spent plenty of time on shopping. Masha, for instance, had to try on lots of saris which Dima wanted to buy as a present for his sister. We’d spent much time choosing the equipment which we couldn’t buy in Kazakhstan. The first impression was admiration at impossible low prices for perfect goods. The second impression (after the equipment’s usage in the mountains) – the prices are corresponding to the quality. There are great many local falsifications. The most wide spread forgery brand is The North Face.
In the evening before going to the mountains we went to ‘Les Yeux’ to smoke hookah. Even I, a non-smoker, liked it, tobacco with cappuccino flavour and warm atmosphere of the restaurant… It was so nice, that there appeared a series of photos ‘How wonderful Tamel’s night street through smoked with hookah eyes’.
One more type of Nepal ’s visitors is presented with the people coming there for the search of wisdom and it doesn’t matter how it is expressed. We met such a person in the supermarket. His name is Sergey. Having spent some time in Osho’s ashram, he was going to make a tour round Annapurna. In the end of our journey we met an odd couple from Moscow who got settled in Nepal. They publish Osho’s literature in Russian. Most of the time they live in the ashram near Kathmandu and periodically visit Moscow.
There was one more type of Kathmandu ’s visitors, and it was the most numerous. You could meet there people hooked on extreme.
For example, Roma from St.Petersburgh had not been at home during 6 years. During his absence his flat was taken from him. But I think Roma does not care. He had crossed the whole East on his bike. Some time ago he got into an accident and hurt his leg. He had taken several courses of antibiotics, all in vain, and now there was a threat of amputation. And instead of hurrying to the hospital Roma made plans of going to Tibet to some lake that he could not visit last time. And I think he’ll get there as he has nothing to lose.
Roma’s fellow traveller is Englishman John with a sun burnt nose and crazy eyes due to constant hashish consumption. He crossed the whole East, too, and the evidence to it is that he used to have a wife in Mongolia.
The Nepalis themselves are not able to keep such a playful way of life. We met one of them thanks to Masha. Kiran, besides being the chief cameraman and deputy director in Nepal television, was a talented photographer. One could watch his huge photos of Nepal in all its variety for hours. Also he showed us a collection of cameras, beginning with the rare ones which belonged to his father and grandfather. They were court photographers so was Kiran.
In New Road area there is a nice place where Masha brought us. It is ‘Chharpro’ cafe, where you can taste newari cuisine (newars is the local people in Kathmandu valley). But the salt of this place for Russians is not only in the cuisine but in the fact that one can hear there DDT or Grebenshchikov’s songs. The owner’s brother had studied several years in St.Petersburgh and fell in love with Russian rock music.
On the whole, I didn’t have any difficulties in the way of music. Apparently, the western influence has mixed with Nepalese traditions so much, that I had not heard in the streets anything but good rock and pleasant Nepalese music. But you can’t say it about the buses where they play something like Indian songs.
As for me, I don’t like to bargain. But in Nepal this action is so deeply connected with adrenaline and passion that even hazard people can’t imagine it. The main thing is to speak decidedly that it is your last price and if the seller does not like it, it is not your problem. And then one should go with an indifferent air. But don’t go away, just walk around the block. Some time later the seller will come up again and the bargain will be continued. My own record in bargain made 40 minutes and it made the price more than 5 times lower.
As for the people we met in Kathmandu, there were the Russians from Latvia, Pasha and Yulia who made our journey more amazing. Sunburnt and weather-beaten faces of our new friends spoke for themselves. It was clear that we met natural travellers. We agreed to go together round Annapurna at once.
We could listen to them for hours. The stories about their joined or separate journeys agitated imagination and made us understand that we were more like just health-resort visitors in comparison with them. They had travelled in Europe and Asia, Caucasians mountains and Sayan, on foot and by bikes, by an inflatable boat to Athlantic…They got to Kathmandu after they had crossed Mongolia, China (its Tibet part) by bikes and were about getting to India. It took them 3 months to travel in vast deserts and mountains and as their visas’d expired, their vessels were taken away and they had to become pedestrians again.
By this ‘lucky’ accident we met in an Kathmandu Internet cafe. Though with all those great concentration of interesting people that made a special aura of magnetic journeys, the meeting with this couple could not be accidental. There are some places in the world where all fortune hunters must meet.