going Kathmandu (p24) - the square & the hunger games ..
|durbar square, kathmandu|
the streets of Thamel suprisingly almost empty. most of the shops were closed, and the symphony of honking games almost non-existence. we arrived at our hotel and then checked in to our room. Mr.G left us, before we could ask him about tomorrow's arrangement i.e. airport transfer.
it was lunch time already. after got back our luggage that we left before, pray etc. we went out searching for lunch. we stopped at the lobby, asking about the opticians, but the counter guys seemed clueless and told us that today most of the shops were closing early for the last day of Diwali celebration.
we went out, and walking towards Anatolia, the only halal restaurant in Thamel. honestly, again the empty street of Thamel seemed magical to us. less honking etc. and we felt at ease when strolling around.
our hunger games began.
after half an hour of walking, we arrived at Anatolia, and it was closed. there was a european couple and another group of malaysians who were plan to eat there too, and disappointed to know it was closed.we made our back to Thamel's main area, and decided to go with vegetarian meals at any decent eateries.
luck was not on us, few that opened already swarmed with tourists. it was either to wait or looking for the next available. we could see the stressful face and disappointment of others that like us. the odds still not with us!
we kept walking, and saw another restaurant and went to look at the menu. the guy, probably the guard there, gave us a look and then mumbled something in nepalese. not so friendly. we decided to leave the place. we walked towards our hotel, hoping the fish and chips restaurant next to the hotel still opened, but it was about to close by the time we arrive. no more customer accepted.
we saw people in the cafe in front of the hotel, and decided to give a try. ah... luckily, there was empty table for us. but the place seemed in a bit in mess, because there was only a few staff working and handling the orders etc. we could only order things in the menu (as expected), and when i asked to add plain omelette to my veggie fried rice, the waiter firmly said NO, you can't. we had to bear with the situation. it was the only place now that accepted us.
the taste was edible only with the addition of the ketchup, salt and pepper. and we were hungry. all the placebo, seemed worked on us. we saw few groups coming while we were eating, and i could hear the sighs they had as they were in the games too...the hunger games of Thamel in Diwali.
we left the restaurant after settled the bill, and went back to our room. resting, while i was figuring out on the plan for the rest of the day and tomorrow morning. friend already losing the connection as drowning in his social media world, once he was connected to the wifi.
there are 3 Durbar Squares in Kathmandu Valley, where all are gazetted as Unesco sites, if not mistaken. i felt that we still have time to cover at least one the square, and looking at my nokia map, the closest one was the Kathmandu City Durbar Square.
the staff at the lobby told us, the place is just a strolled away - turn left and then right and then go straight, then you reach the square. i didn't feel that confident as we had problem last time when following the instruction from them while looking for Anatolia. this time we decided to follow my GPS on my lumia. and it pointed that the square was not that far.
we strolled along the empty street of Thamel and made turns at the junctions proposed etc., and honestly...like what we used to say ' sesat baratttttt!!!!'. yeap we were lost...probably because we were not that confident with the street proposed by the GPS, and always had second guess and thought etc. everything seemed haywire.
we were at this t junction, in front of a building that looked like a market as we saw people selling things etc. in front it..and we went crazy for a while as the GPS instruction seemed ambiguous i.e. which junction to take?we took one junction and then walked, but then the GPS suddenly re-routing and we had to went back to the centre of the junction. we tried again..and it got wrong again...until the last try. i don't recall how long we had been walking, but for sure, we were almost gave up!
btw. it was almost 5pm already, and the people of kathmandu went out back, some shops opened back etc. as they done with the 'Bhai Tika' ceremony. we walked along the street, and finally saw the 'light at the end of the tunnel'. hahaha. i mean we saw the area at the end of the street, busy with people walking around, saw some buildings etc., and was a bit confident, that was the square!
we were right. and we finally arrived at the famous Kathmandu City Durbar Square. the entrance fee for the place was 750 rupee per person, but we were late already, and unable to enter the museums within the square. somehow, i saw people just passing (sneaking) around, without having to pay anything etc. and i was wondering..were we been fooled by the guard? but as i checked on the net, to be safe, it is better to buy the tickets and the guards happen to come and check the tickets etc.
the place was literally bustling with locals, tourists, and some parts with vehicles etc. and even cows. i found it funny to see how excited the japanese tourists taking pictures with the calf that was lingering around the square. anyway, just like at the P-temple, the place was smelly!
honestly, i didn't feel the magic moment of being there. probably because i don't like crowded and smelly places. the calmness and coolness being at that place, that i saw in the camel-adventure advertisement did not pop up. may be, i should have come in the early morning, so that i could have the place all to myself, for photography, particularly. i saw Sadu wandering around, and the tourists trying hard to make the postcard pictures of the moment etc. , and then being yelled by the local teenagers as he thought we were videographing him etc.
we decided to leave the place, as it'd be dark soon, and we plan to walk back instead of taking the cab. friend said confidently he remembered the way back, and i followed his lead, until we reach a place where we didn't feel like been there before. we were lost again!..and to my surprise we gotta to depends on the GPS again, to route us the way back...
we arrived at our hotel after dark, finally. we went back to the room and then freshen up ourselves, jama' pray and rest for a while before went out again for the dinner. before we left the hotel, we asked the staff to call Anatolia, to check whether it is opened or not. but no answer. we decided to gamble again this time and only to know that we had to turn back as we saw the signboard of the restaurant was not blinking with light - it was closed. and mind you that i was walking with my sunglasses on. i felt so diva-artis-tak hengat, wearing sunglasses in the night. we made few stops at the trekking gear shops as friend was planning to buy shoes, but none good enough.
#keempunan nak makan beriani!
ok. same like in the afternoon, it happened that not much restaurants opened for dinner and we had another 'hunger games' moment again. we made a stop again at the restaurant that we encounter the local-guard that mumbled to us in nepalese, and this time as we stopped to look at the menu, he was rudely closing the book and took it, and then sort of yelled to us while pointing at the restaurant that was already turned to a pub/disco or what during night time. phew...
#dia bajet aku neh orang local yg tade duet ke? eat my foot la
we walked towards our hotel, hoping to find another place to eat, and finally saw this Curry House and decided to try. the place was big, and there was empty table, despite it was almost full. and it was among the worst decision that we had made. we had to wait for ages (i lost count on the time), and saw people ordered and then left the place etc. as waited too long. i had to call the waiter few times to remind us on our order..and even the drink was not served earlier.the food - tuna curry and sweet and sour vegie, plain omelette etc. , tasted bland...but eaten because we were hungry.
we were about to reach our hotel, and then i saw the embroidered tote bags displayed in front of one of the shops there. we were greeted by a young man that told us he could give a good price for us. i took a peek inside the shop and saw somebody was praying, and asked him whether he is muslim, and he was delighted to note that we were muslim brothers from malaysia. i couldn't do shopping with my sunglasses on me during night time, hence i told him that we'd be back on the next day.
we went back to our room and re-pack our luggage back etc. and then bid farewell for the night.