As stated in my previous entry, Thamel is not , Nepal. And as also stated before, I love Thamel.

Thamel is both big and small at the same time. It's packed full of bars, of restaurants and shops, lots of shops. At the same time it's so easily traversable. You don't get lost, you go on a detour to your next destination. For me, this generally involves walking through a door, finding a chair, sitting down and then drinking green tea and reading some.

I arrived in Thamel on Monday, it's now Thursday. I have not seen much outside Thamel. I walked through Durbar square, but only because I was walking aimlessly. I was cameraless. I did not stay, I intended to return with my camera. That was on Monday, I still have time.

There are lots of book shops, I already have lots of books. I'm on my 20th book at the moment (Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead. It's a classic my dear, all the reviews say so. Of course, I don't understand it. But who does, it's intelligent. -haha) Some I have sold. The rest I have to carry. I think I will post them home and buy some more.

There are lots of trekking shops. I'm not going trekking, I'm far too lazy. I bought a rucksack and a bladder (a water bag with a pipe, it fits in the bag). I bought a knife (for mangoes) and a torch (for just in case). I also bought some chlorine for water purification. The water in my hotel is yellow. I haven't tried it.

There are restaurants of any kind you can think of. Last night I had a pizza, it was better than most pizzas at home. The other day I had an Aubergine lasagne with garlic bread and salad, it was delicious.

They serve green tea here. They also understand that a request for black tea means I would like a pot of tea leaves and hot water. In India they give you a tea bag, hot water and 50 grams of sugar.

Live music has been available every night since I arrived. Mostly you have a choice. I saw a band the other night. They played a few rocky songs and sang in Nepali, I didn't understand it but it was good music. Then they played Pink Floyd, and then they played The Doors, they played Born to be Wild. People went wild, I drunk some tea and smiled.

There are some downsides, the usual calls of "Hello, how are you?" ring out from the mouths of the touts. They want to take you trekking, they want to sell you gems, they want to take you in their Rickshaw or in their taxi.

About ten times a day a shifty little man will appear next to you and whisper "Hashish" or "Smoke" or "You like good time? Massage?". Shifty men are always little, they must have a small door at the school of shift to exclude all the wanna be big shifties.

Today something bad happened. I went to the ATM for some cash. I was putting the cash in my bag. The ATM was beeping, the beeps ringing out take-your-card take-your-card but I was busy hiding away my money before returning to the street. The ATM ate my card.

If I was somewhere else I would have been upset, I would have a rubbish day. But not in Thamel. I went to the bank and I sat, waiting, I wasn't smiling, I was grinning. The machine ate my card and I was grinning, it didn't make sense, it doesn't make sense, I was just happy. I spoke to the bank man, he was helpful, nice, very friendly. I will go back tomorrow at 11am with my passport and they will return my bank card and, even though I am not less happy losing my card, I know I will be noticeably happier having it returned.

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Dan ( hearts ) Thamel
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