Sujan walked me around Kathmandu for a few hours.
As we spent more time together, our chemistry grew and my walls started to drop, a little bit. We went to the monastery, where we spun prayer wheels and spoke of the mixture of Hinduism and Buddhism. Although in the U.S. we are taught the two religions are separate, here, as in many places in Asia, they have intermingled.
“Do not be afraid,” Sujan says when I hesitate to enter a temple. “Is touristic place.”
He shows me an array of butter lamps inside the temple. “Do you have someone to light one for? Good health, good thoughts? Prayers? Love?”
I light a lamp for Holly, and we return to the streets of Kathmandu.
As I stepped out of the barber’s hole in the wall, I enjoyed the feeling of a light breeze on my clean-shaven face. Unfortunately, that selfsame breeze blew a giant cloud of dust down my throat, and I spent the next thirty seconds coughing it up.
Once I had expelled everything that was going to be expelled, I put the buff back over my nose and mouth. Fucking Kathmandu.
The hits kept coming, as yet another young Nepali came up alongside me and started matching pace.
(I must admit to stealing the image from Google here — I’m not such an Instagram whore that I take pictures of my haircuts. Also, if you are new to this story, I humbly suggest you start at Chapter 1. Best!)
I hadn’t had a haircut or a shave since Holly and I left Bali, a month and a half ago.
I’d gotten a spectacularly bad cut from some Balinese woman who had been more preoccupied with trying to sell me a massage than actually focusing on cutting my hair. The trauma had been such that I hadn’t even attempted to negotiate a hair cut in Taiwan, where English was significantly less common than Bali. Trust me, you don’t know “bad hair day” until you’ve tried to communicate what you want to a foreign hairdresser, using some mishmash of pictures, Hollywood stars, and estimating lengths using your fingers.
Photos taken in Kathmandu Durbar Square in February 2016, ten months after the April 2015 Gorka Earthquake which devastated Nepal. The earthquake caused severe damage and loss of life in Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital city. Damage is still quite visible in the historic Kathmandu Durbar Square.
This is a photo supplement to my Nepal narrative. You can read my chapter on Kathmandu Durbar Square here, start from the beginning if you want to learn more about Nepal, or just enjoy the pictures!
As I wandered through the shady local streets, I heard snatches of what sounded like several different languages. I wasn’t really in the mood to shop, so I just kept going straight ahead. When the streets got too narrow for my liking, I turned down the next alley. In this way, I passed the afternoon.
Eventually, I emerged from the narrow, crowded alleys into a more open space. I felt the sun beat down upon my skin, and I warmed ten degrees. Those shaded alleys had been chilly. Here, there were souvenir stands and sunglasses vendors. It felt more like Thamel than the local streets I’d been wandering all afternoon.
Idly, I wondered if I had walked in a giant circle. Maybe this was Thamel.