Thursday, January 24: On this, my last day in Kathmandu, I decide I will just wander around the streets of Thamel and do some shopping, have a nice lunch, check out the bookstore, take pictures, and top the day off with a traditional dinner and entertainment.
First I start with a meditative moment in the courtyard of Kathmandu Guest House.
As I walk out to the street from Kathmandu Guest House, I meet this kind young man who wants me to hire his rickshaw for a little tour. I tell him I will meet him here in about two hours.
I can do a lot of damage shopping for 2 hours. I buy a couple of beautiful necklaces, two yak wool blankets, a paper lantern, a colorful embroidered bag, and a bunch of books including Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda (which the Indian guy I met last night highly recommended to me), The Guru of Love, Royal Ghosts and Arresting God in Kathmandu, all by Samrat Upadhyay, and a Buddhist Chanting CD. Luckily I bought that backpack in Pokhara so I can carry all this loot home. 🙂
I do some more wandering around before the designated meeting time for the rickshaw tour. This is what I see.
Finally I meet my rickshaw driver and he takes me outside of Thamel to where the real Nepalis live and work. Thamel is quite “done up” compared to the rest of Kathmandu because it’s a tourist area. The rest of Kathmandu is more chaotic and quite a bit more ratty.
After our little tour, I grab a lunch of momos and fresh banana juice at The Roadhouse Cafe.
Finally I go back to my room and take a rest for a bit. I have now started reading Arresting God in Kathmandu, a book of short stories by Nepali writer Samrat Upadhyay. This is more appropriate for Nepal than the other book I’ve been occupied with this entire trip, What I Loved by Siri Hustvedt. I finished this book yesterday evening.
I decide to go out to Thamel House, an old townhouse with a covered patio garden that serves traditional Nepali and Newari food. I order the full course vegetarian set. The fixed price meal includes the following:
Alu Tareko (Potato fried and prepared in traditional way)
Momo (steamed dumpling with minced vegetables)
Suruwa (soup ~ typical Nepali soup)
Sada Bhuja (plain boiled Basmati rice)
Kalo Dal (lentil prepared in iron pot with heated purified butter, garnished with herbs)
Mis Mas Tarkari (seasonal mixed vegetables cooked in local style)
Alu Tama Bodi (fermented bamboo shoot, beans & potato unique flavored and sourly in taste)
Paneer ko Tarkari (cottage cheese cooked in a special way)
Chyau ko Tarkari (mushroom curry cooked in a traditional way)
Saag (Seasonal fresh green leaves boiled and sautéed with spices)
Shikarni (Thick yogurt whipped and mixed with dry nuts and cinnamon powder)
While I savor each and every morsel of this delectable meal, I watch some Nepali ladies do a song and dance routine.
Finally, I return to Kathmandu Guest House where I pack up my things for an early flight tomorrow back to Muscat. Goodbye, Nepal. I don’t know when, or if, I’ll see you again. 🙂