We had breakfast at a nearby cafe - even with no power it was so nice that it was hard to believe. I pretty much immediately fell in love with Katmandu and Nepal. This place has the riotous energy of Bangkok and the spiritual-ness of India, plus something completely different.
We spent the morning checking on busses to Pokhara (where we'll be trekking out of) and shopping for shoes for Amy and a polarizing filter for me - we didn't find either. We walked to Durbar Square passing incredible random temples - from giant stupas to little street shrines - this is a great city. Durbar Square is an incredible ramble of old temples and buildings. There was so much to look at architecture, people, and goods for sale. It was almost bewildering - I think I'll have to come back several times.
Amy needed to confirm her flight out of Nepal so we walked to the Royal Nepal Airways office, but it was such a madhouse that we bailed. We finally did manage to buy polarizing filters - we both bought one. On the walk back to Thamel (the section of town where we're staying) we looked at more shoes but couldn't find any. Eventually we gave up and took a taxi to Swayambhunath.
Swayambhunath (also called the Monkey Temple) is located on top of a hill on the western side of the city. We started at the main stairs but decided to walk around the hill looking for another way up. The entire hill is surrounded by walls lined with prayer wheels, a tangle of prayer flags, and small temples - we quickly got lost. A couple of the small temples in the wall contained giant prayer wheels - maybe twenty feet high! Eventually we came to a path that looked infrequently used and we started wandering up the hill. We had to scramble a little and ask directions once but we finally made it to the top. At the ticket booth we asked how much and were told 100 rupees - a bit expensive, but we handed the money over - later we realized that it should have been 100 for two and that we had overpaid. Our fault, but annoying that the guard didn't point out the mistake. However the complex was totally worth it. The main stupa (towering white domes) is beautiful - topped with a golden tower and multi-colored prayer flags stretching from the peak in all directions. The whole stupa was surrounded by more prayer wheels and there were tons of monks marching around it spinning them. The evening light was great for photos even if the sunset was a little disappointing due to low clouds. The monkeys were entertaining for awhile then a little scary as the darker it got them more aggressive they got. We took a tuktuk back to Thamel - the road was very bad and the cart didn't have any suspension so by the time we got home my back was worked.
We decided that it was too late to buy shoes so we're not heading to Pokhara tomorrow - we'll head out a day later and spend the extra day in Katmandu. On our way up to the room we spent some time in a book store shopping for reading material for our trek. We had dinner at New Orleans, a Blues and Jazz bar. Diner wasn't fantastic, but it was good and the live music was great. We ended up hanging out drinking the ice cold beer and listening to music until midnight. On the way back to the hotel we stopped at a bakery and got brownies - the perfect nightcap. I love this city.