What a day yesterday.
Since I’m in Kathmandu, I gotta do some sightseeing, right? Can’t be just complete cultural ignorant.. So I threw myself into the crazy streets of Nepali’s capital and explored everything that could be explored.
Let me take you back to yesterday’s early morning (9am to be precise). I feel like I might write in third person now just to make the whole story less personal, let’s see how long will I stick to that.
The Tale of a Scam
At 9am, after a refreshing breakfast consisting of cereals with yoghurt, fresh fruit salad and toast with jam, a girl – excited and full of energy – started her journey towards Kathmandu’s sights.
In her room, she planned everything ahead into the smallest detail, because this is what she does – better safe than sorry! She carefully studied the map how to get from A to B without any harm and when she felt like she could leave the safety of her room, she put her sneakers and backpack on and set off in direction of Kathmandu Durbar Square.
What could happen during a 15min walk, nothing much, right?
Walking down the road, she was observing all the bustle on the streets – people rushing to work, opening their small shops, motorcycles and cars driving like crazy. Sun was slowly moving up, shining on small flags and remains of Diwali decorations that were sparkling right above her head. Such a nice day ahead! She was halfway to the Durbar square when a man approached.
(with strong Indian accent): “Hello! Which country you from?”
“Ooh, how many people in Czech Republic?”
“Million? City I’m from has 10 million, you sure it’s not billion?”
“Ya I’m pretty sure it’s million.”
She was used to those kind of conversations so she thought it’s no big deal. She thought that if she continues towards her first sightseeing goal, the man would leave her alone eventually.
The man was persistent! He started to explain that there are so many things to see, but hidden from the tourist’s eyes – but no problem! He could show her what’s around.
“Just here around the corner! Come, come, here is the Hindu – Buddhist – Christian temple, only in Kathmandu!”
Ok she said, it was really a few meters away (although a small feeling of doubt pinched her in her chest, though she successfully ignored it). But then, the temple was really here – Christian, Buddhist and Hindu symbols all around, people praying for their families and friends. The man explained to her that he wishes only the best for her and her family and that this statue will make his wishes true. Then he gave her a candle and showed her how to pray correctly – make 7 circles with the candle, then almost touch forehead, lips and chest (so that thoughts, words and acts are all clean) with it and lay the candle down at the altar. He then made a red dot on her forehead, threw some flower petals on her hair and she felt like she learned something new and interesting finally! Proud on her red dot.
Pigeons flying all around, the man pointed out that pigeons are good karma. He took her to more temples around and explained his family situation. He apparently had 4 daughters and not enough food to feed them. But he made it clear he doesn’t need any money! Just only if she were so kind and buy him some groceries.
The girl, trustfully and wholeheartedly, struck by his difficult destiny, thought that this is the least she could do for him, since he showed her all the hidden places of Kathmandu streets. What is money, right? His family needs food. She could spare a few hundred Rupees, it’s nothing after all.
So they went to a local grocery shop. The man strted to order things he wanted to buy – big bag of rice, 5 liters of oil, some powdered milk.. She was looking at all of that with slight suspicion but she waited patiently for the final price. The shop assistant then showed it on a calculator – 5000 Rupees.
“Ok, wait a second – like 50 dollars for some oil, rice and powdered milk? What the fuck dude?” were her exact thoughts at that moment.
She looked at the man and expressed her concerns that this might be a bit overpriced, that maybe he should go somewhere else where it is much cheaper.
The man then removed the oil, because he understood she didn’t want to pay that much. Guy in the shop showed the price again – 4300 Rupees.
“What the hell!?”
And that was the moment she realized they are screwing with her. The only problem was that she felt obliged to repay him for the “guiding service” he provided – and she only had thousands in her wallet. So, how to get out of this situation unharmed?
“Ok, 1000 is only like 10$, no big deal, I’ll give it to him and he will leave me alone.”
But the man didn’t want to take the money – “I don’t need money, family needs food!”
“Ya but with this 1000 you can buy the food you need.”
So she left a thousand rupee bill on the counter and left the place, heart in her throat.
Ok guys, it was actually easier for me to distance myself from the actual story and tell it in third person. When I look back at that moment, I’m just rolling my eyes thinking how could I’ve been so stupid *facepalm*.. Ahh..
I guess I’m too naive and trust people too much. But that’s just me and I wouldn’t like to change it.. Opinions? How do you know that someone is honest and REALLY needs your help? I will always help if it is in my power, but I hate when someone abuses my wholeheartedness. Then I see in red. But that usually happens when I’m far away from that situation and the only person I’m pissed at is me..
So that was the scam part.
After that I reached Kathmandu Durbar Square and walked around the sight. Then a French woman approached me – “Oooh, you should go to San Francisco! And wear some flowers in your hair!”😂
I completely forgot I must have looked like a total weirdo😅 Loose pants that I bought a day before because I have nothing clean to wear, red dot on my forehead with orange petals on my head. Yup, flower power here I come!🌻✌️☮️
So, Kathmandu Durbar Square.. Well, it’s obvious that an earthquake did some damage over there. Piles of debris lying around, buildings barely holding together.. It will take a lot of time until it’s completely renovated. Honestly, I think I’ve already seen nicer sites than this, so with high hopes I went to another one – Swayambhunath.
Swayambhunath lies on a hill, around 2,5km from the Square. I decided to walk there and this time totally ignored all attempts to talk to me. Wearing comfy pants, the walk was very pleasant, except the climb up. I started to sweat and again, forgot about my super cool red dot on my forehead, which started to slowly melt down. It took me around 5mins to take this melted red sh*t off my face. Yuck.
The stupa on the top is really nice, survived the earthquake in one piece. And the view over Kathmandu is great. I made one clockwise circle around the stupa, made a wish and went back to Thamel by taxi.
Again went to my favorite vegetarian restaurant, they are cooking delicious foods! Fresh veggies, everything healthy and OM😁 I spent there almost 3h, reading a book and relaxing.
Thend headed to Pashupatinath Temple. I was thinking on the way there that I still have to pay a visit to that cremation site, UNESCO protected. So probably worth visiting.
After paying the entrance fee, I went in. I saw a huge crowd of people few meters away so went there to check it out. And guess what was happening? A cremation. Yup, real dead bodies, and all that.
It was morbid and fascinating at the same time. You know, it’s a funeral for the mourning family and people are watching it as an attraction, taking pictures. I saw the whole thing – bringing the body, cleaning it in the river, building the stake, putting the body there and setting fire to it. It all took more than 2 hours, it was really long.
After that I had dinner with Prakash and ordered a burger. Not the best decision after a rice diet. That’s why I have time to write such a long post today😅 Let’s see if I feel better later on, so maybe I could have that massage I wanted for so long!🙏
Thanks for reading and if you made it up to here, you’re good😉