As expected we had a 6.30am knock on the door in order to ensure we were awake in time to see the sunrise over Everest. I managed a shower before Sue and opened our balcony door to watch this much talked about event, scheduled to happen at 6.50am. Disappointingly, the hotel was cloaked in mist, I did manage a photo of the sun peeping over the side of a black craggy slope for brief moment and then it was gone. We didn’t manage to see the Everest range at all during the day.
We breakfasted with a few of our party and a small group of locust Chinese before returning to our room and yet again packing in readiness for our return journey to Kathmandu.
We weren’t leaving until midday so we decided on a walk through the village around a kilometre away. It had warmed up considerably and was turning out to be a very pleasant day, it was a lovely way to spend some time. The views as the mist burned away were wonderful, but still no Everest range! We took photos of village life as they prepared for a days work, stopping for a while at the bus stop where locals were milling around waiting for the driver to start the engine. People rushed out of many dark little huts that doubled up as morning cafes as the horn sounded on the vehicle and the engine burst into life. A minor panic but the driver waited until it was full to the gunnels with brightly coloured Nepalese. As they left we made our way to the top of a small hillock and took some more photos. We were soon joined by two more of our party and after a brief chat we set off back to the hotel, stopping only to talk to a couple from Shanghai and swapped horror stories of the traffic in that mega-city.
All the group congregated around the mini-bus at 12 o’clock. Only four of us were to transported back to Kathmandu today, the others would follow tomorrow as their flights differed from ours. We said our goodbyes and set off down the mountain.
We stopped in Bhaktapur, one of the oldest cities in the Kathmandu and visited the old Royal Palace. Tragically some of the buildings had been destroyed by the 2015 earthquake but UNESCO had already put in place a comprehensive restoration programme, so many of the buildings had been strengthened and those that had collapsed were being worked on. Many of the buildings originate from the 13th century and are decorated with some beautiful architecture. Such a shame we hadn’t seen it before the quake or indeed after the restoration was complete. However, it was a lovely day and lovely opulent place to wander around.
We joined the city traffic and made our way to the Rama Inn in Kathmandu. After checking in we had a coffee before making our way through the choking traffic fumes into the shopping district. Nothing had changed from the week or so before. The volume of traffic was still killing the city and its population and the many that were wearing masks seemed to me to be only putting off the inevitable. Something drastic has to be done but I am not sure that their unpopular government has the courage or morality to do so.
We shuffled our way down the narrow streets popping into various darkly lit buildings, trying to avoid smoking mopeds and struggling rickshaws. I bought a t-shirt and Sue tried on a coat. We found a roof-top bar and quaffed some much-needed refreshment and gazed at the moon and Venus, sailing brightly across the black void above. It was chilly and though there was a few patrons enjoying drinks when we arrived, we were soon alone and wrapping coats tightly around us. At this height, the change from warm to cold is pretty rapid.
Once again negotiating traffic through a toxic fug we made our way back to the hotel, aided at two junctions by the poor traffic police standing in the middle of the lung cancer zone, who thankfully recognised us as foreigners and frantically blew their whistles to slow the traffic. It worked, I guess the fines here are pretty horrendous if they obey a screechy tin whistle, and take no notice of blaring juggernaut horns!
Back at the hotel we had an excellent final Nepalese meal before catching up on BBC24 news and pressing the pillows.