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Archive for September 17th, 2009

Sari, bindi, and monkey

There is something about a beautiful women donned in a gorgeously flowing and brightly colored sari riding side saddle on a motorcycle that is well, just something to behold. Add a bindi low on her forehead indicating she is likely single,  and well, one can only fantasize. As I looked at one such women, I realized she new she was beautiful; not that she thought she was attractive in some western boob job way, but rather that she inherently just knew; knew at a core level.  When she clasped her hands, smiled, and bowed I only had one thought: God, I would love to have that type of grace in my own life.
A good many or maybe most, I believe, of the motorcycle flying around are actually local taxi. I have not jumped on the back of one yet, but yes I plan to.  And boy can these people ride.  Remember what I said about South Korea and the crazy driving?  I was wrong, very very wrong.  The people of Kathmandu would eat the Korean’s lunch in any kind of driving competition. That whole thing about cross walks, traffic lights, and side walks was a fantasy from another time and place. There is a system however.  I hired a rickshaw for an hour and requested that he simply return to the same spot (I could see my room). thus avoiding getting lost again.  Priorities go like this: motorcycles, cars, bicycles, rickshaws, carts (you name it, they push it), pedestrians, goats, dogs.  Oh yea, cows can do what ever the hell they want; the Hindu’s believe they are holy and many Buddhist don’t eat em.  When walking and you come to a hill, it is considered good manors to help push the rickshaws along.  I like pushing rickshaws.
Left at sunrise for the pilgrimage with the locals to the Monkey Temple.  365 steps that were more like a ladder as I dripped sweat like a Harley leaks oil. Amazing place where Hindu and Buddhist worship side by side in this joint (coexistence note to:  Christians, Jews, and Muslims) temple atop a hill over looking the Kathmandu valley. Holy men offered prayer and comfort for those in need, monks chanted while fondling prayer beads, dogs ate from trash piles, candles burned by the thousands, incence filled the nostrils unil they burned,  and monkeys also did what ever the hell they wanted.
A land of extremes; yes it can be hot, humid, filthy, poor, and depressing, but it is comfortable, beautiful, and alive. A land of faith where over a thousand people met at the temple before 8am to turn prayer wheels, sprinkle rice offerings on the monuments, and pay homage to their past, present and future. Where   parents hold their children lovingly while they sweep the dirt street in front of their homes and places of work – where everyone on the street offers a friendly “Namate” (meaning- the divinity in me bows to the divinity in you).  I love this country, these peopleM
Monkey Tempel, Kathmandu, Nepal
monkey on statue

There is something about a beautiful women donned in a gorgeously flowing and brightly colored sari riding side saddle on a motorcycle that is well, just something to behold. Add a bindi low on her forehead indicating she is likely single,  and well, one can only fantasize. As I looked at one such women, I realized she new she was beautiful; not that she thought she was attractive in some western boob job way, but rather that she inherently just knew; knew at a core level.  When she clasped her hands, smiled, and bowed I only had one thought: God, I would love to have that type of grace in my own life.

A good many or maybe most, I believe, of the motorcycle flying around are actually local taxi. I have not jumped on the back of one yet, but yes I plan to.  And boy can these people ride.  Remember what I said about South Korea and the crazy driving?  I was wrong, very very wrong.  The people of Kathmandu would eat the Korean’s lunch in any kind of driving competition. That whole thing about cross walks, traffic lights, and side walks was a fantasy from another time and place. There is a system however.  I hired a rickshaw for an hour and requested that he simply return to the same spot (I could see my room). thus avoiding getting lost again.  Priorities go like this: motorcycles, cars, bicycles, rickshaws, carts (you name it, they push it), pedestrians, goats, dogs.  Oh yea, cows can do what ever the hell they want; the Hindu’s believe they are holy and many Buddhist don’t eat em.  When walking and you come to a hill, it is considered good manors to help push the rickshaws along.  I like pushing rickshaws.

Left at sunrise for the pilgrimage with the locals to the Monkey Temple.  365 steps that were more like a ladder as I dripped sweat like a Harley leaks oil. Amazing place where Hindu and Buddhist worship side by side in this joint (coexistence note to:  Christians, Jews, and Muslims) temple atop a hill over looking the Kathmandu valley. Holy men offered prayer and comfort for those in need, monks chanted while fondling prayer beads, dogs ate from trash piles, candles burned by the thousands, incence filled the nostrils unil they burned,  and monkeys also did what ever the hell they wanted.
india women at monkey temple
Hindu women and child at Monkey Temple

A land of extremes; yes it can be hot, humid, filthy, poor, and depressing, but it is comfortable, beautiful, and alive. A land of faith where over a thousand people met at the temple before 8am to turn prayer wheels, sprinkle rice offerings on the monuments, and pay homage to their past, present and future. Where   parents hold their children lovingly while they sweep the dirt street in front of their homes and places of work – where everyone on the street offers a friendly “Namate” (meaning- the divinity in me bows to the divinity in you).  I love this country, these people.

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Thanel Distric, Kathmandu, Nepal

I was not worried about security, but that was the scariest place I have ever lay my head.  The hotel where I tried to stay was fully booked,  but they offered to put me up next door and allow me to use all of their facilities; fair enough as their place was pretty nice. Next door, however, was differnt.  Having not slept for well over 30 hours, I did not care as I handed over my $9,000 rupees (~$12,00USD). Where to start with this room – I am pretty sure it had not been occupied for months, the toilet seat was dangling beside the crapper, the shower had a steady stream of water coming out the only hole in the head that flowed any water, and the bucket on the floor was there, I presume, to catch the water as the drain could not keep up with even this minimal flow. The bed was basically a platform with a blanket and I would  have broke out the thermarest and slept on the floor had I been coherent. The sheets were torn and stained, but appeared clean. The electrical outlets and most of the lights did not work…… I could go on, but why. I slept hard.
It happened AGAIN.  This time it took a bicycle rickshaw to delivery back to my room as I got hopelessly lost.  And again, I was less than a block away from my room, but with the night falling, and the hashish salesman coming to the streets, I got intimidated and sought help for 100 rupees.
The food at the preferred hotel was great as I enjoyed vegetable curry and flat bread for dinner, and a honey/banana crepe with really good black coffee for breakfast.  Just as I was leaving, I met a nice couple who had booked two rooms at the desirable place but only needed one of them.  Thus the offered me the other room.  Great, but the hotel would have nothing of it; I am pretty sure they were over-booked and this was going to save them.  That combined with the fact that I mistakenly told them I did not want to book a trip with them, made me a non-prospect for additional revenue.  So I headed down the road and found a beautiful place for about double the money and booked in for two nights.  I wanted to stay for 4-5 but they are full later in the week.  This could work out great as I can write multiple reviews as I am forced to move from room to room around the city.
I need to get to a bank today and stock up on cash; should be interesting.  I know, how could that be interesting?  Well, just getting to the bank will be filled with sights, smells, and sounds the challenge and tilt my western mind’s experience bank. I in the reasonably deep third world now.  And all that intellectual bullshit we talk about back home regarding appreciating how fortunate we are – well, it gets real real and moves from the mind to the heart as I am immersed verses watching it on the discovery channel.

outside first room

View from my first room

I was not worried about security, but that was the scariest place I have ever lay my head.  The hotel where I tried to stay was fully booked,  but they offered to put me up next door and allow me to use all of their facilities; fair enough as their place was pretty nice. Next door, however, was differnt.  Having not slept for well over 30 hours, I did not care as I handed over my $9,000 rupees (~$12,00USD). Where to start with this room – I am pretty sure it had not been occupied for months, the toilet seat was dangling beside the crapper, the shower had a steady stream of water coming out the only hole in the head that flowed any water, and the bucket on the floor was there, I presume, to catch the water as the drain could not keep up with even this minimal flow. The bed was basically a platform with a blanket and I would  have broke out the thermarest and slept on the floor had I been coherent. The sheets were torn and stained, but appeared clean. The electrical outlets and most of the lights did not work…… I could go on, but why. I slept hard.

It happened AGAIN.  This time it took a bicycle rickshaw to delivery back to my room as I got hopelessly lost.  And again, I was less than a block away from my room, but with the night falling, and the hashish salesman coming to the streets, I got intimidated and sought help for 100 rupees.

The food at the preferred hotel was great as I enjoyed vegetable curry and flat bread for dinner, and a honey/banana crepe with really good black coffee for breakfast.  Just as I was leaving, I met a nice couple who had booked two rooms at the desirable place but only needed one of them.  Thus the offered me the other room.  Great, but the hotel would have nothing of it; I am pretty sure they were over-booked and this was going to save them.  That combined with the fact that I mistakenly told them I did not want to book a trip with them, made me a non-prospect for additional revenue.  So I headed down the road and found a beautiful place for about double the money and booked in for two nights.  I wanted to stay for 4-5 but they are full later in the week.  This could work out great as I can write multiple reviews as I am forced to move from room to room around the city.

second room view

View from current room

I need to get to a bank today and stock up on cash; should be interesting.  I know, how could that be interesting?  Well, just getting to the bank will be filled with sights, smells, and sounds thar  challenge and tilt my western mind. I in the reasonably deep third world now.  And all that intellectual bullshit we talk about back home regarding appreciating how fortunate we are – well, it gets real real and moves from the mind to the heart as I am immersed verses watching it on the discovery channel.

Read Full Post »