Stumbling across an interesting music shop tucked away in a small, shady side street was probably the most amusing event that happened in our day without plans! Inside the shop were instruments that we have never seen, let alone heard of. There was a rather alien-looking instrument that was a cross between a guitar and a mini-keyboard. To play it, we had to pluck the strings on the lower end of the instrument to create sound, whilst instead of frets we could press wide, piano-like keys to change the pitch.
Other instruments included several huge drums, Tibetan style violins, sitars and Tibetan trumpets. Jon made himself heard by squeaking out a brief fanfare, before laughing as usual! He also gave the sitar a go, but it was the trumpet that was the real success.
Other than this, of course we drank more lassi but we also organised our escape route from Nepal back into India. This was none-too-easy, as I'm sure you will already know, as Nepal is in the midst of a particularly volatile political situation. The golden rule for foreigners is NOT to get caught up in a Maoist demonstration. We had managed to do exactly this only a few hours after arriving... The strikes and turmoil caused by Maoist insurgents mean that our bus journey back into India will not be possible. How on earth will we make it to Delhi in time to fly onwards to Jordan? Well, keep following and all will soon be revealed! (We are OK!).
We also decided to visit some other fascinating locations in the Kathmandu Valley. Pashupatinath seemed like a mini version of Varanasi: an array of Hindu temples, Sadhus (some sporting trendy shades and being more interested in baksheesh than spiritual devotion), and burning ghats where there was a constant flow of funeral rites. And then we met a gentleman with impeccable English, great anecdotes and perfect good manners. Had he been a Gurkha we wondered? Yes, of course, and in the course of our lengthy chat he described his time in England and service in his regiment. On then we moved to Boudha to visit the Tibetan community in exile, with the massive stupa, prayer wheels, monks of all ages adorned in their red robes, and the thriving monastic communities. Perhaps on another trip we'll make it into Tibet?