Patan (pronounced Pahtan), once an independent kingdom now almost a suburb of Kathmandu. If you’re tired of hearing about my visit to Nepal then I’m just too freaking sorry, I’m not going to stop. I have too much of material collected through arduous photography and attempts at making friends with the locals.
Speaking of making friends with locals, met this dude in the bus on the way to Patan. He was extremely friendly and helpful, claimed to be a student and looked about 19 or 20. He insisted on buying my bus ticket and kindly offered to show me around Patan. And so, sitting together on the hot engine of a chugging old Indian bus we made friends.
He walked me to the Old city. Through alleyways that looked like something out of an old Bruce Lee movie, on the way we got to talking and he told me how he was from out of ‘the valley’ (meaning the Kathmandu area) and was boarded here to study medicine. He pointed out his college to me. It didn’t look much like i’d imagined a college to look like, but he said he was trying to get to the US for his degree. The boy had ambition.
A little bit too much ambition, as I discovered shortly after when i decided it was about time i set off on my own to explore this charming place. He refused to acknowledge my subtle hints that it was time we parted company. I used such time tested gems like ‘ah so keep in touch ah!’ ‘OK thanks so much for helping me out, i won’t keep you any longer’ etc. But he bulldozed all these away with ‘no’s and ‘please’s and ‘i’m your friend’ and I’m like what the?
There was no getting rid of him short of punching him in the face and/or running away. But I was in a foreign land and was rightly wary of attracting the wrong kind of attention. So I did the only thing I could do; rolled with it, hoping I’d get a chance to slip away soon.
That chance came when we went into the museum. The museum has a certain section that charges entry and shows you some of ‘the best sculptures in Asia sir!’. So I told my buddy that I was going in for a while and that I’ll see him later. He of course insisted on waiting. I decided to go in and try and find another way out. But that proved harder than I anticipated.
So I was wandering the upper floors looking through rows upon rows of bronze artefacts (all the important dieties were proportionally represented) while sneaking a peek through the occasional window that looked out through the courtyard across to what was increasingly becoming obvious was the only exit and entrance to the whole damn complex. My stalker friend was still there, patiently waiting.
After about 45 minutes of that I went along to the back of the complex and found my way through a tiny gate into what looked like an overgrown garden. But not before I had to surreptitiously pass under the very nose of my would-be pursuer on the way out of the museum proper. I was just about to jump over some bent looking barbed wire in the garden when I was hailed by a construction worker who showed me the way out, through a different exit!
I hurried over to a rooftop cafe, ordered some excellent burrito and had it with some coke and lime. I read my book and watched the sun set over the mountains with ancient Patan in the foreground. Somewhere inside a satisfied part of me thought about my patient friend still waiting for me inside the museum and sniggered. But on the whole I remained composed, right.