Wednesday 29 March 2017
After going to bed around midnight after finishing my blog, I was woken up by an insistent rhythmic tapping at around 6.30am. This was punctuated by some other louder bangs from time to time and sounds of men talking. My room is right at the front on the ground floor and I have a set of four floor to ceiling windows, with single pane glass (missing my triple glazing already!), so assumed it was the guest house staff setting up for breakfast and it would stop soon. It didn’t so I eventually got up and as I went to breakfast I looked up and saw that there is a building site next door. Note to self: try to go to bed earlier if I want to get more sleep!
There were two friendly-looking ladies having breakfast when I arrived and after a while we got talking. As they’d been here a few days longer than me they gave me some tips on what to see and do, and once I’d got a map from the nice man at reception I decided to visit Pashupatinath Temple. The temple is located on both banks of Bagmati River and is where Hindu’s go when they are about to die. When they do die they get cremated on the bank of the river and then their ashes float down the river – which eventually flows into the mighty Ganges.
Ha to everyone who laughs at me for taking my umbrella on every holiday I go on! As well as the banging, I’d woken up with the familiar sound of rain and was very glad I had my waterproof jacket and umbrella. After deliberating for absolutely ages which muddy track I should go down from the main road, I successfully navigated my way to the temple and paid my 1,000 rupees to go in (about $US 10). Unfortunately only Hindus are allowed in the temple and, as I’d politely told the man who wanted to be my guide I wanted to wander about by myself, I wasn’t really sure where I was allowed to go! Luckily I bumped into a French-Canadian lady and we found our way around together.
It so happened that a ceremony was going on at the time. Watching from the opposite bank of the river it was upsetting to hear the wife (I presumed) of the deceased wailing and being helped to walk back up from the river bank, and seeing the body under an orange sheet with his bare feet sticking out. It’s said that if you die in this particular temple you are reborn as a human, so I hope whoever it was has now been reincarnated as a baby to continue the circle of life.
When I got my Yellow Fever jab I was advised to get the Rabies one too as the nurse was particularly worried about me getting bitten by a rabid dog in Kathmandu. Well, there are many, many stray dogs here but they are lovely and I want to pet them! They are mostly big dogs, Labrador size, but they either stand there, tails wagging, and watch the world go by or lie curled up in random places. I’m not sure what happens at night though, I think they play a game of ‘who can bark the loudest for longest’ because every so often a bout of barking breaks out, usually just when you’re trying to sleep … anyway, the reason I’m mentioning this is because it’s the monkeys you have to look out for and they can also have rabies.
After setting out mid-morning and then after the deliberating and walking there it was about mid-day, and then after wandering around it was probably after 2pm by the time we had finished. There were lots of monkeys around this temple but all was calm. I had a banana in my bag and as I was out of the Temple on the main road, on the other side of the river where the monkeys were, being a bit peckish I got it out and began to un-peel it. Out of nowhere this monkey materialised and jumped me, climbing up my body and clawing at my hand! I instinctively shook my arm and dropped the banana, at which point the monkey jumped off, snatched up the banana and proceeded to eat it. All this happened in a split second so it was over before I knew it. I had felt the monkeys claw on the palm of my hand, but as I had my waterproof on this luckily saved me so no skin was broken. A narrow escape and a lesson learned the hard way – do not eat if there are monkeys in the vicinity!!
I found my way back to the Guest House for lunch and got ready, as I was getting a taxi over to the Summit Hotel (where I will be moving to on Saturday) to meet some of the trekking group for dinner.