November 29, 2013

Patan, Nepal

Greetings from Indonesia! Yep we exchanged our Himalaya views for jungle views and are already obsessing over the cheap and delicious dishes of Indonesian nasi goreng and chicken satay as the tropical rain pours from the sky. And we have mentioned one friend from Amsterdam more than once who would be enjoying this deliciousness just as much (heeeyyyy Vany!).

I'm also working on a post of tips and favorite things we loved about Nepal but for now here are some pics of our day trip to the old city of Patan, which is only a $3 taxi ride from Thamel. Christian used our trusty Lonely Planet guide walking tour to get us around to all of the sneaky spots! 

Grab a drink at one of the rooftop bars around Patan's Durbar Square--the view is incredible.

November 25, 2013

Kathmandu, Nepal

After over 30 hours traveling to Kathmandu, we were exhausted and went to sleep at 5PM. Thanks to good ol' jetlag (and sleeping for 12ish hours) we were up before the sun came up and twiddled our fingers in our hostel until we started hearing the city wake up--time to go!

We first started at Monkey Temple...because I mean who doesn't love the idea of a monkey temple? :). It's officially known as Swayambhunath and climbing up the stairs to the top of this Buddhist temple, it was clear where the name came from....monkeys played around the footpaths, in the trees, climbed on smaller shrines and statues and once at the top, they walked around the grounds like they owned the place (some had baby monkeys clinging to their bellies too...cute!). 

Monkey Temple was awesome--tiny shrines and prayer wheels decorated with garlands of dried flowers and those monkeys! Some of them were evil little buggers too, hopping towards tourists who got too close and we saw one monkey swing onto an Indian woman are grab her food. 
Monkey: 1, Indian woman: 0.

Next up we walked back into the craziness of Kathmandu towards Thamel and to Durbar Square (not before I picked up a 20 cent samosa from a street vendor). We had no idea that we would be walking into a living Unesco museum. They even let you climb on these temples! There are actually 3 Durbar Squares around the Kathmandu valley and each one has their own kumari, who makes an appearance each day from one of the temples. We wandered in at the right time because we were able to get a glimpse of this dolled up little princess.

A kumari is a goddess who is chosen when she is 4-5 years old. Her and her family live in one of the palaces in Durbar Square until she reaches puberty then of which she is released from her duties to become a commoner again--and another kumari is chosen. Apparently there are 20-30 different characteristics a new kumari must have ranging from the sound of her voice to the shape of her eyes. When the new kumari is *almost* chosen, they will put her in a dark room and try to scare her with screams, fire, dead animal heads and if she truly is the kumari then she shows no fear. If she passes, then she is the new goddess.

Just around the corner from Durbar Square is Kathmandu's famous 'Freak Street', where the hippies chilled out in the 60's doing meditation, yoga, smoking hash and everything in between. Freak Street was the ultimate end on the famous 'Hippie Trail' not to mention it was frequented by Jimi Hendrix, Cat Stevens and Bob Marley. Damn it I wish I lived in the 60s :-/!

My favorite sight around Kathmandu (so far!) was Bodhnath Stupa, a Tibetan Buddhism temple right smackdab in the middle of interweaving alleyways leading to numerous Buddhist monasteries. This stupa is one of the largest centers of Tibetan Buddhism (and it's common to see Tibetan monks from nearby monasteries strolling around). Part of the stupa signifies water, fire and air while the upper portion displays Buddha's "all-seeing eyes", the 13 steps at the top represent Buddha's path to enlightenment and the spire at the top reaches up to the universe. We spent most of the afternoon on a rooftop terrace with a view of this magical place--and considering how close it is to the busy street, it's a peaceful break from the craziness of Kathmandu!

{Swayambhunath Buddhist Temple - the "Monkey Temple". Entry = 150 Rupees about $1.50}
{Kathmandu's Durbar Square. Entry = 750 Rupees about $7.50}
{The beautiful Bodhnath Stupa. Entry = 150 Rupees about $1.50}
{Freak Street!}

November 19, 2013

Namaste from Nepal

Greetings from Nepal!!

We are already one week into our Asia trip and it has been nothing short of magical...and already quite adventurous since the second we hopped in a cab at the airport.

Our trip started amongst the craziness of Kathmandu. We were overwhelmed with a divergence of cars, motorbikes, beeps, horns and monkeys dangling on electricity wires. But the smell of curry and incense in the air, friendliness of the people and the sheer realization of "we're in Nepal!" had us enjoying every minute of this beautiful country.

I'll touch up on the "adventure" part later (small hint: at the urging of our hostel and a few Nepalis we met along the way, we decided to get out of Kathmandu a day early to get away from a local election and political rallies!).

Right now we are relaxing in the small town of Pokhara, a hippie paradise nestled on a lake at the foot of the Himalayas. 

We will be here for the next week and after only being here for less than 2 days, we couldn't recommend this town enough!

Internet is dodgy, Nepalese momos (dumplings) are cheap and yoga is everywhere but for now enjoy a few snaps from our first day in Kathmandu.

November 13, 2013


Greetings from the new Mr and Mrs!! Yep we are married!

Just a quick update here as we just got off a plane from LA to Tokyo and then to Kuala Lumpur where we are currently camped out awaiting our flight to Kathmandu.

So what does this mean? Our 6 month backpacking trip around Asia has officially begun!

The last couple of weeks have been such a whirlwind of events, culminating with our Mexican wedding. The week couldn't have gone any better...friends and family trickled into the small town of Los Barriles on Baja's East Cape and we had a blast. Christian and his friends caught dorado (which was cooked up for the group by the local restaurant), drove quads, we swam under the stars, sipped on cocktails at the swim up bar, dressed up for our welcome Halloween party (and a live bat flew into one of the tables haha), danced like crazy at the bar in town, chilled out next to a beach bonfire, released baby turtles and got married :). And we did all of this (and more!) surrounded by 80 family and friends.

It was amazing.

One thing I loved about our wedding is that Liz was our photographer...early on we knew that having a friend be our photographer was the right way to go...and from the beginning, we knew Liz was the best choice. Before we took off for Asia, she sent over a few sneak peeks. I can't wait to see more!

But until then, check out a few of her beautiful snaps from our big day...

Thanks Liz!

{Photos by Liz Denfeld}
{My brother performed the ceremony}

{I was so happy that some of our small blogger group from Amsterdam was able to make it down to Mexico for our wedding :) Carly, Ellen, Liz, Jana and their guys}