05 April, 2010

Bhaktapur

I went to Bhaktapur, “Located about 3 miles east of Kathmandu in the Kathmandu Valley, Bhaktapur is known as the 'City of Devotees', the 'City of Culture', the 'Living Heritage', and 'Nepal's Cultural Gem'. It is one of the 3 royal cities in the Kathmandu Valley.” http://www.bhaktapur.com/ I went with a wonderful Indian man (J) from the UK; an Icelander and my “guide”(L) a girl from Germany/Venzuela. Between the 4 of us we covered 6 countries and about 9 languages. We took a taxi after negotiating a good price; the norm here as they don’t use the actual meter instead prefer to haggle over a good price. It’s a must to find out from a local how much to pay to get from point A to point B before approaching the driver. For instance, they may say 500 rupees when in reality you can talk them down to 200 or less.

In Bhaktapur, the Icelander wanted to really know the logistics of the ancient city for the next book he is writing; so J, L and I went off on our own to see the sights. We walked for a couple hours, had a snack and then proceeded to look at all the shops. I had no intention on buying anything until we went into a the elder gentleman running it caught our eye. So many times it’s not necessarily the item but the owner that draws me into a place. L who picked up Nepalese in the 2 months that she has been here proceeded to haggle with him over the price of a necklace that I wanted. We all cracked up (him at a “foreigner” speaking Nepalese; L at his stubbornness in price; and me at the whole situation). We ended up with 4 necklaces and a pair of earrings for 1100 rupees (about $15). I’m not sure what I’ll do without L when she leaves!

Bhaktapur is known for their wood carving and it shows in the intricate temples, doorways, windows and architecture.

Of course like any other place, there is the run-down (rich/poor) mixed together. That is what makes a place "a place"...beauty is in the eye of the beholder.


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