It started with us saying namaste to a man in a doorway. He put his hands together, bowed, smiled, and invited us in. With heavy hiking boots we trudged inside, and were greeted by a beautiful mandala hung on a white wall.
Our scavenger hunt had tasked us to find what a thangka was. In stumbling Nepalese we asked the artist for his help. Smiling warmly he responded in English and told us the rich history of thangkas in Nepal. But soon our conversation changed. We were no longer focused on finishing our hunt, for the man had now sat down to talk about art. But not about his, but about ours, or rather, the art that he thought we would create when we could do lessons with him.
After 15 minutes we left with a healthy amount of knowledge on Nepali art, and we walked down onto the street and right to a temple. Behind it lay a broken home, a reminder of the 2015 earthquake that weecked the Kathmandu Valley. As part of our scavenger hunt we had to draw this temple, but were soon joined by a local potter who was selling in Pottery Square. He approached with a namaste and soon was cracking jokes with us while weaving the history of Bhaktapur and the temple into our conversation. This too finished after 15 minutes and we were on our way to finish the scavenger hunt. We ultimately succeeded in our tasks and celebrated with a masala milk tea on the rooftop overlooking Durbar Square. We took in the Square, the city, and the energy of the people. On our way back to our guest house, dodging motorcycles but still chatting about our day, we said our goodbyes to our first day in Bhaktapur city.