Bhaktapur, Nepal (Revised)
Though just a few kilometers outside Kathmandu, the town of Bhaktapur feels a little bit like a different country. This is due largely to the city's loosely-enforced regulation of motor cars and motorcycles within the city walls, making it something of a quiet oasis. The town is home also to significant craftspeople (wood carving, paper, fabrics).
I secured a reservation in the much sought after room-at-the-top of the Bhadgaon Guest House at the princely sum of $26 (US) per night, including breakfast. The room boasted a private sitting terrace and a first class view of the tallest temple of Nepal, the Nayatapola Temple. It also boasted "hot" water, which we experienced only rarely.
It was at the Bhadgaon, too, that we met Binod and Hari (pictured), who will inspire us long after we leave. Both boys work about 20 hours a day, everyday, but do so with inspiring enthusiasm. They sing! One morning, when we could not get the promised hot water, Binod eagerly sprang up to our room sang to himself some Nepali folk tune as he fiddled with the plumbing and fixed the problem.
Why do I find them inspiring? The enthusiasm with which they greet their jobs. I know that nobody wants to hear me sing at work (could be grounds for a hostile work environment lawsuit), but it's good to be reminded that there are other, better ways to greet the drudgery of work.