Felt like I was going a bit stir crazy yesterday, & had to escape Kopan for a while. But it was the second day of strikes, & no transport was operating. Thankfully, one of the resourceful monks arranged a private car to drop Michael & I down to Thamel & pick us up again in the late afternoon – great! And, because of the strike, there was almost no traffic on the road, apart from a plethora of mopeds.
Thamel was where I was meant to stay after Kopan – a bustling beehive of touristy activity. When we got down there, I was so thankful I’d decided to cancel my accommodation there & instead stay at Kopan – I can’t imagine how I would’ve coped there smack bang in the middle of chaos. The streets are really narrow, wide enough for one car & maybe a few mopeds, & they are packed with tourist shops – mostly Thangka (Tibetan Buddhist paintings), artefacts, arty felt shops, currency exchange, & cafes/restaurants – the Pumpernikel cafe served me a pretty good latte.
The plan was to do a spot of shopping, after a coffee, then head to Durbar Square to check it out & take some pics. Reality turned out a bit differently – coffee, shopping, lunch, shopping. I did manage to get an okay price on some Buddhist artefacts, but had to say no to two Thangka paintings (one of the Kalachakra mandala, the other of Palden Lhamo) – even after bargaining to half the initially offered price, it was still going to cost @AUD$230.
An exhausting, but worthwhile trip out.