Monday, January 17, 2011

Finding Kathmandu

Just because you land on the ground here doesn't mean that you get here really. Kathmandu has a certain mental component that needs to be overcome before you can really enjoy it here, and on arrival from Thailand that took me a few days to find. While there are certainly some aspects of living here that seem like unnecessary hardships in light of what the vast majority of the planet enjoys as simple staples to modern living, Kathmandu offers its own subtle charm. The people that you meet up with and are friends with here are never dull people, you have to be at least a little adventurous to live here. These facts combined with avoiding the 9-5 grind that makes life unbearable in the west for me makes for a unique place that I am quite happy to have made my home.

For me it was settling back into that slower way of life, coming to terms with the fact that if I wanted to get groceries it does mean stopping by at least four different locations; Bhat Betini, European Bakery, my vegetable stand down the road, a stop at the dairy place around the corner, and the local butcher if I want meat. Although it sounds like a chore, it's nice to see the individual people I buy from and appreciate my business. The people at the vegetable stand were curious where I had been and wanted to hear about my trip,  and were all smiles to see me back in the neighborhood. While super markets back home do offer savings and convenience, I do enjoy interacting with the people that run each of these small stores.

It has also helped tremendously that Kim is back from the US now. After travelling by myself for over three weeks and then coming home and being stuck by myself in Kathmandu I am thrilled to have her company again. A person you love makes even the darker and colder nights in Kathmandu that much brighter and warmer just by their presence. Being able to talk to each other and catch up on our trips has been fun and I enjoy cooking a lot more for multiple people instead of just myself (french toast and fresh strawberry syrup with scrambled eggs this morning). 

Aside from yesterday when it rained for what I think is only the second time since October the sky has been so clear in the afternoon that from almost any decent rooftop in the city you can see the mountains of Langtang in the north and out toward the Everest range in the east. While I love being in the mountains, just seeing the massive snow covered peaks out on the horizon brings a smile to my face, just knowing that they are out there and waiting to be trekked around come the warmer months. Speaking of which, it looks like I may be doing the Everest Base Camp route all the way from Jiri come the end of February (god it's going to be cold) with my friend Donnie who I trekked through Langtang and Gosainkund last year and also accompanied Kim and I to Tibet. That is likely the best trek in all of Nepal and I'm looking forward to the pizza at Khumbu Lodge in Lukla!

So while arriving in Kathmandu can be a bit of a shock to the system, it just takes a moment to settle back into the flow of life and remember those things that do bring a smile to your face. It's not every day that people get to live in such a different place filled with so many opportunities for great experiences, and I count myself as a very lucky person. Having, after a few days, found that mental niche that is required to enjoy Kathmandu, I can finally say it's good to be home. 

1 comment:

  1. Ah, after having read the last post, I was glad to read this one.

    Good to here you remembered why you're there.


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