Nepal 44: Looking Down

nepal buildings

It was early morning in Pokhara, Nepal. I was standing atop the roof of the Hotel Snow Leopard, breathing deep, taking in the view, and trying to come to terms with my life. A life which had brought me on a whirlwind tour of seven Asian countries, torn up my relationship of two and a half years, and spit me out here: 23 years old, alone, standing on a rooftop in Nepal. Gazing towards the Annapurna Range, hidden behind a thick layer of haze. Looking for something which didn’t seem to want to reveal itself to me.

I walked to the edge of the roof. Put my toes over the edge. Looked down.

Five or six or seven stories. A fall might kill me, I thought.

But what would be the point?

I had money to spend, mountains to see, and a relationship I could probably salvage, if I really turned myself to it. I had a family who loved me, a college degree to my name, and 65,000 words of an unfinished book manuscript on my hard drive. Friends back home who missed me. Not to mention, if I got home soon, I could still catch the tail end of ski season—an activity I had grown to love after spending a year in Vail. Plenty of reasons not to be melodramatic.

Fate had brought me to Nepal for a reason, and it wasn’t to throw myself off a roof.

[this is a serial travel memoir about my experience traveling in Nepal. It’s best experienced from the start. Chapter 1 is located here]

I shook the thought from my head without much effort, and stepped back from the ledge.

Just in time too, as a middle-aged Nepali woman climbed up the ladder to the roof, and looked somewhat startled to see me there. The section of the roof I had climbed up to—which housed the solar heater, laundry lines, and other mechanical apparatuses—wasn’t exactly equipped for guests. Then again, it also wasn’t signed or locked off, the way such places usually are in the US. So I didn’t feel I’d overstepped my bounds terribly, especially since I was one of only a few guests at the hotel.

Still, probably for the best the poor woman didn’t encounter me staring off the edge.

We smiled, awkwardly. She had no English; even if she did, I wouldn’t have been in the mood to talk. She had a basket of laundry to hang. She set about her task, and I climbed down the ladder and off the roof.

I returned to my room, took a brief (cold) shower, and headed out in search of coffee and breakfast.




9 thoughts on “Nepal 44: Looking Down

  1. Today I opted to spend my boring 9-5 job reading Nepal from the beginning and it is now 2:51pm and my eyes are burning but it was worth it. I am breathless. Well done. My favorite quote may be a better title – “A truly Millennial tragedy”.

  2. It is such a deep pleasure to follow you around. I remember at 18 wandering the States in a similar manner with a small knapsack holding a poetry anthology and little else. Mississippi and New Orleans and the Kentucky hills were as strange to me as Nepal is to you and waitressing for $28 for a 48 hour week in New Orleans where I got fired because “We don’t smile at them!” when I served a Black man at the counter where he was not allowed to sit. This was 1949. Keep playing chess and studying those beautiful mountains wherever you are now–and I’m glad you will be back to your own CO mountains for Christmas. Thanks for writing as you go. I look forward to reading more and more! Love, Granny Kathy

  3. Hi Daniel
    Thanks for liking my post. You have the most fantastic banner photos on your site; I could watch them all day. And your articles look interesting too. The only downside, for me, is the adverts which keep popping up!
    Best wishes

    • The ads are a little intrusive, I agree. Running them for a few months as an experiment to see if I can earn any money off of this thing… thanks for your visit and your understanding!

  4. I clicked ‘Follow’ on your blog several months ago, quite early on in this series. I read one post and decided that somewhere along the way I would find time to read the rest and gain some Nepal travel inspiration. I FINALLY found myself stumbling across it again today and started from the beginning. A rainy Saturday afternoon, 3 cups of tea, a whole packet of Walnut crackers and a block of cheese, two stiff legs and a crooked neck later and I’ve just found myself at your 44th post in the series, completely enthralled by both the geographical and emotional journey you’ve been on. I’m more than a little inspired by your time in Pokhara so far and looking forward to keeping up with future posts as well as now looking forward to keeping my stay in Kathmandu next year as short as possible!

    Incredible writing, so glad I set aside the time to catch up on this.

    • Thank you very much for the long and heartfelt comment! Glad I could keep you inspired for the afternoon. That’s all any writer can ever want.

      Happy to have you along for the ride going forward!!

  5. Reminds me of my sojourn in Mexico where I too sought rooftops for solace and views and found laundresses at work. And welcomed them because do you know how hard it is to wash sheets and denims by hand?

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