Arrival in Kathmandu and First Day

We left WPB 7AM on 10/27, we arrived at our hotel by 10PM on 10/28. It was a total of 26 hours of travel but we lost 10 hours which means 10/28 is already gone. There is a 10 hour time difference here - we are 10 hours ahead of NY time. It's 730AM and everyone is up knocking on doors, arranging luggage and getting anxious to start our first day in Kathmandu. Jeff arrived late last night and missed dinner so he was the first one up and went down for an early breakfast the rest of us are meeting on the first floor at 8AM. After we all have breakfast we're heading out to see a few of the sites close to the hotel. It's going to be an easy day acclimating to the 5,000ft elevation, climate and time difference.

The Royal Singi Hotel includes a full buffet breakfast with the room. Everyone filled up on Himalayan coffee, tea, omelets, bacon, ham, vegi mix, rice, salad, cheese, cereal, yogurt, fruit and lots of traditional breakfast foods. We gathered our bags and met up with our tour director and guides in the lobby. We were very happy to see Kusang Sherpa, our trekking guide we met last year and we metTej, our historical expert. We had a nice Toyota 10 passenger van to take us to Darbar Square and the royal palace. We walked through the old 11th century area of Kathmandu, Tej explained every detail about the architecture and mixture of Buddhist and Hindu religious significance. Everywhere you look there are tiny carvings on the buildings, ceremonial bells, flowers and incense burning. We are in the middle of Tihar holiday celebration so there were extra decorations on many of the buildings. Tej took us through several open squares, around small and large temples, he explained the statues and so many details our heads were swimming with new information. After our walk through the palace we stopped at a small café and had a bite to eat. Everyone enjoyed sampling all the different dishes and washed it down with Everest beer.
After a rest we loaded back into the van and they took us to the Swoyumnath, Monkey Temple. It's a 14th century temple perched high on top of a hill. We walked up the long flight of steps to the top, circles the Buddhist prayer wheels and walked through the religious shrines. It was a beautiful day so it was a little crowded as everyone wanted to take in the view of Kathmandu valley from the top of the hill. Nepali Buddhist temples always have the eyes of Buddha on the top giving it a very mysterious look. We enjoyed a nice visit and Tej explained so many of the features and history of the temple. We walked back down the steps and into the van that was waiting for us. It was 5PM so we got stuck in the rush hour traffic but we made it back to the hotel and the slow ride gave us time to take in all the sites of the city. there are so many details to look at - the stores, the people, the vehicles, the buildings and the monkeys.
Back at the hotel we split up. Rich and Cele took a walk, Mary and Lisa headed down the street, Rick and Cordella went a quest find a place to copy his one business card he had with him and Madhav waited in the hotel for Sunita and Kenal who were coming to visit with us. More later...

UPDATED: 2018-11-20 07:58:33