Last night in Kathmandu… I thought I should take this time to reflect on our time in this city and country. Kathmandu is a city that holds a mythological affinity like places such as Timbuktu or Shangri La. While it now has a much more concrete place in my mind, still a land of mystery where two worlds are colliding. One, the mad monster of Asian capitalism and the other deeply devout and superstitious brightly colored tradition. They exist together in organized chaos at the base of the tallest mountains on earth.
When we first arrived in Kathmandu we were three disorganized travelers slightly defeated by the exploitative Delhi merchants and really defeated by the new stomach bugs that seemed to exist in everything we drank and ate. I was wrestling with the fears of what I was missing at home and the crazy weird decision we had made to come to this alien land and put our minds and bodies through well hell. I found myself on the roof of our hotel every morning and night desperately yelling “can you hear me now” into the phone costing my parents hundred in phone bills in an attempt to contact the familiar. The first night Lindsey and I got food poisoning an while she took the brunt of the bug it was not a great omen for our time in Nepal. Now two months later our guts are stronger and our hearts have found a new peace in Nepal.
The people here have been nothing but friendly, after we overcame our initial travelers fear of the unknown we began to look around and see the happiness and peace of the villages and the extraordinary industriousness of the cities. Last night we met a interesting group of travelers and Nepalese at one of our favorite restaurants OR2K. We discussed the differences and merits of the US versus Nepali ways of life. The group was comprised of three Nepali men, one of whom we dubbed drinking Buddha, and two french models living in Dubai. Through his many glasses of Rakshi (local wine made from potatoes and more like vodka than wine) drinking Buddha described how his viewed of the differences in our cultures “In America people have the beautiful house beautiful car and beautiful woman” (his words not mine, ,aybe a touch of Talking Heads), yet they come to Nepal in search of peace and Buddhism and yoga. While Nepalese say “fuck that shit” and strive towards the life that we have left at home. While this may seem like an obvious distinction to some it was good to hear it said out loud. Over hear it is easy to idealise the simplicity of life however I find it important to remember the merits of our home to and how lucky we are to have the benefits that we often see as burdensome responsibilities. There are values to both cultures and being able to hold the peace and mysticism with the industrious ambition is the most valuable quality of all.