04 Nov - 06 Nov 2014 Kathmandu

The Double Bipolar City (II) …
Matt: Joining once more both Buddhist pilgrims and especially Hindu devotees, meeting more innocent travellers in Thamel's backpacker Disneyland and even more clever locals in Kathmandu's dusty suburbs and taking some R&R after my previous independent multi-day trek through the mighty Himalayas.

 “Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.” 

Matt: Changing from a filthy mountain vagabond back into a spick-and-span city slicker: (i) laundering a 3-kg load of dirty linen for NPR 50.- or US$ 0.50 per kg (washed and dried, but you get what you pay for) at one of the many nondescript tourist laundries in Thamel, (ii) visiting a genial Indian barber opposite my hotel (crew cut, clean shave and relaxing head-and-shoulder massage for overpriced NPR 250.- or US$ 2.50, souvenir photos included), and (iii) meeting lovely fellow traveller Csilla from Budapest...

"Baby, I've been waiting,
I've been waiting night and day.
I didn't see the time,
I waited half my life away..."

"...no woman, no cry; no ganja, no high…"
(Bob Marley, relit)

Matt: Visiting Kathmandu's most important Hindu sanctuary, the Sri Pashupatinath Temple (easily avertible admission: NPR 1,000.- or US$ 10.- per foreign non-believer), located on the banks of the holy Bagmati River, surrounded by a bustling market of religious stalls selling fresh marigolds, yummy offerings aka lekker prasad, befogging incense sticks, high-energy rudraksha beads, cartoon-like pictures of Hindu deities, colourful tilaka powder, dildo-shaped glass lingams and other essential spiritual paraphernalia, thus taking a local minibus from Ratnapark Bus Stop to Gaushala (c. 3 km. ¼ hour, NPR 18.- per person), catching tantalising glimpses of Nandi, Shiva's thaumaturgical bull, and exploring the open-air cremation ghats along the polluted Bagmati River.

Matt: Meeting scores of posing sadhus, affable and holy enough multitaskers (ascetics, beggars, comedians, philosophers, charlatans, yogis and businessmen) who wander around Kathmandu in their orange outfits, sometimes even half-naked and smeared in dust with their long hair matted, and discussing together with them a few topics of mutual interest, such as (i) the working principles of a turbocharged diesel engine, (ii) the environmental benefits of source-segregated recycling, and (iii) the non-sectarian spiritual setting of Waldorf-inspired home schooling.

"One cannot not communicate."

Matt: Taking a local bus, driven by a maniac, from the Bag Bazar Bus Stop to the highly recommendable Siddhi Laxmi Guest House +97716612500 at ancient Bhaktapur (15 km, 1 hour, NPR 25.- per person), thus passing Kathmandu's dusty and dirty outskirts which are full of (i) hundreds of brand-new but already crumbling small banks which distribute valueless money, (ii) hundreds of brand-new but already crumbling small colleges which distribute meaningless knowledge and (iii) hundreds of brand-new but already crumbling small hospitals which distribute ineffective treatment.

For Raoni, Tien and Ronja: 
Beim Reisen treffe ich sehr viele Leute, unterhalte mich gern lange mit ihnen und nehme beim Zuhoeren beides wahr, die sprachlichen Gemeinsamkeiten zwischen uns und natuerlich auch die Unterschiede. Bei den Unterschieden ist mir hier in Asien besonders aufgefallen, dass manche Menschen, vor allem im Dunstkreis der vielen Tempel, lieber sprachliche Verallgemeinerungen (fluffy nominalisations and generalisations) benutzen (wie z.B. "der heilige Gott", "der ewige Glaube", "die persoenliche Selbstfindung") und andere wiederum, beispielsweise auf Maerkten und in Kneipen, eher konkret und sinnesbezogen reden, also sichtbare, hoerbare und begreifbare Beschreibungen (specific criteria: visible, hearable, palpable) benutzen (wie z.B. "ein kaltes Bier", "ein dreckiger Bus", "ein hoher Berggipfel"). Mein Leben ist immer konkret. - Was genau habt Ihr Euch fuer heute vorgenommen und woran, ganz konkret, werdet Ihr feststellen, dass Ihr es auch wirklich erreicht habt? 
From Nepal, with Love!

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