Another day, another great meal. This should probably just become a food blog, to be honest. On the advice of Keshab, I went to a vegan/vegetarian place for lunch called OR2K, which is well known as a real hotspot for backpackers in Thamel. The decoration is brilliant – yellow walls with clouds painted on, medieval-style hanging lights and the most ornamental sink I’ve ever seen. You sit on the floor with a very low table, which is apparently traditional Nepali style. All I know is that its great for giving you cramp. I had my lunch quite quickly – steamed veg and fried aubergine – then continued on my way, determined to come back later. In fact, I’m actually writing this in the evening on the restaurant wifi, having just eaten my first Dal Bhat! It was excellent – not quite what I expected, it was served more as a thali than a single dish. Oh, and I’m sat next to a Tibetan monk who’s taking pictures of his food on an iPhone 7. I love it here.
Earlier on, I finally made it into Durbar Square. Third time lucky? I paid the 1000 Rs, which gave me access to the site and the inner palace buildings, and went in. It was immediately obvious how much damage the earthquake caused. The fronts of each of the famous buildings seem as if they have been ruins for decades – masonry fallen down, bamboo scaffolding propping up walls, grass growing in the cracks. I felt a little less grumpy about giving them the entry fee after I saw what it needed to be spent on. The buildings themselves – the palace, the temples, the shrines – are beautifully, intricately carved from wood. Having seen pictures from were pre-2015, I know how they are intended to look. But now each of them shows signs of just how dangerous Nepal’s geology can be.
Tomorrow, I’m off to Pokhara on the 7am bus. Apparently there’s another OR2K there, so I’m very happy. I’ll be travelling on my own – it seems there was a mix up and Markus (the other volunteer) isn’t actually arriving until tomorrow. I decided I wanted to go by myself rather than wait another day. Though it wasn’t quite planned, I’ve had a great time settling in here in Kathmandu, and I’m very happy at how things have worked out so far.