Kathmandu: dusty place with friendly ghosts

Kathmandu, 10.4. – 13.4.

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What did the some people warned us: Get out of this City, its dirty, its smoggy, its chaotic and its loud. And all these warnings were true, but -hell yeah – we loved this bloody town. For sure it is loud and chaotic, the Traffic is a nighmare, some people are actually driving some homebuilt-looking cars, everybody is honking and screaming at everyone else; and all these sounds of engines, honks, and peolpes voices keeps Kathmandu’s air vibrating, that you can feel it in your lungs, even if you wear a Bandana over your face to protect your breathing from the – sometimes – terrifying smog on the streets. But you will get used to these suroundings, you will get amused to some weird behaviour and you will learn to accept the city how it is. Only one thing is relly unappropriate, the sadly missing knowledge of the people not to throw their gargabe on the treets and into the rivers.

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But besides that smog and the dirt its a city of love, its a historical side, where the old Kingdoms were placed. Its a city where Religion matters as nothing else, while on the same time, Buddhism and Hiduism is more or less mixed up, with a lot of people telling you, that they are as well Hindus as Buddhist, and living all toghether peacefully with their Muslim and Christ neighboors. It is a city of temples and of traditions, and its impossible not to think, that this city, before the industrialisation hit it, had been one of the most beautiful of the whole world.

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And what did we learnded while travelling the world ,what is it, that makes some places wonderful, while others suck? Its always the peolpe you are surrounded by… and in this case, Kathmandu was magical. While trekking we met a bunch of fellas from Kathmandu, domestic trekkers – not very often to seen on these more or less crowded treks in the Himalaya. About ten frieds, just having a good time outside of the city. We met them one evening in a small mountain lodge while warming our feet on the oven in the livingroom, when they start inmediatly startet to share their food with us. It was a fun night, the fellas started singing Nepali Folk songs, and we shared in some german ones….

20130415-115352.jpg 20130415-111824.jpgBefore we left next morning, we left to one of them a lil‘ note with our contacts, so that, maybe we could hang out, as soon as we get back to Kathmandu after Trekking. They holded on to their offer meet and show us around Kathmandu. They welcomed us, with their big open buddhist hearts and a wry smile on their faces. Foremost to mention Sunny, who even tried to pick us up at the bus stop. We had some communication problems with the german cellphone, so unfortunatly he didnt receive our message about our early arrival and waited for us for almost an hour. But we made it the next day and met in Pathan. Sunny took us around all the temples, different cultural sites, some excellent cafes and bars and explained everything. We also got to share the adventure to pillon ride a bike throught these chaotic streets of this heartbeating city. We went to the Kumari temple, to see the living godness – Sunny wife’s aunt belongs to the caretaker family, and they intented to explain us the backgrounds. The probably most stunning experience was our visit of an traditional Newari Restaurant. Tabea and I, we couldnt even stand properly in this room, the sealing was to low. It was dark, and dirty with a toilet so disgustig, i guess an equivalent will be hard to find, even in European jails. We sat down and both sunnys (Sunny friends name was also Sunny, so in order to stop the confusion, we named them sunny black and sunny (frank) white) startet to order food in Nepali, we didnt know what to expect, but also we didnt care. After seconds 5-6 small dishes were brought to the table. You eat it like spanish tapas, small portions in the middle of the table and eveyone grabs a lil bit of everything. Its spicy, hot food, buffallo meat grilled, boiled or dried and vegetables or patotos in curry and garlic. More and more dishes arrived and the Sunnys insisted upon trying everything even without knowing what it was. In the end we had some buffalo spinal collumn and some buffalo lungs, which even was kind of tasty, but the consistency.

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These days and nights, these Newari boys made our stay in Kathmandu that outstanding. Ive never been welcomed that friendly in an foreign city. They even often demand to pay the bills with the argument, that we are right now in their country and this is a gesture of hospitality, which would be the same the other way around, if they ever come to visit Germany….

Even when i first hated Kathmandu, during these three days it conquered a lil place in my heart. Thamel is such a relaxed district, you can get lost in these narrow allies, but you feel like on a discovery tour in colourful city jungle. Also, there are these quiet and spirituell places, where all the noise, the dirt and the smog doesnt matter. The Buddhist Stupas in Boudha or the Monkey Temple, the old citys of Kathmandu, Pathan and Bakthapur, where the 3 Kongdoms were established and grounded – These places are unique, peaceful and full of beauty and magic.

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Thanks guys for showing us your Kathmandu and open our eyes throught the smog. We will always be thinking of you as good friends of ours, and hopefully we can return your hospitality one day in Germany. That we will come back to Nepal to visit you guys once more, or even go trekking all together is already carved in stone.

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