Kathmandu – Funky Buddha Bar

Incepand de azi, in fiecare duminica, facem inconjurul lumii aici pe blog. In fiecare saptamana voi povesti despre alt loc, oras sau tara. Saptamana care urmeaza voi posta pe profilul meu de Facebook imagini din destinatia despre care vorbesc. Sa o intelegeti mai bine. Ne distram.


Bun venit!

Bun venit!

N-am auzit pe nimeni sa-si doreasca o vacanta fabuloasa in Kathmandu. In Nepal, da, pentru ca aici sunt cei mai inalti munti din lume, se face rafting de inalta clasa si de aici se ajunge cel mai usor in Tibet. Dar nu in Kathmandu. Turistii ca noi folosesc Kathamandu-ul ca loc de tranzit – inspre majoritatea atractiilor despre care tocmai am pomenit. Dar o data ce ajungem sa petrecem doua- trei zile acolo ne dam seama ca de fapt este un paradis. Paradisul din tranzit.

Un scriitor american, Jeff Greenwald, spunea in cartea sa “Shopping for Buddhas” ca in Kathmandu timpul are o alta dimensiune, se dilata si parca poti sa faci orice iti trece prin cap in orice moment. Si are mare dreptate: in Kathmandu te trezesti, poti sari peste micul dejun de la hotel care, oricum, nu e nu stiu ce, poti bea un espresso adevarat la Pumpernickel, alaturi de biscuti cu unt de arahide de la Mike’s Breakfast si sa termini cartea care aseara ti-a cazut din mana pentru ca ai adormit. Poti pe urma sa-ti faci linistit programul acelei zile: oricat de multe ai inghesui pana la lasarea serii cu siguranta reusesti sa le dai de capat.

Si ce poti face intr-o zi in Kathmandu? (more…)



To keep the monkeys away

Somehow with a six month delay, Jennifer Lopez’s “On the Floor” seems to be the power play this side of Himalaya. Good. Second day in Nepal went smooth. Extended visit to Durbar square – Kumari didn’t show her face at the window as it was a holiday during which she’s suppose to stay hidden – and lots of photo opps. Saddhus (of course I paid them), beggars, temples, colors, pidgins, meat and vegetables for sale, mandalas, ladies neatly dressed in safaris and ricksha drivers, all popped up in front of my camera lenses.

Trinkets in Durbar

I am a foreigner

Looking for some drinks in Durbar


Had lunch at a Thai restaurant (tasty phad thai) and went back to the hotel. Done my jeans as I chickened out at the last minute about the monkeys at the temple and made my way, by bus, to Swayambunath together with the rest of the group.

The main stupa at Swayambunath. The top of it

At 3 in the afternoon when we got there the monkeys were surprisingly sedated. Probably taking their afternoon nap. The monastery itself never ceases to amaze anyone. It’s a puzzle of big and small stupas with a nice assortment of museums, altars and cafes. And restaurants with great rooftop views. A quaint mix of holiness and commercialism. Damn you, capitalism. A girl in our group developed a passion for dogs and monks. Buddhist monks. So she only photographed the two. I suggested she named the Facebook album when she would eventually upload the photos – “Of monks and dogs” . She said she would do so.

For sale, for sale

Where's mummy?

Had a ginger tea on a rooftop at the monasteries and started our way down to Thamel on foot. Traffic in Katmandu manic as usual. In the middle of all the chaos some kids were swaying on a swing hang on a huge tree hunched over the street. Got photos to prove it.

Beer anyone?

Chiken breast! Nevermind the stench.

Dinner was a simple affair of huge portions of Tibetan food at a restaurant called Nepali Kitchen. And a San Miguel beer.

What I learned from today’s experience? That people love Kathmandu even if it’s dirty, polluted and it stinks. Because it’s colorful, lively and has a certain vibe.

While I write this post JLo played ten songs ago. Five songs ago again and now it’s four songs up and after another one “On the Floor” will hit me again. I hope that wasn’t too confusing. Fact is there’s a club just downstairs from my hotel window where the party goes on well into the night.

The flowers of KTM

And about the title of this entry: nothing special. I saw it on a poster advertising a jazz festival in the capital and I thought it sounded cool.


Suddenly Kathmandu

I would rename Doha International Airport – Doha Central Bus Station. Because they shuttle you between planes and terminals in tons of buses on seemingly never-ending distances. Not fun… only if you thrive on the thrill of always being on the verge of missing your connection. Otherwise, getting from Bucharest to Kathmandu seems such a breeze now that Qatar Airways connects the two cities in less than 10 hours with a stop over in the above mentioned bus station.

Where them touts at?

I found Kathmandu different. Less of that happy hippy glare to it as years go by. Unchanged was the slowness of the passport control/visa on arrival people who never stop to amaze me (and thick rows of other tourists) with their inadequacy for the job. Certainly the airport has been modernized since my last visit three years ago. But the touts outside were few and traffic on the way to Thamel really tamed. The fact that it was a Saturday morning maybe helped. Still it was the beginning of the high season and I counted no less than four just arrived planes at Tribhuvan.

Looking good

Towards Thamel

Restaurant with cabin?

And to fast forward it a bit: left the luggage at the hotel, went out for daal bhat and a white coffee, back at the hotel, shower and some two hours of rest. I’m back in Kathmandu expecting nothing. That’s just a strategy of mine thinking that when you don’t expect anything, surprising things happen. Namaste!

Ex-royal palace

Thamel, everyone


Later the same day

Slept the whole afternoon only to be brutally woken up by the guy from the agency who called my room to remind me of the official Nepali Traditional Dinner. Food was diversified, bad and little spiced but went perfectly with the lack of enthusiasm the dancers and singers in charge with entertainment displayed. Everest beer though was exactly how I remembered it. The first taste always makes me think that this beer is made with sour water.

On my way to the hotel I looked for some photocopied editions of Lonely Planet guide books. No luck – they say they don’t sell photo copies in Nepal. Anymore, I think. In Cambodia and Vietnam they are a big business, here you can find only original copies at original high prices.

In Thamel the bars were all there, The Bamboo, Tom and Jerry, Le Bistro, Sam’s Pub, Irish Pub. Tourists were few and by 9 o’clock shops were closing. Tour of the city tomorrow and my biggest dilemma tonight is should I or shouldn’t I wear shorts tomorrow in case we visit Swayambounath and the monkeys are in a playful mood.

Some guys from the group had their luggage lost by the airline. Still no sign of them but here’s hoping for tomorrow. I’ve been in that situation many times and not always I got it back. Damn you, Alitalia.

Always a pleasure watching Asian channels in my hotel room before the internal clock tells me it’s time to sleep in my country.

Morning update

Great breakfast at hotel Vaishali. Glorious sunny day. Re-reading the above… I must have been in a pretty bad mood yesterday after the sleepless night on the plane. Wearing shorts for the temple, folks. More photos when the internet connection allows it.

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