MT. EVEREST & DURBAR SQUARE, NEPAL
Today we woke up bright and early to catch a 5 am flight to and around Mt. Everest. I have this life goal to someday climb to base camp at Mt. Everest so I was pretty excited to go and be able to see the peak! The plane was very small that took us to the top but it was a breathtaking sight - one that photos never do justice. After our flight we came back to the hotel to get a bit more rest, eat breakfast and get ready for the day. At breakfast I was able to have Yak cheese and it was seriously delicious! I already want more even just thinking about it! The first place we went to in Kathmandu was the Royal Palace. This is the home to the royal family back in 2001 prior to the Royal Family Massacre that turned Nepal's government from a monarchy eventually into a democracy. The massacre happened when one of the princes killed the entire family of 10 and then shot himself in the head. Crazy thing is that this happened within the 21st century! It is still very fresh history here in Nepal. Walking through the palace was a blast from the past. The entire decoration and interior looked like you were walking straight into a home of the 70s. It just kinda shows how little resources they have here in Nepal considering the palace was built in the 70s and never changed after that even going into the 2000's. It was very interesting to see the palace and gave me a little more insight into Nepal's history. After the Royal Palace we visited the Garden of Dreams and oh my goodness it was stunning. The garden is so peaceful and inviting. We stayed in the garden for a bit and ordered drinks to refresh from the busy sightseeing. It started to rain so threw on our rain coats and hurried from the garden to grab one or two more things in Thamel. While we were in Thamel we saw our first Sadhu! I was so excited to see a real and actual Sadhu just sitting and meditating in the rain! It was actually kindof inspiring seeing a life of such non attachment. We headed over to Durbar Square after - a place I have been very excited to see! This square is over 800 years old and sadly was very damaged in the earthquake. Parts of it have been restored but there is still a lot of history in this square. First there is Freak Street, a popular street the hippies paved back in the 70s when they were traveling to Nepal for cheap weed. The hippies set the tone for a big trip on a small budget and thank you to them because that is exactly how Rachael and I are pulling this off. Also in Durbar Square is where the Kumari lives. The Kumari is a living goddess that Hindu's discover while she is around the age of 3. Like the Dalai Lama, the Kumari is reincarnated and is rediscovered by showing 32 markings on her body. Once she is discovered she is put in her temple where she lives and only leaves a few times a year for different festivals and parades. Other than that she sits in her temple where Hindu's are able to come and worship her. From 9-12 and 4-6 everyday she sits by a window every 5 minutes so that tourists can see the Kumari. While she sits at the window everyone has to watch in complete silence and cameras are absolutely forbidden. We were able to see the Kumari that evening. I actually felt really bad for her - when she came to the window you could tell in her eyes she was unhappy. The Kumari lives this lifestyle until she hits puberty and starts her cycle. Once that happens she is considered unclean and a new Kumari is found. For a while too it was believed to be bad luck to marry a Kumari but that belief has since died. Also in Durbar Square we were able to see the largest Hindu temple in Nepal as well as a few more Sadhus, temples and religious practices. There is a lot of diversity, history and tradition in Durbar Square and I loved being able to experience it all. When we got home from Durbar Square Rachael and I threw on our swimsuits and went outside by the pool. We were in the hot tub and had ordered strawberry mint coolers when it started to pour rain again. We just sat in the hot tub, drinking our drinks in the pouring hard rain getting a kick at how crazy our situation was. When you travel in monsoon season you gotta know what you are signing up for! We love Nepal. Today was packed and we are exhausted now heading to bed at 8pm. Namaste! xx,m.