trails & tribulations

by Jakob

Back in Nepal again, but I wasn’t really in for a stay in Thamel, the tourist district of Kathmandu. Patan seemed like a good alternative and via the internet I had found Sanu’s House in Patan, which was recommended with very good reviews.

My visa for Nepal was still valid and after arriving at the airport, I could go straight to the counter for a date-stamp. Outside the airport, they were there again: the many taxi drivers looking for customers ( TLWH wrote a very good article about arriving in Kathmandu Airport ).

Although I thought it was easy to pass by all these people, because of mine experiences before, it still wasn’t too easy: so many people who try to claim you, impossible to say nothing when walk past them, but once you say something you have already given a finger, I was glad when I had passed them and was waiting a lot furtheron at a busstop, well … busstop? at least it was a place where buses are intend to stop and after a while I indeed could board the bus to Gwarko, where my guesthouse had to be.

I really like traveling by public transport in faraway places, among the locals, I’ve often immediately contact with them on a pleasant way, many people want to help you, so there is always someone who tells you when you have reached your destination … and that feels good!
Sanu’s house was located on a dirt service road of a busy thoroughfare, anything but a tourist spot, so in that respect I was satisfied.

Before I knocked at the door of Sanu’s house I first smoked a cigarette. It was already dark and I enjoyed all the activity around me and the peace in myself because, unlike the last time in Medan on Sumatra, I had found my guesthouse.
I knocked at the door of Sanu’s house and a woman, who introduced herself as Serita welcomed me. I was pleasantly surprised by the genuine friendliness of Serita.
Sanu’s house has no dormroom, so I got a room all to myself. The room was decorated with Buddhist images and some old family photographs, it felt like as if I gave a visit to a familiar someone and not stayed in a guest house. I could almost immediately join the dinner.
Along with other guests, we ate the meal sitting on the floor in a relaxed, family atmosphere. I felt really at home.
Many guests were not really tourists, but did (voluntering) work, were studying or did some training at a company, what made the atmosphere different than in all the other guest houses where I had been. There were also Dutch people: Gerard and Jeanette. They did a long time volunteer in teaching English in schools. In conversation with Gerard the world turned out to be small again: he knew my father, he had ever been taught by him … a family atmosphere, I mentioned it already.

In the morning at eight o’clock there is an opportunity to have breakfast, Serita has been busy allready from five o’clock in the morning to serve the guests breakfast in time and during breakfast she likes to serve (touristic) tips as well. I had plans for the coming week to visit some of the highlghted touristic attractions in Nepal and during the breakfast Serita gave me meaningful advice.
Today I wanted to go to Durbar Square in Patan. Durbar Square is allready an UNESCO’s World Heritage Site for a while and well worth to give it a visit. It is within walking distance of my guesthouse, where the only obstacle might be crossing the busy road near Sanu’s house. In Indonesia I was already habituated to cross the road on this way: after some timing, when there is a big gap in between the traffic, start crossing the road and hold your hands in a stop-position towards the coming traffic, the traffic in Indonesia will stop, but in Nepal the rules are slightly different: the traffic doesn’t stop and steers right passed you while honking loudly… yes, it’s different here in Nepal …..

The old town of Patan is surrounded by small cabins where tourists have to buy a ticket. For me there is no escape because of my blonde hair: from afar I can hear the salesman or saleswoman calling: “Mister! You need a ticket to enter”. Well, it’s only 200 rupees, about 2 euros, is valid as long as your visa is valid and the money is used to preserve historical heritage, so it’s well spent.

A young man asked if I need a guide, I never want to be guided so I thank him kindly, saying “no thank you, I was here before (which indeed is), so I do not need “Then he answered:” Okay, I believe you “and went off. “how odd, but fine to me, I never have been got away with it so soon, mostly they keep on asking”.

Durbar Square is truly a magnificent display of cultural heritage: the many pagodas are adorned with beautiful carvings, what you can see by the way also on many common houses. Around Durbar Square are many shops where you can buy beautiful handmade souvenirs, especially in the so-called Tanka’s (mostly paintings with Buddhist symbolism) there is the overwhelming choice. It seems to me a nice souvenir to buy, and not least, it fits easily into my backpack. After having seen many tanka’s and numerous negotiations to have a bit of an insight about the pricings, I purchased a real silver and gold plated tanka for a very reasonable price of 3000 rupees…. mission accomplished.

Back in Sanu’s house, after having dinner, I sit on the rooftop terrace. Together with Benjamin and Fabien from France we drink beer from the brand “Nepal Ice”. Beer in Nepal is in perspective quite expensive: the price of an average bottle is about 200 rupees (about 2 euros), West-European prizes! it’s quite expensive, but …. it doesn’t make the evening less pleasurable!

view from the rooftop of Sanu’s house

view from the rooftop of Sanu’s house

4 thoughts on “Patan, Nepal

  1. Gerlof says:

    Hoi Jakob,
    Leuk om weer wat van je te lezen. Het lijkt me mooi daar.
    Hier in nederland is het nu een weekje erg koud en meteen is iedereen in de media bezig met een mogelijke elf-steden-tocht. Lekker overdreven!

    Fijne reis verder!



    1. Jakob says:

      Hey Gerlof!
      Leuk dat je af en toe m’n blog bezoekt, appreciate much! Ik ben weer in NL, maar alleen al gezien het weer wil en ga ik zo snel mogelijk weer naar de tropen …

  2. Seems like you had an authentic experience in Nepal!

    1. Jakob says:

      sure it was Brock!

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