7 SHADES OF DISAPPOINTMENT IN A RAINBOW: Katmandu in better times

Lei vendor -- with all the colors of the rainbow
Lei vendor — with all the colors of the rainbow

WHEN MY AIRBUS A330 LANDS IN KATMANDU’S Tribhuvan International Airport, my heart leaps with what might be called sheer excitement. Joy. Satisfaction. Wonder. Anticipation. As though this were my first journey anywhere. I have been waiting to visit Katmandu for years. And ten years earlier, I had actually been on my way and traveled half-way here, but I got side tracked in Thailand by a dubious and eclectic group of new-found friends, by a beach and a house with a view any gypsy would be proud to call home for a while, by a spiritual entity with a leaning toward sensuality, and by some pretty-heavy-duty Thai flowers. None of us smoked and certainly would never have inhaled; we just liked looking at the dried flowers and the ingenious way the Thais bundled the stuff with sticks—Asian capitalist marketing at its finest.

Katmandu, foothills, and the Himalayas beyond the smog
Katmandu, foothills, and the Himalayas beyond the smog

On Gulf Air Flight #54 from Abu Dhabi to Muscat, I am the only Westerner in steerage-class seats, and there’s a Western family of four in Business. From Muscat to Nepal, the guy beside me says he will be doing the Everest base camp hike, something like 21 days over rough terrain climbing into thin air. I remember a time where that would have been something I would have simply said, “yeah, let’s do that next week, man.” And I would have, and could have, with ease and no training. These days, it’s more like: “you’re not 30 anymore, mister, think twice,” especially when anything could go wrong and most likely will if you think, or pray, it won’t. No, no…I’m not jaded. I matured. And so did the borders of reality.

Highest mountains in the world
Highest mountains in the world

There are probably only 15 or 20 Westerners on the flight from Muscat to Katmandu. Most passengers are Nepali. These days, many Nepalese nationals leave home to work in foreign lands, many in the Middle East, some in Europe and Australia. Something like 20% of the total population works outside Nepal. These expats return to their families periodically bearing money and gifts, like kitchen sinks, toilets with seats, and vacuum cleaners. I don’t know the exact percentages, but apparently, way more people in Nepal own televisions than refrigerators.

I’m not sure exactly where the plane is when I glance out the window —Pakistan, probably. I see dry, parched land looking like an angry sea of waves. You just have to wonder what on Earth would cause the land to do something like that to itself: a rolling flat area, climbing up to a steep point, dropping into a valley, then back into a flat area, climbing up to another pointed crest, dropping into another valley, then another, for miles. A virtual seascape of hard rock and dry land. A sight difficult to forget. At my altitude, there’s no telling how high those peaks rise or how deep the troughs of the valleys. I’m guessing it’s that pesky Indian tectonic plate doing its earth-moving, mountain-building thing. But I’m no geologist, that’s just a guess.

My first disappointment arrives with the in-flight entertainment—while watching an episode of Joey for the first time. I don’t get television channels in my house, so I hadn’t seen it on TV when it first aired. If you’ve watched an episode of Joey, you know what I mean by disappointment. If you haven’t seen Joey, you haven’t wasted one moment of your life (Sorry, Matt).

My second disappointment appears as soon as I walk off the plane and enter the Tribhuvan terminal. You can get a visa upon arrival at the airport. But they are charging a whopping $35….for a visa to a third-world country. What’s up with that?

Nepal is a very poor country; incomes are some of the lowest in the world (some people live on little more than one US dollar a day); no oil lies beneath the highest mountains in the world, or we’d have demolished them all by now, because we’re human, and we do things like that to get things we want. Tourism is oil in Nepal. At the time, $35 was the highest price I’d ever paid for a visa, usually visas are free. But these days, some countries charge more than that to enter, and they also charge an extra departure fee to leave, places I continually return to, like Bali, which just this year increased its visa fee to $35.

Buddhist stupa top
Buddhist stupa top

My third disappointment comes when I climb into a van loaded with 8 other Westerners. It seemed like the sensible thing to do at the time, share a ride to town. Downside is the van would be dropping off all these people at different hotels. And my hotel is the furthest away, I will be last out of the van. You gotta love a god with a sense of humor like that. If you’ve ever driven through Cairo, or perhaps Denpasar or Bangkok, you might be able to imagine how congested and slow the traffic moves in Katmandu after dark.

There is a young Mexican couple in the van, they have not made advance hotel reservations. The driver is trying to find them a low-budget place. The couple is speaking in Spanish to each other. Apparently, the girl speaks no English (if I understood properly, she is 18 years old); the guy’s English is faulty (but better than my Spanish). The driver stops the van and yells to a man who looks like a pirate standing at the side of the road. The pirate has a room for US$4. The couple balk, and try to negotiate the price down. That’s not happening. The guy talks his girl friend into getting out of the van, so they can find a cheaper place by themselves on foot. The guy knows of a place for dos dolares (2 bucks), he’s read the guidebook. She clutches her daypack to her chest and does not argue, but her eyes say something close to: “really?” This is one of those times when you don’t want to be a young girl—a good-looking young girl wearing no bra, a flimsy cotton blouse over really short cut-off jeans—traveling with a cheap boy friend requesting you step into the night in a strange city with pirates right there. I know this because I’ve been that boy friend—we’ll call it “frugal,” indifferent, and if not just plain stupid, naïve then, and maybe a smidgeon selfish.

If this were a movie of my life, we might flashback here to a scene of earlier times. The soundtrack in this scene would not be Willie Nelson and Julio Iglesias singing “To All The Girls I’ve Loved Before.” It would be more like Chris Brown’s “Apologize” or Chicago’s “Hard to Say I’m Sorry.” And let’s try to imagine for a moment what tune we might use as the movie’s main theme song—perhaps, Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ On A Prayer.” Or, The Stones’ “Sympathy for the Devil.” Dylan’s “Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts.” I could go on…but, no. Fade to black. Present day in Katmandu.

My fourth disappointment appears when the van finally drops me off at my hotel, a reportedly good budget hotel, “very popular with Westerners” and rated high in TripAdvisor and Lonely Planet. Not that you can believe everything you read. I had a reservation, but my plane was delayed in Muscat (waiting for one important sheikh), and it took a while to drive here after all the stops in the van, so we arrive a few hours late. The hotel has given my room away. “Only a few minutes ago,” says the receptionist. Jeesh, that’s just hilarious, god, you got me…a really good one. But they did have one room available in the older, original, lower-priced section of the hotel. They say they can have it ready in 15 minutes. It’s a large room with three beds, but right on the road and over the bar. Music and motorcycles and fire crackers all night long. No air con, no heat, curtains won’t open, smells like a ménage a trois of cigarettes, bad incense, and butt. An ersatz Chantilly bedspread with frayed lace and singed holes. I can’t find an adjective for the mattress. A fine layer of grit covers the floor. I’m guessing nobody’s slept in this room in a while. I’m fairly certain this room is not what the guidebook deemed “budget travel in the deluxe category.”

My fifth disappointment arrives the next morning at breakfast. The two eggs and hash browns and two cups of coffee for 140 rupees—two bucks—is fine, though more expensive than outside the hotel. The disappointment materializes, when I realize that I do not feel like exploring Katmandu according to my well-planned itinerary. I had made a list of all the places that I wanted to photograph and visit: Durbar Square, Bhaktapur, Swayambunath, Bodnath. I made maps, numbered the places, traced numerous routes. Is the worst thing that could possibly happen about to happen—am I getting sick? I do have a slightly fuzzy and dull sensation in the back of my head, almost as though my synapses are not synapsing. You know when people say “he’s not firing on all cylinders” or “she’s two tacos short of a combination plate,” or “one Bud Lite short a six pack.” That’s how I feel, not quite right, not quite who I usually am in a new place while traveling, as my Southern friend Nina would say: “whop-a-jawed.” Askew. Perhaps it’s the altitude; perhaps it’s a whole night of whiffing cigarette, incense and butt; maybe insufficient caffeine in the coffee; or perhaps, the thick and visible smog smothering the city (many people wear masks over their mouth and nose). No, I’m not sick. I simply am not me.

My sixth disappointment begins when I start feeling guilty—of all things—about my lack of desire to explore the place according to plan. I’d come all this way. I was excited to finally be in Nepal. I’ve got a definitive plan. This is what I do, this is why I gave up so many other things in life, my main purpose for being on the planet, my raison d’etre: traveling and walking down every road, any funky alley in any funky town; discovering a place, exploring and photographing its navel, its armpits and ass. A regular-modern-day Ibn Battuta. And now, I’m resisting providence? It almost feels like betraying your inner being, your true self, your soul.

Monk in Katmandu selling Buddhist stuff
Monk in Katmandu selling Buddhist stuff–belts, bells, beads,singing bowls

In Katmandu, when someone wants to know if you have plans for the day, they say: “What’s your program?” When one of the hotel workers asks me, I feel the guilt wash over me: I have no program. And I don’t want to look at a map. I don’t want to read the guidebook. I don’t want to look at my list of places I’d planned to photograph, I don’t want to tour by the numbers. I do not want to feel the duress to see everything and go everywhere. I do not even want to search for a singing bowl. Or a statue of Buddha. Or find a prayer wheel to twirl. So I leave my list, the map, and guidebook on my limp bed. I slip my camera and a light fleece jacket into my old Mountainsmith daypack, but no water—well, it’s a city for pete’s sake, and water’s heavy, and if you don’t feel like an itinerary, you certainly don’t feel like hauling bottled water. I head out of the hotel to see what I might stumble upon—and still feeling two fries short of a Happy Meal.

Domino Harvey says, “A true adventurer goes forth, aimless and uncalculating, to meet and greet unknown fate.”  Or was that O. Henry? And Lao Tzu argues that “a good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.” I innately embrace these ideals, I have always been a fairly loose planner, by nature. I know some travelers who say planning is their favorite part of a trip. Planning, to me, is an arduous, unpleasant task, about as enjoyable as pinching your scrotum in your zipper. Usually, I do as little planning as possible. Sometimes, none. If I hear someone say “Lebanon cedars,” you might find me on the next flight to Beirut. But I don’t want to miss things in Katmandu. I spent days planning, years actually. Katmandu is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow for many travelers. This is important to me. And I harbor the notion that I should possess an itinerary for the day, a program. And yet, something in my fuzzy-pained brain will not allow it. Porch light on, nobody home. So fine, I walk out into the streets of Katmandu with no program, a fuzzy head, and a quantum of guilt.

Fabric shop--rainbow of colors
Fabric shop–rainbow of colors
Offerings to Ancient Shiva
Offerings to Ancient Shiva

Lucile de Godoy suggests that “we repeat ourselves.” This is scary business here in Katmandu. Am I making a mistake, repeating myself in some negative way? Maybe this has something to do with my seventh disappointment of the trip: At breakfast, I read in a discarded magazine why Pluto is no longer a planet. I mean, can they even do that? Don’t they know about the law of inertia? Can’t we just leave well enough alone, let things be as they are? Nobody likes change. We might begin to wonder if my issue here is merely inertia, or something less benign?

Market in Durbar Square -- more rainbows of color
Market in Durbar Square — more rainbows of color
Orange vendor -- more rainbows
Orange vendor — rainbows and the Kumari Bahal, House of the Living Goddess behind
Poor vendor -- even more rainbows of color
Poor vendor under the Stone Winged Garuda– even more rainbows of color

I’m usually a fairly-fast walker. If I want to walk with others, I usually need to slow my normal pace. But not today in Katmandu. I shuffle down the road. I meander, traipse, loiter, amble, ramble, mope. Drift. I photograph the colors of Katmandu as I stroll. Its streets. Its people. Its architecture, and roofs. Its bollock carts. Its spiritual men in robes. Its signs with atavistic lettering. Its stone statues. Its trucks. Fruit vendors. Garland vendors. Incense vendors. Singing bowls. Buddhas. Temples. Altars. I stop and stare at ancient wooden windows with no glass, and brick buildings centuries old with their electrical wiring (an afterthought, long after construction) on the outside. Katmandu, it turns out, is a rainbow of color. A rainbow of images. Stand still in the street and look around—you see “every color of the rainbow.” You realize there is always a tomorrow. And a day after tomorrow to cross things off your list of things to do. Sometimes, apparently, you are the person you are right now, not the one you’d planned to be. And everything is still all right in the world.

Mixing paint by hand...a physical rainbow
Mixing paint by hand…a physical rainbow

Note: Obviously, I went to Nepal before the recent catastrophic earthquake. I have not been able to keep up with the news recently, and I do not know if the buildings, or the people, in these photographs still stand. Perhaps, I prefer not to know, and to remember things as they were?

Painting and paints
Painting and paints

Sometimes, maybe you actually want the law of inertia to kick in, you want things to remain the same, you want Pluto to be a planet, you want buildings to stand where they always have, you want friends to be there when you return. If this were the end of the movie, and the end credits were rolling now, maybe we’d play a Beatles song, a slow one: “Let It Be.”

13 BoyMonks2 0603 E1

To read other participants in WP Daily Prompt: Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

To see other photographs in DP Photo Challenge: ROY G. BIV

To see other photographs in Photo Rehab: Photo Rehab

120 comments

  1. There are so many things I want to comment on here. But I’m one bad sleep home from Jordan and can’t do it justice right this second, so with a quick “like” and this note, please know that yours is the only WP post I’ve bothered to open and read this morning, and I’ll be back later to really sink my teeth into it!

    Liked by 2 people

      • Yes, home, and way too quickly, but I take what I can eke out when it comes to escaping. I was only gone 10 days – short and sweet. Now, about Kathmandu and disappointment … KTM and Nepal were the pot waiting at the end of a decades-long rainbow for me, and the anticipation and excitement I felt as I left Abu Dhabi was probably way too high to ever be satisfied.

        Nevertheless, the intense shock and (almost) disgust I felt upon a night arrival was overwhelming. I walked out into the dark at Tribhuvan and was swarmed by guys trying to take my bags and put me in their cars. I’d heard Kathmandu was dirty, but wow – it was the filthiest place I’d ever seen. It was like a war zone – all rubble and dust and smoky haze in the air, dogs everywhere, garbage everywhere, dogs eating garbage everywhere! An assault on the senses … sights, smells, sounds, throngs of gridlocked people and animals, no way to get the smell of garbage, body odor, and feces out of my nose. Arcing and even exploding electrical boxes (how could they not explode, tangled up balls of wires that they are?) On day 7 of the Dashain festival, I had to watch goats and sheep being led to the slaughter and blood running down the streets in both Bhaktapur and Kathmandu. I’d never been in a more unsettling place, in any country. I actually felt nauseous in those first few days. I was “whop-a-jawed,” and my usual curiosity and energy for the new and different had seriously flagged.

        And then something happened. I went off for two weeks to hike the Everest Base Camp trail (and dude, as you like to call me, I did that at an “advanced” age, so you could, too!) and when I came back, I fell in love with Kathmandu. I wandered into Thamel on my own as soon as I got back into town. The sensory overload was still there – exhaust, cows, and their dung, the incessant horn honking, the insane crowds – but for some reason I embraced the colorful bedlam this time around and surrendered to the dirt, dust, and chaos. Yes, Pashupatinath and its ghats and sadhus still creeped me out a bit, but Boudhanath and the Tibetan quarter were a breath of fresh air; round and round the stupa I went, calling out a happy “tashidelek” to the shopkeepers. Perhaps calmed by the trek, I accepted the mess of Kathmandu and wandered for hours out in those streets that are a human and animal mosh pit; somehow it was now fun vs. shocking, as it was in those first days here. When I left after a few more days, I knew I would miss this crazy city of pollution, disorder, stench, and every color in the rainbow, and I do. Thanks for taking me back one more time.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Whoa…you’ve got a blog post going here, buddy. I love it. I guess I wasn’t offended or disgusted or annoyed by the initial onslaught to the senses because I’d seen numerous other places with similar stuff. But it’s never something I relish! Just accept, I guess…like, oh, yeah, I remember, this is third-world stuff. I envy your trekking to base camp. Not too many sights thrill me as much as high mountain vistas. Especially if you can get there with somebody else carrying your heavy pack.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Really, really enjoy your sense of humor and your thirst for travel. Since I have never been in that part of our planet, your images provoke many underlining narratives. I’m glad that your post ended on an UP note and the peaceful image of the young monks.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Hmmm. If I ever wanted to travel to Nepal, you have satisfied my yearning.

    Apart from that one painting, one could be in Peru here, which is a striking analogy to me. If India is the 6th world, then Nepal must be the 7th (and Togo the 8th).

    It is bright and pretty, but I would not be able to handle that hotel room. I agree with meandering but am always over-prepared, just in case. It would be a shame to find out something mind-bending was just a few feet around a corner and missed.

    What is the matter with people who leave the Americas in shorts? Duh. Love that zipper episode imagery. Great photography.

    Great post. Thank you for saving me thousands of dollars. And time. And with such vivid words. That’s parsimony.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You are right–7th and 8th worlds! Maybe there is so much color in their things because there is not in their lives? And I switched rooms the next day…coming up in another post.
      Zipper…I wondered if I should put another example in for women to relate to, but you got it, so no worries!
      You still might want to go…it is right up their with my favorite places to go. Issues and all.
      Parsimony? Maybe it’s just you’d rather be in a place like, say, one of those tropical huts over the water, sipping a cool drink?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Not me on the hut with a cool drink. I am a cold weather person. Give me the cabin in the woods in the snow with a roaring fire and tea. But the parsimony I was referring to, is traveling from the computer via blogs like yours. My next destination is Scandinavia.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh! I told his lordship all excited. Badfish has another post up! Look at these pictures! Reading your blog has become a family affair. I feel somewhat selfish about sharing, but I certainly do come away with a bit of a wider view of the world! I’ll take “Livin’ On A Prayer” and “Let It Be” for my soundtrack, btw… I love “To All the girls I’ve loved Before…” But couldn’t quite get there on this visit! 😀

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I long for your posts. And when I get the notification with the link to the Photo Rehab, I know my day will be complete.
    Our plan to become millionaires, as proposed by Debbie, to make a video while I read your posts, couldn’t take off today. I am not outdoors. And although I am not in Goa and there is no monsoon, since the solstice of June 21, it rains rhinos and dinos over here. So, we have to postpone our plan.
    The seven shades of disappointment in a rainbow, flowed in a very smooth and sensitive manner, slowly bringing me to pause and pay attention in every single word. I felt there was a surprise coming up from your inertia, though. Words full of subtle meaning building up, preparing to surprise me at the end.
    The colorful and breathtaking photos popping up as a fresh breeze, sending away the smell of cigarettes, incense and butt.
    Then you knocked me out of the ring with these words:
    ” Sometimes, apparently, you are the person you are right now, not the one you’d planned to be. And everything is still all right in the world.”
    I resurfaced and kept my cool, avidly reading…but you came back with no mercy..
    “Sometimes, maybe you actually want the law of inertia to kick in, you want things to remain the same, you want Pluto to be a planet, you want buildings to stand where they always have, you want friends to be there when you return.”
    I miss my bro, whose birthday would be today, and I can not go to the party, for he might live in Pluto right now.
    You didn’t make me sad. On the contrary. Harmony comes with tasting sweet and sour and recognizing the differences. The Beatles are right after all. Let it Be.
    Thanks BadFish. Another masterpiece.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I am so, so glad that you get what I say, and that it means something to you. Harmony…sweet and sour…peace, everything is the same?
      Hey, I just realized I think I’ve not been putting my photo in the “wall” on Rehab. Does that mess things up? Or it’s just my photo isn’t there to see?

      Like

  6. Reblogged this on lucile de godoy and commented:
    I long for BadFish posts. And when I get the notification with his link to the Photo Rehab, I know my day will be complete.
    This one is no exception.

    The seven shades of disappointment in a rainbow, flowed in a very smooth and sensitive manner, slowly bringing me to pause and pay attention in every single word. I felt there was a surprise coming up from your inertia, though. Words full of subtle meaning building up, preparing to surprise me at the end.
    The colorful and breathtaking photos popping up as a fresh breeze, sending away the smell of cigarettes, incense and butt.
    Then you knocked me out of the ring with these words:
    ” Sometimes, apparently, you are the person you are right now, not the one you’d planned to be. And everything is still all right in the world.”
    I resurfaced and kept my cool, avidly reading…but you came back with no mercy..
    “Sometimes, maybe you actually want the law of inertia to kick in, you want things to remain the same, you want Pluto to be a planet, you want buildings to stand where they always have, you want friends to be there when you return.”
    I miss my bro, whose birthday would be today, and I can not go to the party, for he might live in Pluto right now.
    You didn’t make me sad. On the contrary. Harmony comes with tasting sweet and sour and recognizing the differences. The Beatles are right after all. Let it Be.

    Thanks BadFish. Another masterpiece.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Whatever it is you do in storytelling, I am always carried along on the journey in a most delicious way, wondering what will come next in the flow of your words.
    You were flaneuring! Don and I do it all the time. Set out with no agenda and wander around a new town or city. Don usually has a map in hand, he loves maps, so we rarely actually get lost. Your photos are wonderful rainbows that somehow don’t make me want to rush off to Katmandu because I’ve seen it here and in India and it probably doesn’t look like that anymore anyway sadly. So thanks for the journey there in vivid words and colour.
    Alison

    Liked by 2 people

    • Flaneuring—perfect. A man out in the world but not in the world. And not attached. And usually idling away, somewhere. That’s usually how I feel.
      And usually, right, I take a map for the same reason—you might want to find your way home!
      I half want to return to see what it’s like, and half don’t want to see what’s changed. When looking for photos for the prompt, “Rainbow,” I was amazed that all the colors were in most of my photos of street scenes!!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Bravo, well written! I love how this story just pulls you in and you are there right along with you on the journey. The fantastic vibrancy of the colorful photos are wonderful! I love this post 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Your pictures are beautiful! I went through many of my own Nepal images yesterday while searching for the seven colours of the rainbow and also considered a contribution about Nepal instead of the fast seven country post I really did. It’s just so full of bright and beautiful colours! Your photos trump mine.
    I can understand your disappointments to some extent, we sure did have some too when we came to Kathmandu. But somehow, I came to like the country and the city so much that they don’t seem to count for me. Breakfast was terrible for sure, always the same, never quite right. We paid much more for our visa as we came in from Tibet and had neither photos nor USD. But none of that matters very much.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, when searching for photos for “rainbow” I was amazed that many photos of Katmandu had all of the colors of the rainbow!
      And agree…Nepal is still one of my most favorite places to go. All the “stuff” is just stuff.

      Like

  10. Lovely shots and memories of a place very dear to my heart. I visited while living in SE Asia for several years. I didn’t think I could get any farther away from “the West” while living in Jakarta but Nepal was that final step off the edge. The people were so kind and warm. I hope they are able to rebuild soon from this latest disaster…

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Martha, for visiting and sharing. I agree, Nepal is that one step beyond. I love it, too. And the people–just lovely. It bothers me to even think about what they now endure.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Wow this post is beautiful. It flows just beautifully like I am having a coffee with you while we flip through your photo album and talk about your travels. Thanks so much for sharing this and for such a brilliant post.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I really enjoyed this post too. Very insightful and honest. Having been to Nepal and Kathmandu I can relate to some of it. The people of Nepal are beautiful people and you are right that tourism is very important to them. Thanks for the memories!! (I actually have some pics from my time there as my header shots on my blog.)
    I do feel for Nepal after their recent earthquakes. Great post.

    Liked by 2 people

    • thanks so much for sharing and visiting, Debbie. And right, I noticed the header shots on your blog…lovely (but how could they not be!…hard to take a bad shot in Nepal).

      Liked by 1 person

      • So very true! I loved it all even though the walking to Annapurna Base Camp was probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Was great to read your perspective of the place.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yeah, and just imagine those climbers, they have to do that trek and then CLIMB the mountain. Gotta respect that kind of physical stamina. I’ve done some hiking in various parts of the world, but not in the Himalayas.

          Liked by 1 person

  13. You talk about what you gave up to live the life you do, to travel down all the paths in the world…I gave up living a life of travel, or world exploration to live the life I do…thank you for sharing so I can live vicariously….

    Liked by 2 people

    • That’s interesting—I gave up, you gave up the opposite. We all do what we must to get through this life here on planet Earth, eh! It would be boring if everyone was the same…

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Despite being foggy-brained you made amazingly lucid images and commentary. As I read your post I was happily transported to a place that, admittedly, is nowhere on my bucket list. Gorgeous!

    Liked by 2 people

  15. This evening, you are my hero, or perhaps comrade in arms against the rights of planets to remain as they were named and intended to be… It was the pinnacle for me, because I have railed against the machine in this travesty. And shall always carry a torch for the ninth planet.

    That said, this is a movie/story with a proper ending: ” Sometimes, apparently, you are the person you are right now, not the one you’d planned to be. And everything is still all right in the world.” I would simply say that, in fact, we are always the person we are right now, whether planned or not. That it coincides, now and again with intentions, is neither here nor there.

    I absolutely adore how you weave your words and thoughts into patterns in the Chaos. I ride high on your hopes, and are dashed against the rocks of your despair, but am happy to amble out into the streets without a thought of where I should go, because, the truth is, no matter were we go, there we are.

    The colors in your photos are luscious, deep and rich, and singular in their ability to paint the picture of your words bringing us into the fray.

    I found it interesting that you don’t like to plan, and so I am left wondering if you actually plan all your trips with the same attention to detail, even if you loathe the task? I know you consider where to go, yet, I always got the sense that once there, you take off, following not an agenda, but rather an intuition.
    If that is true, then it almost makes sense that this trip was never supposed to be planned, and you absolutely would have ended up where you were at every turn. Life happens.

    As ever, a magnificent voyage.

    Fim

    Liked by 3 people

    • A torch for the ninth planet—good title for a book. We are who we are…it’s just that sometimes we may not want to be who we are. That makes life difficult, so it’s nice to be reminded that who we are is who we are, and that is who we are, and it’s ok to be who we are. Too many who’s?
      Patterns in the Chaos–another good title.
      I used to plan trips, and read the LP guide and carry it, and lived by it. Then, got tired of that. Now, no…it’s pretty much once I haphazardly choose a place to go (like Goa during monsoon!!! stupid choice, no thought at all to consequences), I may glance at a LP, but it’s pretty much just go see what I see…you are right, “intuition” not LP.
      “Life happens”…. I may have to quote you on that?

      Liked by 1 person

          • https://picktheworld52.wordpress.com/2015/03/16/pick-the-world-is-going-to-the-seychelles/

            That is the link to the Pick The World challenge that was about Seychelles. It’s a weekly challenge about the different places on our lovely planet to visit, and each week the actual challenge is presented (today I think – Friday) for a different place. Then we all get to go and find out about it, and present what drew us in the most about the place. Seychelles was one of the places.

            I don’t think it will help for your travel plans, but it’ll give you the flavor, perhaps, of the place.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Hey, cool…interesting idea for a post. Travel without traveling!! Armchair travel. Or Wiki-travel. I find it also interesting that I am still at home this time of year. I find it more interesting that I am not looking at flights and places to stay…any-freakin-where???

            Liked by 1 person

          • Sometimes, it’s time to just say put? A break in what we expect can bring new light into our moments.

            This is in answer to below where you said: Hey, cool…interesting idea for a post. Travel without traveling!! Armchair travel. Or Wiki-travel. I find it also interesting that I am still at home this time of year. I find it more interesting that I am not looking at flights and places to stay…any-freakin-where???

            Also, sometimes the inner journey – here in virtual – is needed, and something inside you knows that, even as you feel strange about it.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Yeah, I guess you are right…again. What is, is. And this is what is, today. So hang with it, and do what you do. And enjoy. And don’t do this or that, just do what you do. Is that what you’re saying?

            Liked by 1 person

  16. Thanks to the lovely Lucile, I was intrigued by the rainbow of colours in your photo. Beautifully captured, and your narrative is witty, yet somber – as I suppose it is when travelling with high expectations, only to be left disappointed. Very sad that the earthquake has shattered that rainbow.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. It is true, some of the best trips taken are those unplanned. The ones the accidental tourist finds. The colors are eloquent enough. Wonderful sites! I hope you eventually got a better room?

    Liked by 3 people

    • Jo…yeah, they gave me a much nicer room the next day, a really nice budget room equal to what the guidebook stated! I’m considering posting another post about Nepal, and the room would be in it.

      Like

  18. Good! glad to hear it! It reminded me of roughing it in Mazatlan and how many of us shared that bed, packed in like sardines? And later me thumbing rides? Something I would never have done in the states. Ahhh, living la vida loca!
    Russ and I did a hut trip in Aspen once, I think it was my first Cross country ski trip, and the bunks were all in a row with slat dividers the only thing keeping our sleeping bags apart. I took the one on the end by the window. Brrr. I’ll never learn, but I’ll always have fun! LOL

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Badfish, I think the commenters before me have said it all – your writing is as colourful as the photos, and I love how your narrative weaves effortlessly between the outer and inner worlds. The journey from Abu Dhabi, your feelings upon arrival, and how your experience collided with your long-held perception of Kathmandu. Oh, and the music too. Funny how the chaos of the place fits so neatly into the structure of your seven disappointments.

    Although I’ve never been, there are elements in your photos that make Kathmandu immediately familiar. The Garuda statue in Durbar Square and the leis remind me of scenes from Bali, and the Buddhist stupa in the parting shot closely resembles one I saw in China.

    I have to add that your recent posts have been teasers for my upcoming travels. I’ll be in Goa in November and then Kathmandu in December (I’m planning to be in Nepal for 3 weeks). The earthquakes have only hardened my resolve to go – so many in the Nepalese tourism industry have asked us to keep visiting after the summer monsoon.

    I was recently in touch with a kayaking/rafting operator in Kathmandu – one of the owners told me two of their staff had lost their homes, the company had to vacate its hotel and office because of structural damage, and they had lost a whole season’s work – just like everyone else in the country. So many Nepalese depend on tourism for their livelihoods, and we can help them rebuild by choosing to go back and spend our dollars where it’s needed most.

    It infuriates me to see how Nepal has been tarred as a no-go zone for travellers. I hated the sensational, lazy approach the international media took when they reported the first quake’s aftermath; no, the entire country is not in ruins, and there are plenty of heritage sites that withstood the shaking.

    I got fed up with seeing news outlets regurgitating the same stories about how certain UNESCO-listed temples were destroyed. How about a story about the temples that survived for a change? I eventually found out that the iconic Nyatapola Pagoda in Bhaktapur suffered only a cracked window on the top storey – drone footage confirmed that it stood tall as it had done after an 8.0 earthquake in 1934. But those are things the media will not tell us.

    Liked by 2 people

    • James, thanks for this very insightful and refreshing commentary. And I’m right there with you on returning and spending dollars. I had the thought (fleeting) that I might go there this summer, but just didn’t want to catch a monsoon again!
      And I also agree that it would be nice now to see some positive stories come out of Nepal by news people. I’m so glad that many of those structures survived…well, when you look at them and realize they are solid brick, you can understand why they did! Whoever built them knew what they were doing. However, it is disheartening to note just how many people died—7500. What impresses me most, though, is just how resilient the Nepalese are, and how cheerful. And spiritual at heart. Now, I really feel like going back. I’m glad you are going soon. Can’t wait for you post about it!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Your post was my favorite so far. You are really, really talented ( sorry about the adverbs, sometimes they just fit). The photography was amazing and had me locked in from the first dried flowers. I feel like I made a long trip and never left my chair. This was so great Badfish!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks Donna, I really, really, really appreciate your comments, and especially that you appreciate my stuff the way that you really, really do!! And it’s good to know you liked this one most so far, mostly because I did not think I had actually finished it. I felt rushed to get a post up for the prompt…before the week ended and they put up another prompt! So double thanks, really!

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Your post made me nostalgic for Kathmandu even though I’ve never been. Often, the best part of any visit is the unexpected things, the street life and stuff. In spite of your seven disappointments, it looks like you enjoyed it and you got some great photos too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Jeff. Nostalgic even though you’ve never been…now there’s quite a compliment! And you are right, the disappointments were slight set backs in relation to the sheer vibrant emotion gained from everything else.

      Like

      • There are many places I’ve been to that have changed after my visit, like Egypt. But I can’t think of a place that has suffered a huge tragedy like Kathmandu. It must be strange to look back at those photos and wonder what is lost.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Boy, you are right…there. What is no longer there? I don’t want to know. But if you look at some of the stuff, it’s solid brick, feet thick. hopefully they are still there. I almost thought of goin there this summer, to help with tourist dollars and to see what is what. But it is monsoon!!!

          Like

  22. Once again I see that our paths have crossed. Kathmandu was an interesting place, but in Nepal I preferred staying on the countryside (spent 3 months in a village outside Pokhara). For me it was nice to come to Nepal after India, because the Nepalese people understand the concept of ‘personal space’ and an arm lengths distance.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Paths in the world! Sounds like you have traveled quite a bit. A too, like staying in places for months at a time. And I was considering doing another post on Nepal this week, and writing about Pokhara, as well. Loved it there…yes, better than Katmandu. Clean air, less people and traffic, mountains nearby. Loved it.

      Like

  23. Fabulous. I came across this zine–http://narrative.ly/#/about/

    Your copy would fit–and I will say again–T&L, Smithsonian, National Geo Travel (if it’s still around), AARP (it’s not for codgers; they feature cool things done by cool people. Bob Dylan was on the cover a few months ago).

    You are cool, even if you live in a hot clime.

    Where be the memoir?

    Liked by 3 people

    • Catherine, I just checked out Narratively!! Thanks so much for thinking of me. Now…it’s on my list of things to do! And AARP has always been a good place in my mind to publish. Years ago, they paid very well. Don’t know about now. But at this point, it’s not about money. I haven’t thought about actually “publishing” in years…thanks for that push in that direction.

      Like

  24. Your photo’s are unique, stunning and captivating! I have moved from my wordpress.com account to a wordpress.org page. I hope you’ll come check my page back out. It was a little baby last time you stopped by but I’ve since added a lot of content in the past three months 🙂 http://www.RealLifeNaturalWife.com

    Keep up the great work and have a lovely day!!

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Badfish, that was a vivid, sumptuous, satisfying read. And I love how effortlessly you weave in humour into your narrative. Thank you for the fantastic virtual tour of a city that I regrettably pushed lower on my list for its similarity with India. Hope to get there eventually.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Madhu, I’m so glad you think it was “effortlessly” because it’s just the way my brain happens to see things and spout them out. And you might want to stick it back on your list, it’s not like India. I mean, it is sort of but then not at all.

      Like

  26. Love reading your stories, they are just so funny and enjoyable. If you don’t publish stuff professionally or are a journalist & writer of some sort, concider doing so 😉 Love the pictures as well. Loved Kathmandu myself ❤ I can't remember how much we paid for the Nepalese visa, I thought it was less…^^ But what a massive hassle we've had when trying to prolongue it for 1 (!!!) day!!! Pfffffffff… Don't remember the visa fee's all over but the most expensive fee when LEAVING the country (what shocked me again!!!) was Cook Islands – the fee was 75 dollars – more than our hostel room costed during our whole stay… I couldn't believe it…^^ 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know…in this part of the world, for some reason, overstaying your visa is almost worse than carrying illegal drugs, so you just don’t want to do either. Thanks for visiting–I’m not getting paid to write, but glad you think I should be! Keep messy around, girl!

      Liked by 1 person

  27. Visa sucks..but in the end I always love to see a visa sticker sticking on my passport. BTW, Indonesia offers free visa for many countries this year – (I think only Australians now who have to buy the visa on arrival).
    Should not watch Joey indeed – some TV and movies on the plane sometimes bit old and not popular..

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree…a visa in your passport is very cool, I love them, too! Don’t like standing in line to get them. Or paying for them. Malaysian Air from KL to Denpasar–did not have one show or movie I wanted to watch!

      Like

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