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Blog 77 Kathmandu to Mulkot

7th December

So I fell off whilst riding filming with my phone. Didn’t see the pothole. Crash. Middle of the city of Kathmandu. Suddenly everyone around me, how sweet. Could have done better but landed on my thumb, bit ouchy. 

Watch the film. 

Falling off in Kathmandu

Got up, little finger bloodied. Straitened wheel and handlebars. Steadied nerves with a sweet lassie followed by a carrot juice. Went over to Durbur Square, bought some trinkets. Two doughnuts later, carried on.

Met a film director in a camera accessory shop - unheard of in medieval Kathmandu. We chatted, he had been screening his latest film in Venice, ‘The Red Suitcase’ directed by himself, Fidel Devkota. 

Watch his film by Fidel Devkota

‘A pick-up truck driver leaves Kathmandu airport for a two-day drive with a delivery to a remote mountain village. On the high road, a solitary figure slowly makes his way, wheeling a small red suitcase toward the same village.'

I asked the Kathmandu native "How has Kathmandu & Nepal changed over the last 40 years"

The doughnut bakery on the edge of Durbur Square was deliciously warm and soft - so fresh and not sweet. Everything was as I remembered it.

April 2015 Nepal Earthquake

The April 2015 Nepal earthquake (also known as the Gorkha earthquake killed 8,964 people and injured 21,952 more. It occurred at 11:56 Nepal Standard Time on Saturday, 25 April 2015, with a magnitude of 7.8Mw or 8.1Ms and a maximum Mercalli Intensity of X (Extreme). Its epicenter was east of Gorkha District at Barpak, Gorkha, roughly 85 km (53 mi) northwest of central Kathmandu, and its hypocenter was at a depth of approximately 8.2 km (5.1 mi). It was the worst natural disaster to strike Nepal since the 1934 Nepal–Bihar earthquake. The ground motion recorded in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, was of low frequency, which, along with its occurrence at an hour when many people in rural areas were working outdoors, decreased the loss of property and human lives.

The earthquake triggered an avalanche on Mount Everest, killing 22 people, the deadliest incident on the mountain on record. The earthquake triggered another huge avalanche in the Langtang valley, where 250 people were reported missing.

Hundreds of thousands of Nepalese were made homeless with entire villages flattened across many districts of the country. Centuries-old buildings were destroyed at UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Kathmandu Valley, including some at the Kathmandu Durbar Square, the Patan Durbar Square, the Bhaktapur Durbar Square, the Changu Narayan Temple, the Boudhanath stupa, and the Swayambhunath stupa. Geophysicists and other experts had warned for decades that Nepal was vulnerable to a deadly earthquake, particularly because of its geology, urbanization, and architecture. Dharahara, also called Bhimsen Tower, a nine-storey 61.88-metre (203.0 ft) tall tower, was destroyed. It was a part of the architecture of Kathmandu recognized by UNESCO.

I cycled here from Manchester in 1981 to meet college friends, my first ever trip around the world and donkeys pulled carts across the front of our hotel which overlooked the square. Nepal was the poorest country in the world but then, before then the Magic Bus would pull out of London and cross Europe, Iran Afghanistan to end up here. How the world has changed.

I cycled along the back streets I knew with still filaments of the old city, the fish, shops, meat shops squeezed between glass fronted stores selling the latest fashion line next to puja sweets and in the back streets few cars just bicycles and small bore motorbikes and hand carts, rickshaws and old men with bandanas around their heads pushing a load.

Popped by Braktipur but the entrance fee didn’t warrant my short peep show viewing so had a coffee and cake by the lake. Personally I find the  idea of old men daubed in paint seated in front of temples more Disney than sacred. Thought to stay over in the city but need to stick to a schedule. A day sight seeing where sites need to be seen would add 10 years to the trip. Instead I witnessed a marriage band playing to the bride and her intended. Up the hill and around the corner overlooking the boating pond I celebrate with cake.

Map of the Day

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