Nepal 110: Fuck the Money

I bussed back to Kathmandu.

I returned to the Annapurna Guesthouse, which was just as empty. The owner had kept my sneakers for me. When I asked, he smiled from behind the reception desk, opened a low drawer, and handed them to me, wrapped up in a blue plastic bag.

I would be a little sad to be leaving my blue ‘North Face’ hiking boots here in Kathmandu. We had some memories now, they and I. But, since I had worked so hard to negotiate a rental deal on them here in Kathmandu, I thought I should at least return the boots and reclaim my $30. That money could buy souvenirs for everyone back home.

I swapped the boots for my sneakers and struck back out into the maze-like streets of Thamel.

I had written two sentences of directions on the back of my rental receipt, but these proved to be woefully inadequate. I wandered the streets of Thamel for two hours, looking for the shop from which I had rented the boots. All the trekking outfitters looked the same, and none of them would admit to renting me a pair of hiking boots. Once, I was pretty sure I had found the correct shop, but the woman I had made the agreement with wasn’t there. The young Nepali men minding the shop said no, absolutely not, they didn’t rent boots.

That was as close as I got.

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Nepal 109: Goodbye to Lin

Linjon and I descended down the other side of the mountain from the Stupa. We had been told there was a waterfall to see, and truth was, really, we were both too cheap to pay for the water taxi back to Lakeside.

We walked for a long time, talking all the while. We saw the falls, saw a cave, and touched a more local side of Pokhara. By the time we returned to Lakeside, hours later, we were both sun-stricken and exhausted. But, in some way, we knew each well.

Travel friendships can be like that, sometimes.

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Nepal 108: The Stupa

The Stupa in Pokhara, Nepal

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid-in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming: “Wow! What a ride!”

—Hunter S. Thompson

The day after the interview, I got the email I knew was coming: After further consideration and review of your C.V., we have decided not to… blah, blah, blah.

I wasn’t sure if I should be relieved or devastated.

I didn’t feel much either way.

I had known I was not getting the job.

I knew I didn’t have the energy to remain abroad much longer. I was thoroughly used-up and totally worn-out. All that remained was to skid across the finish line: a bus to Kathmandu, then a flight home.

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Nepal 106: Back to Civilization

Photos of Pokhara with Himalayas

The jeep ride back to Pokhara took forever.

The road, typical of developing infrastructure, was rocky, dirty, and pothole-filled. The huge 4×4 jeep, luckily, was prepared for these conditions But I, riding without a seatbelt on one of the jump-benches in the back, was not.

My stomach was also feeling a little iffy — although clearly not as poorly as the diplomat’s daughter’s, who we had ceded the front seat to without any argument — and the jolting and sloshing was not helping anything.

But, the same way a life goes by day by day, month by month, year by year…the ride passed: minute by minute, hour by hour, until we were back on familiar ground.

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