Earlier in the day we visited the Durbar Squares of Kathmandu and Patan. Durbar means palace and there are three different Durbar Squares in the Kathmandu valley for the three ancient city state kingdoms in the area. We looked for breakfast when we first entered Kathmandu square and found a western style coffee shop near the edge. There was a small selection of pastries at the counter and a vegetable sandwich wrapped in plastic.
My fiance saw this sandwich and lusted for the taste of safe vegetables. We were warned that vegetables in this area of the world are washed in tap water that can make us sick and that we should just avoid eating that part of our diet unless served thoroughly cooked. She saw this and thought "ooh, it's in plastic, it's safe." I saw it and thought, "oh... okay, I guess I'll trust her judgment on this." After a few bites she said "I already regret getting this." Afterwards, her stomach did not feel right but it did not seem to make her actively sick. Part of me thinks that the realization that it could have made her sick manifested itself into general uneasy feelings.
This Durbar Square had a lot of damage and many of the previously open areas were closed off as "Danger Zones" for fear of falling debris. Newly constructed scaffolding was in place to repair the badly cracked palace buildings. Despite all of the damage, it is hard to tell where the towers that completely collapsed were located and there are still many many different amazing, large structures to see. The buildings that are part of the palace are enormous and do have some damage but appear repairable and many of the temples appear to be in very good shape. One of the temples my fiance was most interested in seeing was not accessible because the entrance into the courtyard was damaged and not safe to walk through.
This Durbar square had a lot of vendors and people offering their services as guides around the square and they were very intrusive, especially because the numbers of western tourists coming to the square are drastically down since the earthquakes and they are all hungry to offer their services. We did talk to one very nice man who was generous with information to help us find the reclining Vishnu and another temple near the deity that we ultimately could not find through heavy rain. We didn't ultimately stay in the square for very long and returned to our apartment to recover from our disastrous breakfast.
After the crowdedness and danger of motorcycles and sandwiches at Kathmandu Durbar Square, we went back to the Patan Durbar for lunch and to visit the Patan National Museum. The Museum is in what was once the palace for the kings of the Patan city state and houses historical works of art that chronicle Hindu, Buddhist and an older religion of the area. It also highlighted the metal work famous in Patan and some of artifacts from the Palace.
They had an amazing selection of cultural art works, many of which we found especially interesting. I was worried early in our sight seeing of the museum because the first pieces were not very impressive, but as we continued up to the third floor there were more and more amazing pieces. There was an amazing tapestry of a story of Krishna that is brought out of the museum once a year for a big celebration. This tapestry is displayed next to the royal throne that was used by the king of Patan. I was very impressed by the english language placards informing on everything in the museum as they were both interesting and well written. They truly have a well-educated curator of the museum. We were able to learn about things that had perplexed us like the many symbols reminiscent of the star of david that we have seen around Nepal that, it turns out, signifies the lotus flower. After the museum we went back to the Third World Restaurant and settled our stomachs before venturing to find a cab ride to the reclining Vishnu.