What a wild place. Very chaotic (although somehow, it seems to be controlled chaos), dusty, busy, intense, dirty, parts are smelly and overall a very interesting place to be. The horns on the cars are a constant, pedestrians do NOT have the right away, and you learn that fast. If not, well, I guess you can have your body burned on the side of the river.
We went into a little market area called Thamel which was pretty cool. Just about any buddhist or Hindu deity, or tool for worship you could want. Not to mention cool masks of various deities to scare off the evil spirits. There were legit North Face & Mountain Hardwear stores that were right next to a shop that would sew any brand logo you wanted on their pants. You could get North Face pants with your name sewn on if you wanted, and for a fraction the cost of the real deal. They may fall apart in the first couple washes, but who cares?
We got to check out a few places which were former royal palaces that have since been converted into high-end hotels. It’s an interesting experience to be on one side of the wall where the horns are maddening and the sides of the road are just a mere suggestion to the other side of the hotel where it’s a peaceful sanctuary that smells of jasmine and has fountains that are a few hundred years old.
Yesterday, we went up to Swayambhu temple, which was amazing. A few stupas that had the eye of Buddha on top keeping a watchful eye on everyone. Tons of buddhist and hindu statues adorned the temple along with countless prayer wheels all of which say “Om Mani Padme Hum” written in Tibetan, which you turn as you walk by to send the prayer to heaven. Prayer flags were strewn everywhere in between trees, connecting to the top of the stupas and anything else they could be tied to. On both the way up, and the way down were plenty of merchants trying to sell anything from handmade bracelets to hand carved stones, or pieces of fresh coconut.
After a really mellow meal, we sorted the last of our gear, and went to bed waiting for our 4:45am wakeup call to head out and try to fly to Lukla