the traffic here in kmd is chaotic (some might even call it a melee). i know what you may be thinking. 'it must be as bad as dallas traffic during rush hour.' psh. in dallas there are lanes and traffic laws that are actually heeded. traffic regs here are broken constantly and any law is more like a suggestion. here, instead of staying to the right, vehicles stay to the left. most of the streets are hundreds of years old and were designed for walking, not driving. often they are to narrow for two cars to pass each other. as a result, there are over 200,000 motorcycles in a city of 500,000 people. motos are the most popular form of transportation because they can squeeze in anywhere and weave in and out of moving traffic. horns are constantly honking. a horn is used to notify a person, bike or car ahead that they are about to be passed by another vehicle. often a car will honk a horn to warn people not to step into the road. walking on the sreets has become a stressful experience due to cars and motos passing within a foot of you, and the lack of sidewalks. but as long as everyone follows the same absolute, crazy standards while driving and walking, then there sould be no problem. (unless, of course, you are a relativist and decide to make up your own rules simply because you can. though to do so in this case would put you in the morgue.) all that said, riding motorcycles in kmd is a blast!
rabyn and bijen came and picked up sally and i to go purchase a guitar for the girls at the orphanage. we cruised to Thamel, an area popular among tourists with very old, narrow streets lined with shops and vendors of all sorts. we found a tiny music shop and bought a guitar. from there, we went to whats been nicknamed the 'monkey temple'. its primarily a buddhist temple, but there is also a strong hindu presence. you have to ascend a long stone staircase to the top of the hill to reach the stupa. a stupa is a sort of shrine common to buddhism. there were monkeys everywhere. rabyn sat next to a buddha statue to have his picture taken, only to have a monkey jump onto his back. we think the monkey was guarding his 'territory', which rabyn clearly invaded. obviously the monkey was buddhist since he was guarding the buddha statue. the top of the staircase offers excellent views of kmd valley. we walked around the stupa in a clockwise direction because this is the way its supposed to be done. after touring the place, we had some tea and left. we got back on the bikes and headed home.
i can see myself having a motorcycle later in life. it must be in my genes. it was the most adventure ive felt since being in kmd and it felt great. (i will post pics for this update when i can, check back.)