Our clouds have rocks in them... Kathmandu Odyssey

Monday morning and I'm lying in bed in the country known as the "rooftop of the world." Yes, I'm in Nepal. In Bahrain, the Muslim observance of Eid al Adha is taking place. Here in Nepal there has been a Hindu festival,Daisan (Dashain), simultaneously. I believe both culminate on the full moon. Both also sacrifice animals.  There's no getting around animal sacrifices in my part of the world these days...

Dashain symbolizes the victory of good over evil. As the story goes there was this demon, Mahishasura.  Mahishasura wrecked havoc in the devaloka- the world where the gods/goddesses dwell. Durga finally killed Mahishasura.  So the first 9 days of Mashain represent the battle that took place, and the different manifestations that both the antagonist and protagonist took on. On the 10th day Durga defeats Mahishasura.  Other Hindus say it's celebrated for Rama's victory over Ravena- as told in the Ramayana. Either way, it is a good time to visit Nepal to see the largest celebration in the country.  On the flip side, it's a difficult time to try to find some authentic Nepali food because most all traditional restaurants are closed, or on a limited 'festival' menu...

Kathmandu was our basecamp.  It's an interesting city in that I've never had such a fascination with the streets before.  The streets are where life vibrates.  In Kathmandu when you walk, you're practically looking down all the time.  There was so much beauty mixed with so much decay in the streets... Roadside offerings competed with trash strewn alongside roadways while mopeds zipped throughout the maze of people and care. 

When I travel I love to soak in the local experience- which isn't always easy to do, especially if you are in a touristy area where you are a walking dollar sign. Here I'm experiencing a little of both- so a nice balance. I've definitely got my bargaining poker face on while here, and genuinely having fun with it- which is a new development for me. 

When all is said and done, and purchased, I enjoy getting into deep conversations with the people- which may or may not involve monetary transactions. The movements of the people here are so fascinating. The women, in their traditional garb, move so gracefully, and with an air of confidence. The way they ride side-saddle in their embellished saris through the amazingly polluted streets while their drivers waves in and out of congested traffic is nothing short of pure bravery.

Here are some pictures of my journey through Kathmandu and Kathmandu Valley- land of mopeds, temples, live wires dangling from trees, unchecked pollution, colorful clothing, beautiful and friendly people, hard-to-digest poverty and greenery!  Yep, all that, and more!
The colors of Nepal

Sarah doing her thing- BEFORE I gave her her very own carabiner to hook up all her daily purchases to her purse...


this is especially for you Mr. EdV...

Our Kathmandu basecamp...

Another roadside offering...

pedal power

the neighborhood square

Kathmandu introduced me to a newfound love for mangled utility wires.  It's an art form there, and I was mesmerized.

Taking a picture of the ladies: Starr pointing the way back to basecamp while Sarah is getting harassed to give money for purchasing baby formula

Add mobile fruit stand

street dogs and mopeds galore!

can't go 20 seconds without a moped zipping by you while competing for space

small kine street alters everywhere

beautiful decay in the streets everywhere

I never took one the entire trip...

so strong and beautiful this woman

everywhere you look, there is something to purchase...

Kathmandu has many cool doors and door knockers too!

lots of this on the streets! Made me smile.  So colorful the saris!

one of the festival days where people could visit the area near where Nepal's living deity dwells

we've been blessed

Finally, a Kali shrine.  They are hard to come by actually...

Kali gave us strength during our Kathmandu sojourn...

Ganesh- the remover of obstacles. 

You look down a side street and see mysterious stuff like this...

THIS is the one... the performance art piece near our basecamp in the Chhetrapati neighborhood.

Sarah and myself partaking in some Nepali wine

the Nepalese people erect these bamboo swings for the children during Daisan festival time.  They look quite rickety...

One day we went on a walkabout to Swayambhunath (monkey) Temple.  We had to cross this river first.

It took us about 2 hours to walk up to Swayambhunath Temple.  We saw many interesting things during our odyssey!

We stopped in at many temples to take a look-see

During our Swayambhunath Temple odyssey we trekked across many people's backyards.  This was fun.

When we started to sight monkeys, we knew we were close to Swayambhunath Temple...

Swayambhunath Temple was massive.  Buddha's everywhere you look.  Every step up the never-ending steps led to another beautiful attraction.  It was a hot day so lucky there were so many trees to take some time and rest inbetween.

the architecture is so incredible a sight to behold up close and personal

Starr- starstruck

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this monkey put on a show for us

dazzling brilliance

We found some Monks' quarters so decided to take a look

We found THIS inside!

THIS was outside the monk's temple guarding it

giant prayer wheel

playing with the light with this picture...

As you walk around, you touch/spin all the prayer wheels

Every detail on the buildings is just incredible

Now for the downhill part!!!

I couldn't help myself....

During our Kathmandu Odyssey Sarah metamorphosed into Swami Sarah :)

See what I mean?

...and into the mountains we go!

The countryside was beautiful, and there was clean air to breathe!

I could get used to this...

more swings for Daisan!!!

cool cart

All about the Coca-Cola...

More mobile fruit stands- all selling the same fruit.  Competition must be fierce. I guess you just hop on your transport and go somewhere else to sell at that point...

I was fascinated with the women's clothing!

We did a bi of shopping...

Swami Sarah reaching for the Pomelo...

Even food and drink were colorful...


more MOMOS

new friends!

Nearly all the locals wear face masks to try to minimize the toxic pollution that surrounds the city

colorful buses too!