Right when we stepped our feet in front of Gaju Suite Hotel, we knew we had to explore Kathmandu right away. We were too excited that we forgot we were tired after an overnight at the airport. But sometimes we did not always get what we wished for, right? As soon as we were in touched with the reception, we were warned that the number of us was more than total persons allowed in a room (only four persons were allowed, the other two needed to pay for extra bed but they only charged one extra bed) and we needed to add another USD40 including the breakfast. We of course could not runaway and later stated to the reception that we did not need the breakfast and we would pay the extra bed only for USD20 (we refused to pay for the rest USD20 was because the price of the breakfast was actually cheaper than what they offered, so we decided to pay right away when having one there).
We waited for our room to be cleaned out first. The staff of the hotel was nice and he welcomed us very warmly. It was too bad that the warmth did not last for too long when we set foot to the room and checked it out. The welcoming staff cheerfully explained that the room that we booked was occupied by other guests who decided to extend their stay in the hotel, hence they had to substitute our booked room (which was a flat with two bed rooms, a kitchen and a living room) with one studio and one unit with one bed room, a kitchen and a living room (which actually not bad at all). But it apparently made my friend furious and upset for not getting what we had paid for (I am sure it was because we were tired!). Thus a little argument between us and the staffs went on…
I mentioned to the staff that if the guests wanted to stay in a place that we had booked earlier, the hotel had to explained that the room had been booked and offered them another room. My friend argued that if we did not get the room that we booked, we might be paying more than we should have. Lucky us at last the hotel staff made it to talk with the guests explaining the condition. The representation of guests – a man with big posture then came to the substitute room to see its condition. He did not look very friendly. He then asked us where we were from. “Indonesia” we said together. Then he went out of the room in agreement to exchange rooms.
Having such agreement made us relieved! The fact that we lost a couple of hours just to get our room back was ridiculous. We should have used such hours to clean ourselves. But that was OK and we learned something (that it is OK to try to get what we have paid for, unless we get more that what we have paid! :P)
We immediately rushed down to the reception to meet our driver. We needed to go somewhere and it was to Pasupathinath Temple which is listed in UNESCO World Heritage Site. Pasupthinath is one of the most significant Shiva Temples in Nepal. It is a pilgrim destination for the Hindus.
There are even certain areas which can only be entered by Hindus. Since one of us is a Hindu, she was allowed to enter such area. She was in fact one of the pilgrim in Pasupathinath temple. So, when she did her religious rituals, we looked around the temple accompanied by a willing guide (of course not for free :D).
We were welcomed by a number of sacred animals living in the temple: cows, dogs, monkeys and birds! Our guide showed us to the higher point where we could see the non-hindus restricted area. There were also certain area which was guarded by Nepali Army. The temple complex was big and beautiful! Sadly, it was not too clean and did not look like treated very well. Most of its buildings are made of brick. We saw there was a child climbing the wall and the brick fell off!
Behind the temple, there was Bagmati river – which was considered as sacred. On its side, there were places to cremate the deceased. When we were there, we only saw the “finalization” of such cremation where the dust of the deceased was poured down to the river. The guide told us that when someone deceased in Nepal, they did not wait long to cremate the body. It was such new information as in Bali, it does take a while to cremate the body because the cremation ritual is quite expensive. Near the cremation point, there was a building inhabited by people who were waiting for their death. Once they were dead, the body would be cremated near Bagmati river. Despite its “sacred” status, the river is not in good condition. It was very dirty. The water was black and full of waste!
After we visited Pasupathinath Temple, we went to Kathmandu Durbar Square. The driver told us to hurry because we would not be able to see anything after the sun was out. But it was our first day in Nepal and we enjoyed Pasupathinath a lot that we forgot his advice. The Driver drove us to a market near Durbar Square and we needed to walk to reach it. At the end, we arrived at Durbar Square. It was almost dark. Our stomach started to scream like crazy. It was clear that we did not realize when the last time we feed them. I was not hungry yet but I was thirsty like hell! I then decided to buy a bottled water. I was not sure whether I was hallucinating or not but when the seller told me the price of the water was NPR25, I immediately assumed it was Rp25,000 (it was actually about Rp2,500). I felt stupid.
There were good and bad things when visiting Durbar Square after dark. The good thing was that it was free (which was the only good thing) and the bad things were everything was dark as there was no power and we could not see Kumari! Our visiting time was coincident with a concert near the Kumari house. We could barely move. The street was full with people, sellers and vehicles! The drivers honked as if the road were theirs. We could say that it was chaos and it was when I started to feel soooo hungry!
We then hurried up to our van and ordered our Driver to go to Gaia Restaurant immediately! At that time, there were five of us (it should be considered 10 of us if we count each of our hungry-stomach talking :D). Well, of course you know what happened when hungry stomach orders foods: it was too much! We ordered buffalo momo (we get very obsessed with momo since the beginning of the trip!) to be eaten together, chicken tikka masala for me, chicken curry for Arini, and meats for the boy members (who ate so much :D). The highlight there was their hot ginger lemon honey! It had such heavenly taste and warmed our body!
As the driver left us at Gaia, we had to go back to the hotel walking through Thamel street which we found very challenging! We called it challenging not because it was dusty. Not because it was cramped. Not because it was chilly for our tropical body. But because we suddenly had shiny eyes looking at the shops! Out of nowhere we found ourselves bought approximately in total of 150 fridge magnets, 50 key chains, 2 warm gloves (which has its own finger cover which can be removed without taking off all of the gloves that can make our finger cold), cute hair elastics, and various plate and glass mats! And it was only our first day! (eff)