Clueless in Kathmandu
I did it. I made it. I saw my first today. FINALLY! After days of staring into the haze, and worse, staring at stained guestroom walls, nursing a fevery strep throat, on the road in Nepal, I made it to the roof of the Namaste Guesthouse in Bhaktapur. And lo and behold- distance not diminishing their substantiality, their grandeur, I’ll dare to say, I saw the big guys, the 7000m+ guys- I let my eyes rest on the splendor that is the Ganesh Himal mountain range
Our first trek in Nepal took off from Malaysian territory
where we joined a long column of keyed up Nepalese migrant workers on the march to our Air Asia plane, destination Kathmandu. It’s a long time since we’ve seen people crane their necks to watch the safety demonstration, grapple with seat-belt buckles and toilet doors and exchange relieved congratulatory smiles after takeoff: First hints of a strange new world where soon, we’d be the curious and the clueless
Well, Nepal hasn’t disappointed in the wide-eyed wonder category. What a swirling whirling assault on our senses Kathmandu was…
First stop, the noble Durbar Square, where history and legends ooze from every sculptured tile and magnificent carving
and the silent presence of the “living Goddess” Kumari* adds enchantment to the ancient venue.
Here is a moving report about the Kumari tradition: The Kumari and the girl behind the goddess.
The vibrance, the wild kaleidoscopic dance- faces unknown and lives undiscovered- kept us breathless, (the bad air in Kathmandu did its part too), and on the streets, long after the obligatory sightseeing stops
What are they all up to? My curiosity is stung as I watch a continuous trickle of people dive unhesitatingly into an unmarked, rather sinister looking dark alley off chaotic Durbar Marg. I have to know and dive right in behind a group of school boys and two stately ladies in flashy red saris. The hidden courtyard is filled with people- all holding a small dish formed from leaves, and in various phases of scarfing down the most delicious, aromatic, feathery light samosas that have ever exited a deep fryer! I can personally testify to that- but I’d be happy to prove it many times over!
Such a feast calls for coffee, and this being the 21st century it’s not long before we stumble on a hole in the wall establishment with a coffee machine meant for business. We grin as we watch an weathered Nepalese lady in a well-worn floor length skirt, rough yak wool pullover and quilted slippers steer resolutely to the counter, order, and duly proceed to make short work of, a generous piece of black forest cake and a frothy cappuccino without missing a beat. Pulse of a globalized world……
*Meet the veritably angelic Kumari, who M swears stared directly at him from the small window above the courtyard, where we’d cluelessly joined a press of whispering tourists
(Photo courtesy of www.thelongestwayhome.com.) Thank you