Woke up at 2am, but didn't have any problem getting back to sleep. Slept all the way to 9am when I showered and went down for breakfast. Chopped melon with yoghurt, a croissant, a boiled egg and a coffee.
At 10.30 met up with the other new arrivals and headed into Kathmandu. Steve showed us some nice places to eat, where the palace was and the Garden of Dreams. All 10 of us went to Pilgrims, a book shop that backed onto a coffee shop. Most of us had lime juice with soda water, very refreshing. Afterwards Steve and Pabi left and we were on our own.
Rob and I thought that the Garden of Dreams looked nice so we went there. It was an old colonial building that had been neglected and vandalise when the king left. The city had been restoring it over the last couple of years and it was lovely. They had repaired all the plaster garden furniture and buildings and were now working on part of the grass around the main pagoda. There were several water installations including cascading water features and goldfish ponds. It looked like a place where couples go as it was very quiet compared to the hustle and bustle behind the walls.
I sat in the bar and chatted to a Canadian girl who had already been hear for 2 weeks and was leaving in a few days. I had lime yoghurt cake and a coke which came to 435rs - a bit pricey but I think they are trying to fully restore the gardens.
Rob and I decided to walk back but got a bit lost. We ended up walking through a very deprived area, which in the story telling that followed we nicknamed The Shades. Derelict buildings and poverty everywhere but it wasn't intimidating or scary at all.
At the beginning of the holiday I suffered with cow blindness. I could not see the large groups of cows standing in the middle of the road, Rob had to point them out. We joked that my mind couldn't believe there was a huge herd of cows in the middle of town with cars overtaking, undertaking them and in some cases driving into them.
If you kill a cow you get 12 years in prison so they roamed free in the towns. The locals just let them do whatever they want.
We eventually hit the holly Bagmati River and followed it back to our bridge. To say the river was a bit dirty would be a massive understatement. Open sewers ran into the river and it was full of rubbish and it stunk to high heaven. It was a shame really because it would have been quite nice.
We passed a place of worship and popped in for a look. It stunk too! There appeared to be a load of men in the back sitting around doing nothing. There was rotting food laid out on the floor and areas where things had been burned. Big things! Maybe even people. It wasn't particularly nice.
Eventually made it back to the hotel and sat on the roof garden with the others while they sunbathed and read.
Everyone had arrived but the holiday didn't officially start until tomorrow. Steve took us out to a climber's restaurant called Rum Doodle.
Pabi sorted out 2 taxies to take us all over to the restaurant and agreed a price with them. One of the taxi drivers tried to change the price when we arrived. It was quite a shock to see Pabi taking him down (verbally). Cute as a button but don't try and pull one over on her.
The restaurant was named after a book called The Ascent of Rum Doodle which was a short 1956 novel by W. E. Bowman (1911–1985) that parodied non-fictional chronicles of mountaineering expeditions in the 20s and 30s. A couple of the people of the group bought the book and spent the next couple of days chuckling from behind its covers.
Each climbing expedition that came to the Himalayas ate here at the end of their visit. They all wrote the names on a foot which hung from the ceiling. While we were there we were blest with a visit from Carina Räihä who was the first Finnish woman to ascend Mount Everest.
We had been drinking Rum Doodle cocktails all night and weren't used to the increased altitude so when Steve offered to show us some of the night life, everyone just wanted to go to bed!
Photos on my FaceBook page.