[Sunbathing, shopping, eating out … No, this is not the Riviera; it’s the life of the Overlander in Kathmandu!]
THURSDAY 23RD DECEMBER,1976
“Sunbathed on terrace – lovely hot sun but awful flies – felt virtuous because wrote letter and cards! Lay in sun for awhile – really hot – Little Chris had tent out (on concrete) – people made cracks about hard ground for pegs etc).
Went out later with Sally and Di to get embroidery put on skirt and jeans by this little man in tiny workshop in one of lanes between here and Durbar Square. Then hunted round Freak Street for Nepali suits (baggy trousers and wrapover tops) and had some made up at little tailor’s.
Went to Utze’s again for another good meal – little boy with black fez works really hard there.”
[More Swaggie friends departing and feeling jaded after the previous heady day – there’s only one remedy – back to KC’s for coffee and cake!]
Swaggies eating at KC’s, Thamel, Kathmandu, 1976
WEDNESDAY 22ND DECEMBER, 1976
“Went to airport to see Pam and Sue off. Great scenes of tears as said goodbye – especially when Pam said bye to Rob, Mike, Anders …! Waved them away from terrace.
Washed jeans! Moved up to Di and Heidi’s room. Tried to write letter but gave up. Tried to find diary but gave up! So went and had cake and coffee at KC’s!
Went to Utze’s quite late that evening with Di and Sally – had 4 dishes between us – lovely food – sweet and sour chop suey, rice, chicken etc. Then had banana split – enjoyed every calorie!”
SATURDAY 18TH DECEMBER, 1976 – Part Two
“Back in Kathmandu after lunch – at Utze Restaurant – really good, cheap Chinese food and quick service. Then out to Stupa at Boudhnath – big solid white dome with steps up and ledge round to walk on, then layered pyramid with face on and streamers of rice-paper flags strung from top! Extraordinary. Like a pagoda except solid not hollow.
Saw inside fascinating Buddhist temple – walked round with mouth open – up left and right were benches with four boys chanting very quickly – then banged huge gongs and clashed cymbals – very stimulating. Pillars with strips of material hanging down; candles being lit at the back, bowls of water; golden images behind glass cases in centre and one to side full of little Buddhas; smell of incense strong (took shoes off). Quite amazing and bewildering place.
Bought some cloth boots – rather good.
Tickets still not here [for return home]. Had gin and orange with Pam to celebrate her sister’s engagement! Then she, me, Fran and Sally went down for something to eat. Went into Shangri la for meal (jam pancakes!)
Talked to American couple from another tour – hassle at border – lost 4 days because some had tried to smuggle pistachio nuts into India. They’d had good weather. All fascinating to compare trips. We seem to be only group who’ve stuck together once in Kathmandu (we’re all at the same hotel!)”