While at breakfast, the waiter came to clear our table and from out of nowhere 2 street urchins appeared and started hoovering up all the left overs. By the looks of things this was a regular occurrence. The waiter seemed to have dealt with these boys before and, because he was only going to throw the food away, he showed willing to remove them but actually let them help themselves.
Today was a free day so a lot of the other guests went for a massage conducted by blind people or deaf mutes. Disabled massages seem to be popular over here as a way to employ them. I decided to do a bit of shopping and get some North Face stuff.
Bumped into Mary and Babs who were going to go to the Gurkha museum after they called the bank. That sounded a lot more interesting than shopping so I asked if I could tag along. Natwest kept cancelling Mary's credit cards in spite of her telling them she was coming to Nepal weeks ago. She spent half an hour on the phone and I spent the time in the internet cafe clearing my inbox and doing a few work tasks. They had a coffee while I finished up and joined them after.
We enquired about the best way to get to the Gurkha museum. Surprisingly, the simplest way is to get a taxi to the museum, get the taxi man to hang around for an hour outside then take us back. After a bit of haggling we agreed a price of 600rs (£6)!!!
The museum was great, I could have easily spent another 3 hours in there but we had agreed the time with the taxi man and didn't want to pay any more. The museum charted how the Gurkha's became associated with the British Army from defending the East India Company through to the modern day. There were a large number of citations of acts of valour and accounts of medal wins by Gurkha soldiers. On the 3rd floor there was an impressive collection of photographs and uniforms capturing the growing importance of the Gurkha regiment in the British Army.
Time was ticking and Babs and Mary had to get back for their massage. Babs knee cap had slipped off while getting off the elephants so I suggested to her that instead of suffering in silence, she get the holiday insurance people involved. When my ex-gf twisted her knee skiing the insurance company sorted out seats on the plane and wheelchairs through the airport. Pabi helped organise a doctor to come to the hotel and check her out. Insurance was called too and now Babs was much happier about the pending journey home. Jon took her place at the massage and I went for a wander with Ali.
Walked up the strip and tried on a few North Fake rain coats. The price seemed to be very changeable between shops but eventually I found one I liked. The shopkeeper told me it was a fake but assured me that it was made from off-cuts and similar materials. I didn't believe a word of it but the jacket felt comfortable and I like the colour. Did a bit of haggling and I was quite pleased as I got it down from 2000rs to 1700rs.
It was beer o'clock so Ali and I followed the edge of the lake all the way around until we came to the boats crossing over to the island. We enquired about the fare and it was only 300rs for a return trip. It seemed okay, so we asked if we could get a drink when we were there. The ticket man said the only thing on the island was a temple. After an extremely short conversation with my Scottish companion, we decided that we had seen enough temples and beer o'clock was fast approaching.
We carried on following the lakes edge and came upon a river people-carrier. It was a cage on tires that transported 10 people 50 meters over to (another) island with a posh hotel on it. We found out that the 10 people limit actually meant 10 Americans so it wouldn't cause offence. Americans were out of season so it was taking 20 "normal" people each way. The covered platform was powered by a man in the middle pulling a rope to drag it through the water.
While on the people-carrier, I got talking to a man who ran Guy's Trust, a charity that was building a school in the local area. He had the help of Action Aid and that day they had been sourcing the bricks. The man said that Guy was his son who died in a par-ascending accident a couple of years ago. Ironically the previous conversation I had just had with Ali before getting on the platform was about how he had broken is back twice in par-ascending accidents and his doctor refused to help him if it happened again.
Ali and I sat in the outdoor hotel bar overlooking the lake. It was really nice apart from the tree above us was shedding its seeds so we had to put napkins over our drinks. Sat there for a bowl of chips and a natter. Over heard one of the ignorant guests saying that rape was just a case of a man scratching an itch. I was going to set him straight but the other members of his party beat me to it.
I was a little worried about being trapped on the island with the first hotel swimming pool we had come across but the waiter assured me it was a 24-hour crossing service. Finished up and meandered back to the hotel.
In the evening we went to a restaurant which had some traditional Indian dancing going on. The downstairs was full so we were seated upstairs were we couldn't see any of it! Fillet steak was on the menu and it was beef steak not "buff" so we all went for that. Rob described how he wanted the steak cooked and asked for chips as well. Nik was clever and asked what the steak came with and just ordered the steak. We all had what Nik had and described how we wanted it cooked. Over an hour later 4 sizzling steaks came out all cooked exactly the same and Rob had an extra plate of chips which took us a while to figure out where it had come from.
Tired after eating we went for a night cap at the "Amsterdam" bar where we watched a Nepali covers band sing Guns'n'Roses and other assorted rock tunes. They were a bit hit and miss but there heart was in the right place. We tried the local whisky called Signature. Steve had been banging on about it each time we went into a super market. It was a bit rough but drinkable and cheaper than an imported whisky. When the band finished it was time for bed!