September 3, 2005
Thamel Guest House 100 NRs
Having told that now all of Durbar Squares and almost all of big temples in Kathmandu Valley require foreign tourists to pay for tickets to enter (and not cheap), I really consider whether visit or not visit with my very limited budget now. And someone told me that the best time to visit was early in the morning when the Hindu people starts the offering to the Gods (like in Bali).
The Durbar Square of Kathmandu is not walled. I was inside the square already, without realizing that i was there. I was looking for the ticket office, but nobody did ask for it. The squares are surrounded by hundreds of alleys from the neighbourhoods, so it’s actually fairly easy to enter by avoiding the ticket check, with or without your conscience.
A friend of mine from a media in Indonesia introduced me to a Nepali reporter working in Radio Nepal. Today I met him, and he invited me to his house in Patan. Live in Kathmandu is not always easy, the low salary (about 128 dollars) and high house rent (33.3% of the salary) is a burden for this family. He comes from a village of the hilly area eastern part of Nepal, and quite difficult to reach from Kathmandu. I am interested to visit his village but I dont know whether I can manage to reach there.
An experience living with a Nepali family is the first for me in this country. So it is always exciting. The dining culture, the family gathering habit, etc etc is in the most genuine when you are with a local family. They offered me to taste a traditional Nepali drink, a semi alcohol drink from fermented rice. And as the result, I was drunk and unable to control my head. My head was so heavy that It was even difficult for me to move. I fell down for some minutes. The family was worrying that I would think bad of them (trying to poison a foreigner and then rob the money, etc etc). I told them that I never think of that and they relieved.
At night, to have a discussion about Hinduism, I showed them a DVD about Bali which I bring with me (I rent a DVD player for about 70 NRs only). It’s really interesting to learn that even Nepalis and Balinese believe in the same religion, but there is a huge difference between the two. And what made they surprised most, was the trance dance of Bali, where the spirit occupies the dancers and the dancers may try to hurt themselves with the dagger on their stomach, without being hurt.
Surprisingly, the settings of the TV of the family was set to bahasa Indonesia, and they have been using this TV for years without understanding all of the menu. I helped them to set it back to English and they were very happy.