The other thing about Ghorka being so rural is that it is filled with villagers who seem like they've never seen a foreign person before in their life. Everywhere I went I was stared at and laughed at. It's a very alienating feeling. I'm not talking about curious glances, I'm talking about hard-core staring. On my first day there, I went for a walk around town and I was reposing on a stone wall, smoking a cigarette and writing in my journal, and a woman coming up the hill stopped dead in her tracks and stared at me for a full 30 seconds. I got kind of wierded out, so I smiled and said "Namaste", to which she smiled back and said "Namaste", then took 3 steps up the hill and turned around and stared again. She didn't stop until I got up and walked away.
That being said, Ghorka is a beautiful place. I hiked up to the top of the hill to a temple at the Ghorka palace. The climb nearly killed me but it was worth it. Apparently twice a month they sacrifice goats and chickens up there and there was dried blood all over the place. I also saw some villagers skinning a beheaded goat in their front yard on my way up the hill. By the time I was headed down, they were hacking up the ribs. It reinforced my vegetarianism.
Here is Rani Pokhari (Queen's Pond). You can't see them, but to the right of this picture was a group of 4 girls staring and laughing at me.
I was going to get some food, and it had just started sprinkling. I was standing in the doorway of my guest house watching the street and it got real windy and everyone was running around like crazy, closing up their shops, running home, the portable ice cream stand guy was hauling ass down the road and I didn't get it. Why are they all freaking out? It's just a little wind. So I set out. I made it about 300 yards away when it starting hailing stones the size of golf balls. I was stuck out in the hail with another guy, getting pelted, when a nice watch repairmen let us into his shop to wait it out. When it was over, I went back to the guest house and kids everywhere were ecstatic. The kids of the house brought me up to the roof to look at more hail, and their neighbors were having a rooftop hail war from opposite sides of the street. It was classic.
The ride back to Kathmandu took forever but here is an awesome shot of a goat on the bus. Three of them came on mid-journey.
I am back in Kathmandu. I'm here for 5 days, then I head to Beijing. Joon's going to meet me after about one week. I'll be doing some day trips from here; there's lots to see in the Kathmandu Valley. So far the weather's been nice- raining in the afternoon/evening and sunny with clean air in the mornings.