You wouldn’t believe it was monsoon season when I got up this morning. It was a crystal clear day and you could even see the distant snow-capped mountains.
Incidentally, this beautiful pagoda is just one of the many wonderful things that I look out on from my hotel room – which has to be the best deal in town. For just 900 rupees (£6 a night) I have a huge space (that is actually two rooms knocked into one) right on the main Durbar Square. This is not only the most famous address in Kathmandu but is teaming with life and jam-packed with temples. The bohemian Freak Street (great name I know!) is literally around the corner and I even have a living princess a few doors away whom I can go and see every day at 4pm if I feel in need of some luck! (She is basically a little girl who was chosen when very young to come and live in the palace with her family so that a goddess can reside inside her until she reaches puberty. She comes to sit at her window for a few minutes every day so that we can all say “Namaste’ and go away feeling blessed.)
A Swiss-German couple apparently rented the room that I’m in for several years, from where they would publish a magazine. The hotel manager showed me the rather beautiful, advert-free publication, which is unfortunately in German but has a general feel of quality. The couple would return to Nepal, and their room, whenever they were working on a new issue. I think they left very good vibes, along with the good furniture, as it just has a lovely feel to the place. And don’t get me started about the roof terrace with panoramic views….
Looking closely at the photograph, you can just make out a bird sitting on top of the ladder leading up to the bell. And yes this ladder is used. Regularly! With my heart in my mouth I not only watch people carefully climb up the rickety-looking ladder, but then they crawl across the roof, hanging onto a wire, so that they can sit and do some repair works up there. They are perched there now hammering away and there isn’t a safety harness in sight. It’s a different world, with a whole different rule book, in this part of the world!