Saturday, December 3, 2022

Nov 26-Part 2 They Call it the Monkey Temple For a Reason

After we retrieved the bags we had left here at the hotel (with clean-ish clothes…our flight clothes), we showered, and went to meet Heather to go to the Monkey Temple. I had to exchange some USD for rupees before we could go. Loaded with another 23000+ rupees ($150 minus the 1% fee), we set out to find a taxi. Heather asked at the front desk for the address of the Monkey temple, and how much we should pay for the taxi. The taxi driver said it would cost 1500 rupees. Heather said that was too much. She got him down to 300 which was what the desk clerk had said. Off we went through the chaos that is Kathmandu. 

It was about 15 minutes to the base of the Monkey temple stairs. It’s 300 stairs to the top. Funny thing, if we were still at the elevation we were at in Kyangen, it would have taken us forever to climb the stairs. Back at 4000 feet, it was easy! So much nicer being able to breathe again!!!

We saw our first monkey right away. Then we saw about a bazillion more! 

The monkeys are Rhesis Macaques

A lot of stairs

Two babies

Just hanging out. 

Tons of people. Nepali people don’t have to pay to get in. We had to pay 200 rupees. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

The temple at the top is quite impressive. It was like the Stupa we had gone to when we were first here. 

It’s really called Swayambhunath Stupa. 

Prayer wheels (and Makaela)

Another part of the temple

Setting sun cast a great light. 

A monk on the balcony. 

There were numerous shops selling all kinds of things. We bought a couple of things. Heather was our negotiator. We both wanted to buy this traditional Nepali game called “Goat and Tiger”. The board was a carved flat stone, and the pieces (4 tigers and 20 goats) were made of brass. The gal wanted 4500 rupees. We got her to accept 3000 each. 

The stone carving shop. 

We were hungry, but didn’t really see anything that looked promising, so we decided to head back down. Here’s a few more photos. 

This looks so sweet, like this monkey is gazing into the flower. Really, it was eating it. 

See the monkeys?

Lined up on the wall. 

Female cuddling her infant. 

Another mama

Eating poinsettia flowers

A little fed in the face. 

Photo ops

Heather striking a pose. 

Oh…and me. 

We went back down the 300 stairs to get a taxi back to the hotel. Makaela was kind enough to let me hold her hand, as my eyes made it a little tricky going down in the twilight. At the bottom, of course, there were many taxis. Again we had to negotiate the price. This time, the lowest we could get was 400. Another driver had to tell our driver how to get to our hotel. On the way back, we are pretty sure the driver went the wrong way down a one-way street. Ah…but this is Kathmandu…

We dropped our purchases in our rooms, and set out to find some food. Turns out there was a really good restaurant right close to our hotel. It took us awhile to decide what to order. We’ve had the same menu choices for the entire trek. Needless to say, we did NOT order rice, eggs, or potatoes! I had Masala Kofte (tofu balls in a tomato sauce with herbs and nuts, and cheese naan).

Delicious (and not spicy)!

Makaela bought us gulab junum  for dessert. It seemed like donut holes in a coriander sauce. It was delicious!

We did a bit more wandering around after dinner. One shop we went into was one with a lot of stones from high in the mountains (above 14,000 feet). There were different kinds of crystals. The shop owner spent a lot of time telling us about the importance of nature and the chakras. He was quite the character! He gave us each a small piece of tourmaline for good luck. 

We walked back toward the hotel, and saw Jenny at a bar. By then, I was fading. We came back to the hotel. I started Part 1 of this blog post, but kept falling asleep. I slept solidly until 4:45. Now it’s almost 7:00. We are heading, today, to an artists’ “square”. Bhola has arranged a van. 

Time for breakfast!

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