After breakfast this morning, I stopped in at the hotel’s hairdresser to get my head shaved, and Tali had the idea that I should start growing out a small squared patch of hair on my otherwise bald head, just below the crown of my head, called a sikha, common to Hindu and Buddhist monks, as well as to Arabs in Morocco, Cossacks in the Ukraine, and to other cultures all over the world.
Sikhas are traditionally a sign of focus on one’s spiritual goals, and I happily embrace this meaning for myself. So now I’ve begun, and will periodically report on how it’s going. If I can grow my spiritual understanding as quickly as I can grow my sikha, I shall be overjoyed!
Afterward, we took a taxi to explore the small streets and alleys bordering Kathmandu Durbar Square, including the traditional markets of Asan Tole. While we were walking down one alley, a motorcyclist hit my elbow and shoulder hard enough to cause his bike to wobble, but didn’t even turn around to see how I was! Fortunately, I seem to be fine, though my neck has gotten a bit stiff. As it looked to be on the verge of a rainstorm, we took a taxi back to Thamel, to go to OR2K for lunch. Shortly after we arrived at the restaurant, it began to rain…and rain…and rain! Finally, at about 6pm, the rain relented a bit, and we decided to venture outside.
The streets were so wet, that we were getting splashed by the passing vehicles, rained on, and dripped on from the overhanging roofs of the narrow streets – a trifecta of wet! We soon decided to call it a day and took the taxi from hell back to the hotel. O.K., just three examples of why this was the taxi from hell…how about a cab driver who stops wherever he sees a potential fare, and yells out the window, asking if they’d like to get in (while we’re still in the cab…)? Or a cabbie who decides to join a long queue for petrol, while we’re still in the cab? Or a cab with the windshield so fogged up that the cabbie just leans on the horn for the entire trip, hoping that everyone will get out of his way, because he can see absolutely nothing in front of him? Somehow, though, he made it, and we gratefully decamped as quickly as we could!