I felt a little lost waking up this morning as I didn’t have to prepare for a day of riding and it wasn’t a rest day where I would throw myself at my chores. Instead, I didn’t have to do anything if I didn’t want to. I’d woken up at my usual early time (sunrise) so still got moving fairly early. I made a rough plan of where I wanted to walk, packed a little carry bag with a few things (water, notepad, kindle) and headed out. I may as well not have made a plan because I ended up succumbing to the labyrinth of Thamel and the surrounding area, letting myself be carried down whatever street or alley took my fancy. At one point I popped out in the Durban Square area and watched an archaeological team as they dug into the foundations of one of the ancient temples that is fractured as a result of the 2015 earthquake. One girl was English and I had a nice chat with her about the work she was doing and about Kathmandu in general. It was interesting to hear her perspective on the management of Kathmandu’s important temples, both in the past and currently. I hope she succeeds in conveying her findings to the decision-makers who are in charge of preserving the temple into the future.

I continued wandering and started keeping a lookout for a place to eat. I’d started the day with biscuits, jam and bananas, but was keen to fill right up with daal baht. Eventually I came to an area along the river dominated by little recycling factories. The road was basically lined with shacks. Inside one I spotted a guy eating dahl baht. Yes! I walked in and discovered I too could get some for just 80r – the cheapest so far in Nepal. In the end, after two heaped platefuls, I was given it for free. I’d had fun chatting to different people with one guy acting as a translator and the novelty factor of having a foreigner there meant they wanted to gift the meal to me. I found my way back to Thamel and visited KEEP, where I sat down and read a bunch of material about their environmental initiatives. I also watched a BBC documentary called Carrying the Burden about the role and treatment of porters within Nepal’s trekking industry.

Education over, I returned home where I managed to finally get a hot shower (my first in nearly three months). I had to ask about hot water at reception and ended up being given a key to another room that has guaranteed hot water (despite being told the opposite at check-in, the shared bathroom I have access to does not have hot water). After warming up, I spent some time treating tap water to make it drinkable. I then checked in on the French trio and hung out with them for a while in their room before joining them out for a dinner of momos. I’m just getting ready for bed and have watched a couple of TED talks about living a minimalist, waste-free life.

Temples (and pigeons) galore

Accommodation $ Hotel
Distance ridden today 0km
Total distance ridden 16,071km