My tummy seems to have made a good recovery today, so I decide to tackle breakfast at the buffet downstairs. Afterwards, I walk into Thamel to change some money and to look for a suitable tour or activity to keep me occupied for the remaining 5 days I have after the others have left. On the way in, I haggle with a street trader for a panoramic poster of a sunset over the Annapurna range. Despite seeing it for a few rupees less in the very next shop I come to, I reckon I got a good price at around half what he originally asked. I change some money, but don’t get very far looking for tour operators. I’m thinking about some rafting, or maybe a mountain biking trip.
About mid-morning, James, Martin, Nicky, and I take a taxi from the hotel to Patan. There is no sign of Siling, although he had said he would meet us. On arrival, it seems that the whole of Patan wants to be our personal guide. We have to convince each hopeful that we have our guidebook and that we don’t need to employ a guide, thank you.
Another Durbar Square, and another batch of temples. At the Golden Temple, a monk invites us to the temple room upstairs and starts showing us his collection of photographs of visitors from over the years. Some of them are very old, judging from the faded appearance.
We continue and search out a wooden toy workshop that James found last time he was here, and James buys a wooden tuk-tuk from them. Ultimately though, we find relatively little to detain us in Patan.
Back in Thamel, I make a determined effort to seek out a suitable rafting trip. I’m tempted by the offer of canyoning and rafting on the Bhote Koshi river, offered by an agent called ‘The Last Resort’. I’m further tempted by the possibility of combining a biking trip to the Tibetan border, but they are relatively expensive compared to the available rafting-only trips. I decide to go for it anyway and book one day canyoning, one day rafting, and one day biking, all for the princely sum of $140, including accommodation, transport and food.
Returning to the hotel, Siling calls to apologise for his non-appearance in the morning—he overslept—and to say goodbye. He presents us each with a simple scalf as a Nepali way of bidding goodbye to friends. I’m very touched by the gesture.
Dinner with James, Nicky and Martin at Rum Doodles, where they went the evening I was sick. It is a very western-style ‘post trek’ restaurant, with messages and signatures left by many visitors on paper cut-out feet pasted to every conceivable piece of wall-space. The food is not at all bad.