Kathmandu Redux (yeah, I know I was just here in October)
Ten days after touching down in Kathmandu, I'm still hanging out in that fine city. It's not so much that I can't get enough of the place (though I do rather enjoy the mixture of Newari brick-and-carved-wood ambience, hyper Asian city and cool traveler stuff), but rather that my travel companion has been struggling with a nasty chest cold. I too was ill for a couple of days with an amorphous viral somethingorother. About all I've "done" so far is visit Durbar Square in KTM, go mountain biking in a national park for half a day, and walk to and around the old capital of Patan. I've also managed to get my camera fixed* for a mere $17, buy thermals/ silly wool hat/ Buddha t-shirt/ Alice in Wonderland Japanese edition, and take about 150 photos. I've even gotten a bit of asana practice in on the roof of my guest house.
Hey! that doesn't sound too bad. I'll try to post some pics soon. You know you can't wait to see them.
* Both my ancient iBook and aging camera bit the dust in Goa. I'm still working on getting the Mac repaired.
The overnight train from Bangalore to Goa, though long (14 hours), was pleasant enough. A kind French woman gave me her seat so that Alex and I could sit together near the window. We passed the time lazily, reading, staring out the window, and eating cookies.I spent about a week in Goa, during which time I did little but eat, swim and allow the sun to turn my skin a fairly pleasant shade of bronze. I recommend Palolem for the food, but that lovely stretch of sand has become awfully crowded in recent years. And with the crowds has come the usual overdevelopment and excess supply of hawkers. Nearby Patnem, which had maybe a shack or two on it when last I saw it a couple of years back, now looks a lot like Palolem did in 2003. There's progress for you.Now don't think that I don't realize the irony of my situation. Me and my ilk are the source of the problem.
Today I tied up some loose ends. First I went to the main Post Office and posted my holiday cards and a tiny pack of photos and cds. Then after consuming what I expect to be my last South India thali for some time, I did a bit of packing (don't know how on earth I'm going to fit everything in my pack, much less lug it around), bought an aluminum box to store some things in here in Mysore (I may just be back sometime in the coming months), packed and dropped it at Ajay's, returned my barely-used scooter...
My train to Goa departs from Yeshwantpur Station in Bangalore at 3:15 pm tomorrow. That means I'll have to catch a bus to Bangalore around 10 am (roughly 3 hrs.) and take a one hour auto rikshaw ride across town to Yeshwantpur. I can check my backpack in at the Left Luggage counter and spend whatever excess time I have wandering about. We're scheduled to reach Goa at 6am Wednesday morning. I have to catch another train South, then another auto to Palolem. I hope to reach there by 11 am.
The sunsets in Palolem are spectacular. I will try to include a photo soon.
Yesterday we ticked another item off the "Things to do Before Leaving Mysore" list. We hopped the bike and drove up to Chamundi Hill to record some video on Alex's Enfield. He was particularly keen on getting the sound of the bike. Alas, the sound was greatly distorted by the rush of air as we zoomed up the hill. Next time I'm going to have to face backward ;-)
It being an absolutely brilliant day, we stopped by a park (the name of which escapes me :S) after our little movie-making endeavor. Centered around a man-made lake, the park includes a small island, observation tower, bird zoo, butterfly sanctuary, etc. But the most notable of the attractions on display, to me at least, were the numerous amorous couples scattered about the grounds. You see so little Public Display of Affection* in India, it's a bit shocking when you do come across it. When I reached the top of the observation tower, I ran into a twentysomething couple that was noisily kissing-- scandalous! Also worthy of note, I believe, was the fact that many of the couples were clearly Muslim (the women being dressed in the long black gown and head-covering).
* As in many sexually repressed cultures, you see an awful lot of male-on-male/ female-on-female PDA.