Where We Be
The walled Garden of Dreams feels a hundred miles away from the hustle and bustle of Kathmandu
Garden of Dreams -- Kathmandu, Nepal
This koi pond forms the centerpiece of the Garden of Dreams
Elegant formal garden with an Asian feel, set off in a secluded corner
Kaiser Cafe at the Garden of Dreams offered some of the best food of our entire trip
One of two delicious entrees: grilled vegetable shish kebab on a bed of rice with a sauce of marinara and pesto
Softly lit garden pavilion as dusk falls
Our refuge during this long week was the Sacred Valley Inn, where we spent the vast majority of our time. The rooftop terrace was a nice place for breakfast or lunch.
Hotel restaurants were allowed to feed their guests even during the strike, although the choice of food dwindled as fresh food items became more scarce.
Beginning on May 2, not just Garden of Dreams but every other business and form of transport was shut down
for a week! This is a major street in Thamel (Kathmandu's tourist hub) and you'll rarely see it looking this deserted.
This is the snazzy inside dining area at Sacred Valley -- as you can see, we didn't suffer too badly during the week-long strike
We got to know the cooks and wait staff at Sacred Valley pretty well
This little patio on the second floor was our favorite place for "happy hour." We stocked up on
several bottles of red wine from Australia -- a luxury in Nepal -- during one of the strike "windows."
Just one of dozens of pretty flower gardens
The Kaiser Cafe is set in this elegant building and offers lovely patio dining
Joyful statue of a baby elephant with its mother
We stared at this same TV tray painting each day during
happy hour (you can just see it in the photo to the left)
We walked from our hotel to the nearby Garden of
Dreams, a lovely walled garden with statues, koi
ponds, flowers, and lounging mats on the grass.
Some people come here and spend the whole day
reading books and relaxing. We only had a short
time as the sun set, but it was still very beautiful.
After touring the gardens, we ate at Kaiser Cafe
within the premises and had what was probably
our best meal of the whole trip: crepes forestiere
and a grilled vegetable shish kebab on rice. Yum!

The Garden of Dreams and every other business
and form of transport nationwide closed the next
day, May 2, as part of the Maoists'  "indefinite
strike," which ended up lasting a week. Special
tourist-only buses traveled to and from the airport
but that was it -- you couldn't get anywhere else in
the country. We stayed put at our hotel, watching
the huge street protests on TV, which occasionally
turned violent. But after the first day of the strike,
the Maoists allowed shops to open from 6-8 pm
each day for "essential provisioning," and during
that two-hour window the Thamel tourist district of
Kathmandu came alive again! Nearly all shops
opened up (who's to say a pashmina shawl isn't an
essential supply?). To keep from going stir-crazy,
we took a walk around the block each evening and
had dinners at nearby restaurants for some variety.
We loved this bowl with shades of pink and purple flowers set on a wood table as the sole centerpiece in a room
Meanwhile, the Maoists (seen marching here) were staging protests and preparing for a general strike which ended up lasting a whole week