Star Date: Nov/Dec 2018
Hello Dear Family & Friends!
lai kasto cha? Ramro cha."
"You don't always need a plan. Sometimes you just need to breathe.
Trust. Let go. And see what happens."
Sensory overload. Kathmandu, the exotic capital of Nepal, is a cacophony of colors, smells, tastes, and sights. Jumping into this city of 1 million is to be engulfed in a riotous explosion of gnarled traffic bellowing black exhaust, rogue bicycles, enormous Brama bulls, sidewalks packed with fearless pedestrians, vibrant markets, and wild rickshaw drivers. Once you fight your way through the traffic, the backstreets open to exotic medieval temples, cheeky sadus and monkeys, Thamel backpacker hangouts, peaceful gardens, such as The Garden of Dreams, and the ever welcoming, peace loving Nepali people. Namaste!
It is these beautiful people that have kept us coming back many times. Lost in a vortex between times we are reminded that the calendar in Nepal is 57 years ahead of ours. It is easy to lose track of time here. Nepal, once is never enough. Through the years in Nepal we have been traveling, teaching English in a school for girls and orphans, passing through from Tibet, hiking in the Annapurna mountains, getting lost in ancient temples, traveling from west to east by bus the length of the country, seeking the legendary Gorka people, gazing on the stately Himalayas; we have seen it all over the last 25 years. And yet it continues to call to us, like a siren singing sweetly from the "Roof Top of the World".
Over 30 years ago we met Ram Prasad Maharjan, adopted son of Swiss Pierre and Elizabeth, in Canada. Since then we have visited and met new wife Gundakesari, Ram's Mom, and watched Rosan and Sri Krishna grow as the rest of us got touches of grey. This wonderful family has shared their home and life with us many times. We have watched their house grow from 3 stories, to a now rooftop garden on the 5th floor; a great place from which to enjoy sunsets amid the garden or fly kites. When first built, near Gobi Krishna Cinema, outside Ring Road, it felt like in the country. Green fields were interspersed with houses and mud lanes. Since then the overpopulation of the city and the world has encroached on and eaten up any remaining countryside. Progress?
When we first visited Sri Krisna was 2 years old. Most eating was done on mats in the kitchen. In our honor 2 plastic chairs and a table appeared, to make us more comfortable. White toast and tea were served and the newly christened Raj (King Sri Krisna) expropriated one of the thrones. He then proceeded to try to eat a piece of royal toast with a newly acquired odd instrument called a spoon. He tried and tried, looking perplexed at this odd utensil and reverted back to the traditional method of eating with hands. Whenever they greeted us with hands folded, Sri Krisna would peek around his hands, not wanting to miss a single moment of observing these strange, interesting westerners who had turned his world upside down. Now fine grown young men, Rosan and Sri Krisna have followed in the footsteps of their smart, clever, kind parents. Preparing food together in their traditional kitchen and sharing meals is always a highlight of our stay in Kathmandu. Gudekesari makes some of the most mouth watering food in Nepal!
We also explore temples and walk for miles together on the back streets of this fascinating city. A surprise around every corner. "How far is it Ram? " " Just 5 minutes." Half an hour later... Traditionally we have always taken an adventure with Ram to Pokhara where he was the manager of a hotel, or hiking overnight in the mountains to gaze on the majesty of Machapuchre or up to the rim of Kathmandu Valley to Nagarkot.
This year we took a real serious adventure up to Kakani. Set atop a ridge at 2073m, just off the road to Trisuli Bazaar, Kakani is the quieter, more peaceful cousin of Dhulikhel and Nagarkot. From a series of high points along the ridge, there are magnificent views of the Himalayan skyline stretching all the way from Annapurna to Everest, via Manaslu, Ganesh Himal, Gauri Shankar, Dorje Lekpa and Shishapangma. Normally just a bumpy dirt road plagued by thundering buses and trucks, we encountered wheel deep mud in several places and were hoping and praying that all of the many worshipped Hindu gods were on our side. Having to get out and walk and barely making it through twice, through muddy patches capable of swallowing cars with a single gulp, added a thrill to the trip. We doubly appreciated reaching Kakani unscathed. From this mountain top the next level of mountains, the mighty Himalayas, including Everest, remind us how small we really are. Covered in heavy clouds we worked on our patience. Eating snacks and drinking tea we patiently awaited for the show to begin. And what a show it was. One by one the majestic peaks revealed themselves, only to be eaten up by clouds 10 minutes later. A gift from the gods for sure.
Back in Kathmandu we visited many temples, both Buddhist and Hindu. Kathmandu, also known as City of Temples stands at an elevation of approximately 1,400 meters (4,600 ft) above sea level, in the bowl-shaped Kathmandu Valley of central Nepal. Home of the Newar culture a cosmopolitan urban civilization in the Himalayan foothills, the valley was historically termed "Nepal Mandala". Once thought to be the fabled and inaccessible Shangri-La, Kathmandu is now home to traders, merchants and independent travelers of all budgets.
Home to seven world heritage sites the Durbar Squares of Hanuman Dhoka, Patan
and Bhaktapur; the Stupas
of Swayambhunath and Baudhanath; and the temples of Pashupati and
Changu Narayan; each a marvel in which to immerse yourself and
observe this unchanged ancient culture in action. From the
of Pashupatinath Temple to following in the footsteps of the
devoted Buddhist pilgrims circumambulating Boudanath Stupa, people
or sites of Kathmandu never disappoint.
Historic areas of Kathmandu were severely damaged by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake on 25 April 2015. Hearing the news we were worried for the wellbeing of our dear friends, Ram and family. Luckily modern technology allowed a message to get through on Face book. All safe and sound; although temporarily camping in the streets away from falling buildings. Thank you God, Allah, Krisna, Buda, in whatever form He or She may take. Sadly 9,000 people lost their lives. The idea of reincarnation seems to soften the blow of mortality and death in the minds of these gentle folks. Possibly some of these souls have been reincarnated just as many of the buildings have been restored, while other temples and buildings remain piles of brick rubble; a reminder of the awesome power of Nature.
And so it goes.........................................Next month more thoughts on the eye popping exotic capitol of Nepal, Kathmandu. Until then remember what the Nepali say: you don't always need a plan. Sometimes you just need to breathe. Trust. Let go. And see what happens. Thanks for joining us. We enjoy hearing from you and someday we look forward to our paths crossing. Take care!
Love, Light & Laughter,
$1.00US = 111.48 Nepalese Rupee
M Hotel Thamel
Kumari Marg, Jyatha
T: +977 1 4250454 | F:+977 01 266675 Mobile no +9779802053754
19/29 Kumari Marg, Jyatha
Thamel - Kathmandu - Nepal
Excellent hotel with friendly helpful staff and clean quiet rooms. Highly recommended. Book online for discount.
Bouddhanath - some entrances charge to get in. If you go into the shops sometimes you can continue on to the walkway around the stupa.
Cafe Du Temple
Great roof top restaurant - Fresh veg momo's
Vietnamese restaurant near by with tasty food and real live desserts like apple pie and chocolate cake
* Boudhanath information compliments of Wikitravel
Teaching English at Children's
Our visit 22 years ago. Time moves on.