Wednesday Wanderings: Kathmandu


April 11, 2012

That impending moment of descending in a jet through the rust red smog of the city. That was my first memory of Kathmandu.

It’s a bizarre notion, landing in a city on the opposite side of the planet. My heart swooped with a thousand fluttering wings.

From the plane window, I saw haze and square buildings made of crumbling stucco. The vastness of it captivated me. I barely remember disembarking the plane, completing visa forms, or passing through customs.

I remember the taxi ride to the hotel: lengths of bamboo scaffolding at Tribuvan Airport, mountains of garbage on the streets, lanky white cows grazing atop those garbage pinnacles. Grey monkeys with curling, come-hither tails, dancing along telephone wires like circus performers. A man, like some city dog walker, escorting six roped-together goats to market, much to their bleating protest. And all the while traffic: maddening, jostling traffic. Shoulder-to-shoulder, bumper-to-bumper, one hundred blaring horn tones of traffic. 

Kathmandu shifted my senses. It interrogated me, then bullied my mind and body into submission. It insisted on taking control, and I surrendered. Sometimes I miss that wildness. That permeating aroma of incense, rotting garbage, and dust. The omnipresent, peaceful practice of religions. Bartering without restraint, and the kindness of strangers.

Relive it, here.





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