Annapurna, Nepal, Pokhara, travel

All you need is love

I’m in Pokhara after a 9 hour bus ride for less than 200 miles.  God knows why we didn’t fly.  The roads  are beyond atrocious  …  But it’s pretty here


Lake Fewa,  late afternoon

and in the end,  that’s all that really matters,  the aesthetic.  Assuming there’s  food  water and shelter surely a beautiful something,  anything,  is reason to bless the day.


Our bus,  at a rest stop

I  can look and find it even on a thoroughly uncomfortable stuffy  bus ride,  with a ticket that says “Air Conditioned Luxury Bus” but isn’t,  where the question is met with an indifferent shrug yet a smile.  Because it is the smile that’s the payoff,  right? 

I’m sure there’s not much disagreement that love is a form of beauty.  Even though the building below is,  well let’s call a spade  a spade,  ugly,  it surely was named beautifully


It’s an orphanage  in  the middle of the journey somewhere. 

And I found some of that love on the t-shirt of one of the kids, 


I  Love Nepal the t-shirt says.  Sure,   not hard to do.  It’s a lovely  country with much beauty amidst the ugliness.  And much ugliness amidst the beauty. 

Dust.  Nepal is dusty.   It’s pervasive dust,  choking,  irritating,  cloying,  filthy,  penetrating and definitely ugly.  It’s just not right to see  a once green urban  tree struggle to  photosynthesize wearing its coat of grey or the dawn sun always colored blood red,  or the views of the majestic mountains surrounding Kathmandu and north of Pokhara obscured by thick haze.  Blame geography  as much as traffic or lack of sidewalks or the desiccated landscape  9 months of the year. The topsoil of the entire North Indian plain  ends up blowing towards the Himalayas and relief comes  only from the monsoon rains. I bought a mask


Yeah,  call me Darth

It helped with the dust immensely.  And it had the curious side effect of feeling like I was in my own private burqa (it’s actually a niqab but lets not split hairs) in the  sense I could feel protected and anonymous at the same time.   Safe almost.  Isn’t that the whole point made by supporters of the tradition?  I say  walk  a mile in their shoes before you have an opinion..

I saw pretty yesterday  walking around the back streets of Kathmandu away from the trekking area.  Incredible falling down  architecture


And the biggest laundry basket I ever saw


Obviously an ancient public spring/bathing area  put to timeless  use.  Even with all the dirt in the air the women (not the men)  mostly look fresh and clean in their traditional clothes.


A devotee at a Hindu festival with lots and lots of candles

And a bit of  cultural tolerance..if you look at it that way


In Nepal it’s  not a specifically Jewish symbol…  And ironically the Hindu cultures also use the swastika cross  but with the arms pointing  the  correct way,  not the perversion of  the Nazi symbol.

Cooks will fall in love with this photo. 


There’s a whole area of the street markets devoted to spices.   Just next door was a seller of dog muzzles,  fabric pouches designed to stop your friendly guard dog barking its head off all night.   Strangely enough he also sold tape measures. 

We are leaving tomorrow at 5.30 am for the 20 minute/50 mile flight North  over the Annapurna range to the start of the trek.  If the weather is bad the flight will be canceled (it looks good now at 8 pm)  and we’ll have to take another bone jarring 12 hour drive instead…  I hope for a great view of the range  as we fly over and  expect to see a whole lot more  beauty on this  trek as I  continue my love affair with this incredible land.