Day two in Kathmandu

Trip Start Feb 28, 2017
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14
15
Trip End Mar 17, 2017


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Flag of Nepal  , Central Development Region,
Wednesday, March 15, 2017

We got up early this morning to get to the airport for our flight over the Himalayas to see Mount Everest. It was a small plane. Along with the four of us were a group of people from China. Each person had a window seat. At first we were a bit far away from the mountains but as we got closer to Everest we were right over the mountains. It was so beautiful! We were lucky it was a clear day except for some clouds covering the top of Everest. It was still quite clear which one was Everest! Wow! We got some great pictures. As we left the plane, the flight attendant handed us a certificate that said we did not climb Mount Everest but we touched it with our hearts!
We came back and got breakfast and changed for another day out. We drove to the UNESCO World heritage Durbar Square with more than 50 palaces, pagodas and temples. Here is where we really saw the effects of the earthquake. Some of the temples were reduced to rubble, some lost a couple of stories and many were braced to prevent collapse. The architecture is some of the best in Central Asia. The Kasthamandap is one of the oldest wooden structures in the world, which collapsed during the earthquake, and the 16th century Taleju Temple which honors a girl child living goddess Durga. They chose a small girl child to be the goddess and she lives in this house doing goddess things until about age 13, when she goes back to her family and they pick a new girl. We went into the courtyard of the building and the goddess graced us for about three minutes looking out an open window. No pictures are allowed but she was all dressed and made up. This girl is almost 11 years old. She did not look happy. No smiles from the goddess.
We then went to the temple of Machhendranth which is one that was completely destroyed by the earthquake but they will rebuild it. Then we went to the great stupa of Swayambhunath with the Buddha eyes again and many prayer flags. This is also known as the monkey temple because there are monkeys running all over the place. This temple is on top of a hill with hundreds of steps up. We cheated and drove part way up. It's a beautiful area with lots of activity. There is a small Hindu temple which we were not allowed in. Next to the temple, a group of people were sitting on the ground and one lady was shaking. She apparently goes into a trance and gets godly messages to impart to others. Lots of small candles being lit too.
We also went to the royal palace complex, also damaged in the quake. One building looked very European. Some kind of court. The palace buildings were a combination of old wooden structures and newer ones but still old. Some of the top floors had collapsed.
We had a leisurely lunch in a coffee shop nearby and then back to the hotel to rest.
It has been sad to see the destruction from the earthquake but I am also seeing a lot of work done. They are widening the streets in many places. Traffic is as bad if not worse than Seattle. They are building retaining walls at the river and new buildings are coming up all over. Kathmandu is a growing area and they seem to be preparing for it.
For dinner, we all went out for pizza at a place called Fire and Ice. The pizza was really good and so was the Everest beer.
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