Our plan was to find a hotel before it got dark and then track down a garage but Pedro had other ideas. One particularly steep and busy hill was too much for him, he died and refused to restart, causing a major traffic jam! Enter Sonam, who enlisted the help of some 20 or 30 people to push us up the hill to a safe stopping point. Then he helped us track down a garage. Much to our surprise we found there is a thriving VW scene in Nepal. Most of them were driven here by hippies in the 60's.
The garage crew were like a well oiled pit crew. They had Pedro jacked up, wheels off and checking everything in seconds. A compression test on the engine showed, err, none. So out it came for further investigation. I'd been driving for 5 days with virtually no brakes so I was delighted when they found a new master cylinder to fit, along with a new handbrake cable...it had become rather stretched from overuse when the footbrake wasn't enough.
Pedro's back end has been grounding out on every bump for the last few days. I suspected new shock absorbers were in order but hey just needed adjusting. He also had new rubber bushes, a new wheel bearing, new ball joints, a new clutch.
The mechanics father still works with his son in the garage despite his 70 years and did an expert job stripping the engine. Oil was leaking from around the "push rods" (forgive my lack of mechanical knowledge). They also replaced the piston rings while the engine was apart and cleaned everything.
Pedro was in the garage for 3 days but now drives like new! We were so lucky to make it as far as Kathmandu and we found Shantu Maharjhan and his father. True enthusiasts who went over Pedro with a fine tooth comb finding and fixing every little problem. The other Baja on the rally broke down in Kazahkstan where there was no help available and had to call it a day. I really feel for them, it could so easily have been the same story for us. I'm very grateful for the flower power generation driving their bugs here in the 60's and creating such a cool VW community here!
So after spending 3 days hanging around the garage and sorting paperwork for Tibet that left us just a few short hours for sight-seeing! We've been staying in the Thamel area which is a really cool area to hang out in. Loads of cheap shops selling hippie clothes, prayer flags, Tibetan singing bowls, Thanka's, rugs, tea and brand name trekking gear of dubious origin.
We only had time to visit one other area of the town so we chose Durbar square which is full of temples, shrines and touts trying to sell flutes, bags, necklaces, anything you want, or don't want really.