SWAYAMBHU MONKEY TEMPLE – the spiritual and then the high spirits of partying Swaggies, Kathmandu 1976

[The spirit was with me in more than one sense on this day: fantastic climb to the Buddhist temples at Swayambhunath, mixing with the monks, worshippers and monkeys – then a high-spirited evening of Nepali rum and country liquor to mark the final evening of Aussie friends Pam (my room-mate) and Sue, who were heading back home.  As ever, we ended up eating at KC’s]

Buddha and me at Swayambhu

TUESDAY 21ST DECEMBER, 1976

Walked to Swayambhu with Chris and Nikki and Fran.  Coldish morning – set off through back streets the wrong way, ended up crossing mud banks and planks over river.  Lots of little people rushing around with huge baskets of earth balanced on poles across their shoulders.  Saw moving haystacks with legs rushing along underneath! – must be very strong.

Got lost among intensely cultivated fields – lovely countryside – saw boys making mud bricks; kids playing, cowpat-type things drying on walls of houses.  Walked up terracing on narrow ridges between fields and across pole over stream!  Everyone very amused at little file walking about.  At least we weren’t plagued by rickshaw drivers.  “Hello, rickshaw …!”

Decided to rest before climbed steps up to Monkey Temple – very steep!  Exhausted at top – loads of monkeys running about and whizzing down railings.  Top was crowded with little shrines – pretty filthy everywhere; spattered with white and red paint.  Saw ceremony outside shrine – people squatting, old man reading from manuscript while others poured water over flowers.

Various monks wandering round the big stupa (biggest in world) spinning prayer wheels, dressed in maroon robes, cropped hair.  Nothing doing in temple (no horns etc)  Found pie shop!  Very reasonable prices.

Wandered back across bridge and back through main way – passed loads of washing.  Got bacck and flopped on bed – went to sleep! (Shows really unfit).

Woke when Fran came in.  Sue came and said Geoff taking her out to eat instead of group farewell meal – Pam fuming – Geoff make it worse by pretending he’d done nothing wrong.  Pam calmed down.  Hans and Little Chris came in – somehow started a booze-up!  Passing round gin, rum, whisky and country liquor!  By 7.30 we were all well away – “Pissed out o’ me skull” as Little Chris put it!  Don’t know how we made it over to KC’s!  Had great meal there – tomato soup and steak.  Managed to eat it with bit of difficulty.  Sat next to Mike who told me how he never drank anymore!

Back to room (after a “Night Life” – rum and lemon) – had great party – room packed with people.  Chris had crashed next door – locked self in, so when Hans tried to get in, we were banging and shouting and chucking things through the window – finally woke him, though he doesn’t remember unlocking the door!”

Little Chris, Hans and Pam at Hotel Star party

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