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.