What did I expect coming to Patan? Well, I did not expect a toilet (i was told it would be a hole in the ground) or five different lights in my room (including one which changes from blue to purple to melatonin-producing yellow). I didn’t expect to be crossing in front of fast motorcycles, or my house, seven floors tall and very narrow. I did expect the diarrhea and the lack of toilet paper and my longing for, oh, just one juice-dribbling-down-my-chin bite of quiche. I also expected the pollution, the constant sound outside my bedroom window of coughing followed by spit, and fighting dogs, the fake Nike shoes– Nkie, they’re called. Those are all typical to a city in a developing country. I’d been warned about the trash and traditional gender roles. But not that, rather than shareholder or lawyer or construction worker, my baba’s job would be stone carver. That the principle employer here seems to be artisanry. And where else in the world are there 2,200 temples in one valley? How do they all fight in such a tight space?
Tightly, it turns out.
Here, temples preceding the rise of Rome are commonplace, used as an open area for bathing. That cloaked in smog and surrounded by favela-style buildings still squeaky from post-earthquake renovations stands a fifty foot gold temple. And I only found it because I took a wrong turn on my way home.