In the middle of our trip we visited Kathmandu. It's the largest city in Nepal with approximately one million people. When we visited, the city was fairly stable and safe. We were worried as there have been some unrest there in the past. But, there were still some issues. The biggest of which was the landfill/garbage problem that the city faced. As I understood it from talking with locals, an adjacent city that had the landfill for Kathmandu and the surrounding areas was so overrun with garbage that they blocked garbage trucks from Kathmandu from dumping garbage in their landfill. Therefore, the city wasn't able to pick up the garbage from the streets of Kathmandu, and it just began to pile up. In the middle of the streets. It was quite a sight (and smell.) Check out the rest of the pictures to see what I'm talking about, and to also see that there's beauty beyond this.
Sejin had a few words to say about this place too:
It was funny to see many souvenirs with 'Nepal's Himalayas' written on them on the streets in Nepal and 'Tibet's Himalayas' written on them all over the Tibet. So, who's Himalayas is the best? Kathmandu is becoming like Pahaarganj in Delhi which means busy narrow streets with lots of shops for foreign travelers. We had to haggle for the best price for everything and deal with the taxi drivers who don't want to drive you. The central Kathmandu where young people can date and old people can smoke and meet friends is just as dark as a cave and we couldn't see any of the people pass by but could smell them and touch them. I had to hold the tip of Sebastien's clothes so that I won't get lost among the thousands of people in the dark.
Bhaktapur is in Nepal too but the closer we get to India, the more Nepal lost its beauty; such is the case with Kathmandu. I remember there was a little girl with her mom on a street close to the American Embassy and we happened to walked by them a few times to find an ATM on a hot day. The little girl tugged on Sebastien's shorts and blocked his way in an attempt to get some money. She might have done that so many times and knew that foreigners like to ignore that they are there. So by experience she became bolder. But at the end, she didn't know someone could step on her toe if she interrups ones way which Sebastien did, by accident. I understand that begging is the way that they can servive. It's a pity and it's unfair that the little girl has no choice but to follow her mom's passage and I'm thinking where is the Human Rights for these people?
One of my favourite parts of this city was visit Swayambhunath (also known as The Monkey Temple) on the top of a large hill in the centre of the city. Aside from the wonderful view, and the aged relics, the temple was crowded with pigeons, dogs, and of course, monkeys. I love photographing these animals wandering around and interacting with the patrons giving them grains and other food. So fun! Sejin, on the other hand, doesn't like pigeons all that much, so she wasn't having nearly as much fun... Haha. Here's another note from Sejin about the local perception of this temple and it's monks.
I remember a conversation with a young taxi driver on the way to the Monkey Temple. He was thinking the monks are lazy bums who only gets money by just sitting in a house and not doing any productive work. He was very pissed that monks are sucking up the people's money all day long, every year, every decade.
I took this video of the monkeys interacting with each other on the steps to the monkey temple, and Sejin posted it on her YouTube account a few months ago.
On our last day we took a bus from Kathmandu to the Nepal/India border. It took about 9 hours total, including two stops for food. At one of the stops, I snapped a shot of this little snail working hard to get to the top of this plant. He made it, don't worry.
As always, if you would like to see the other photos from this trip, please see the album posted on Facebook. Take care for now!Sub