After a week we had enough of Kathmandu (the polution, traffic and noise started to really bother us) and headed out to Bhaktapur. During my first visit in '88, I remember bicycling there … today that would border on suicidal. If you don't get hit by a car, you'd surely die of lung cancer.
The center is still as nice as I remember it though and we stayed for two nights in a beautiful guest house, right on one of the temple squares. That allowed us to get back to our room for some school work in the late morning, just as the tour busses arrive from Kathmandu and dump hundreds of tourists into the narrow streets. In the early mornings, and especially in the evenings, we had the temples almost for ourselves.
It went remarkably well with the kids during the two days. What really helped was that we let them out of the guest house and into the square without us constantly watching over them. They immediately found local kids to play with and spent hours with water ballons and chasing each other around the temples. When I stuck my head out of our window this morning at 7:00am, two of the kids were already waiting outside, demanding that I sent Finn and Lara out to play with them.
The only thing that didn't go over so well with our kids was how remarkably clearly they were beaten at almost anything …. even though mostly younger, the local kids were much faster, stronger and tougher. Lara tried to argue that she is didn't really try to win the races, while Finn rationalized his loses: “of course they are faster, they are Sherpas and train at high altitude!” 😉