Today, was very relaxed. Kristy and I ventured back in to the Thamel area, for a little shopping therapy and to visit the tailor that I had found a couple of days previously. He was busy with some Irish customers when we arrived. A Mum, daughter and niece were all having outfits made for a wedding back in Ireland. One of our favorite expressions for our trip came from this encounter. I commented on how nice the mother's dress was and asked her what she was going to wear with it. She informed us in her lilting accent that she would wear one of the lovely "Pasmini's" that she had bought here in Nepal. From then on pashmina shawls all became pasmini's to us!
The tailor's little shop was dark and dingy. However he was very professional and the actual experience of chatting, looking through old vogue books and at the bolts fabric that lined one wall of his shop was enough to satisfy us. The fact that we were going to get some new clothes and very good prices was a bonus. He informed us that he had trained in London and that he did quite a bit of work for people at Consulates and Embassies. I would say he was in his mid 30's. We paid our deposits and he promised to have the garments ready when we arrived back from our trek.
Our next discovery was just a couple of blocks away from the tailors. This was a small Tibetan jewellers. There are many jewellers in the Thamel area, for some reason we were attracted to this shop. As we looked at the display in the shop we got chatting to the jeweller, he started to tell us his story of escaping from Tibet to Darjeeling in the late 1950's. This became the first of a number of visits that I made to this jewellers, to buy a couple pieces of jewellery, introduce others from our group to him and to listen to his stories. He had such a gentle yet very interesting and intelligent demeanour, and it was great to hear his stories and opinion on the present day situation in Nepal and Tibet and their relationships with China.
After this "intense" morning of shopping it was time to discover another gem close to the Thamil area, The Garden of Dreams. Over the past seven years a government project has seen the renovation of these gardens from a state of serious neglect and disrepair. It was a lovely sanctuary away from the hustle and bustle of the centre of Kathmandu. As we sat amongst the pools and fountains eating a delicious chicken sandwich, the only reminder of the chaos outside was the sound of the car horns at a nearby intersection.
It was then time to head back to our hotel where we would meet the other people going on our trek and to get ready for our big night at Krishnarpan. (story for another blog!!)