05.09.2011 29 °C
So, I have arrived safely in Kathmandu and so have my bicycle and backpack, I am always so lucky with luggage! Well, should touch wood because tomorrow morning, we have a China Airlines flight to catch to Lhasa, the visa is ok!!
The flight with Etihad to Abu Dhabi was ok, I watched Rio, so now I know Lionel Richie still does it. I arrived in Abu Dhabi at 6:40 in the morning and then the next flight only left at 14h but luckily I met Petra, a nice girl from Munich who was waiting for her flight to Kathmandu, too. And then, of course, there was Humo and the high quality book my colleagues offered me on my last day, thanks again!
Today, we took a tour around Kathmandu. The first stop was at Pahupatinath, a pilgrimage place for Hindus but a very awkward place to visit! As you all know, Hindus believe in reincarnation and before their spirit can go to heaven and from thereon to the next life, the body has to be cremated. So, you can watch human bodies being set to fire on the bank of the Bagmati river. After a few hours of burning, they throw the ashes in the river along with a few boxes with the dearest belongings of the deceased. From the other side of Bagmati river, we could see how, only fifty meters further, people took the boxes out of the water again and took out whatever they could use. But the strangest experience was seeing a very old man setting fire to the body of his son. Once in a while, they poke up the fire and put body parts back into the fire (hands, feet).
After that, we went to Swayambunath stupa, said to be the biggest stupa in the world and a pilgrimage place for Hindus from India, Thibet, Buthan and of course... Nepal. It is impressive to see all the colourful prayer flags and Budha`s all seeing eyes.
Kathmandu is like a mix between an Indian city and Hanoi in Vietnam: the people, the food, the smells, the colours, the sounds, the crazy traffic, it's a sensory overload!
Some pictures of Durbar square, on of the places the hippies hung around in the late sixties, early seventies: