Travel Theme: Numbers

I struggled with this week’s travel theme on “numbers”.  I didn’t have photographs or stories that I could recall.  However, I do love being impressed by the sheer number of things like sheep, or horses or monkeys.  So here are some crowd photos of  new animals friends met along the way:

Fluffy clouds with fluffy sheep taken during the lambing season on the Ridgeway in the South of England.

A field full of horses came over to greet us

A field full of horses came over to greet us!

..and as bucolic as the sheep country is, horses are so much more fascinating with their welcoming curiosity.

And finally, feeding time at the Swayambhuneth Temple, Kathmandu. Its called monkey temple for a reason, and you really don’t want to get in their way!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Cover Art



For this week’s Photo Challenge, we were asked to imagine images we would like to see gracing the cover of a book, an album, or a magazine. What image would we choose to  inspire others to take a peek through the pages, listen to the music, or buy a ticket to the show?

I chose an image for a coffee table book “Temples of Nepal” from a photo I recently took of the Namobuddha Stupa.  Now to start working on the content…!


Lick-a Paint….Lick-a Paint…!


In the episode “The Builders” The hapless, sloppy painter, O’Reilly, tries to  impress and appease Sybil with the promise of “a lick-a paint, a lick-a paint”…

You have to be a fan of Fawlty Towers to understand this reference. I am, and I could hear O’Reilly’s voice this week as we drove around Kathmandu.  Everywhere you look there was fresh paint on walls (and dripped over sidewalks) as the city starts to smarten up its a act in preparation for hosting the SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) conference next month.  The organization has eight member countries (Nepal, India, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Afghanistan and Pakistan) and basically all the new paint is about impressing the neighbours when they come to visit.  The press has promised a government sprucing up of main arteries that foreign dignitaries are likely to travel.  The budget seems to be for paint and flowers…not much else.

Work is well underway in our neighbourhood, with mixed results.  I am noticing how much cleaner and fresher the city is, but at the same time, they are also painting over impressive artist murals, and slapping the stuff around over old brick walls that looked better with an old patina than a badly applied coat of paint.  At least the paint companies are happy!  Here are a few photos from the efforts around town near us.  It should be noted that all the photos were taken within a five minute period…there are that many people all painting at the same time:


This community water source looked pretty good in old brick. Now it has sloppy white paint all over it. This one’s a fail.


Painting with a buddy


The end of a massive brick wall. Painting between the bricks takes a long time.


This half-painted wall technique is one that I’m seeing a lot. Its either a way of using less paint, or the philosophy could be “why paint the bottom bit that’s going to get dirty anyway?”


One of the smarter efforts




Whoa! What was that?!

I’m not really squeamish about bugs with the exception of cockroaches, perhaps?  But even then I will take them on armed with a shoe if I have to…But take a look at these critters…!


Dozens of them, crawling around on trees in Chiwan


Crawling on the exterior wall of our house. WTF?! What are the yellow things on its back? Something like pollen appears to be stuck to the antena? Stepping back…..!


Stepping back is definitely what was needed with this one. I never saw it. A young kid in Chitwan fished it out from the grass with a stick. I’ve long forgotten the name he told me, but apparently its a really poisonous one.

Travel Theme: Broken


This tractor is wearing a flower garland for the Dashian holiday, Nawami.  On this day income-generating vehicles and machinery are worshiped, and sacrifices are made to gain a blessing from the goddess Durga for protection against accidents. (Perhaps, a few road rules around here might go a long way too….)  But even this sad, abandoned tractor with flat, moss-covered tyres was being blessed. I’d like to think that someone remembered the importance of this piece of machinery in years gone by and decided to honour it as an old friend. Maybe a bit too romantic for a tractor?….but it was charming nonetheless.

See here for other travel  insights on Broken.


Nepali Slam Poetry

I would never think of “slam poetry” as something that would interest me.  But when I saw this short performance by the slam poetry group, Word Warriors, I just had to share it here. I think its astounding.

Like Indian women, Nepali women often suffer abuse in silence.  The are taught to accept gender-based violence as something that comes with being married, and the stories I hear are more than appalling.  They have no voice, no say, no rights.  Its time for things to change and, as women like this speak up, hopefully things will start to change.

This three minute performance is a powerful presentation.  Please take a few minutes to watch it.  Things will only start to change if they are heard.

About Word Warriors:  In November 2010, Quixote’s Cove organized the QC Awards 2010: The Poetry Slam and, with the US Embassy cultural program, brought three American slam poets to Nepal. After the success of this event, a group of around 15 young poets wanted to keep writing, sharing and performing poems and formed Nepal’s first ever slam poetry group, Word Warriors. Since then, Word Warrior members have performed at countless events, schools and colleges. They have organized two interschool slam competitions in Kathmandu Valley and Surkhet (outside the capital Kathmandu), and host monthly poetry performances in Kathmandu. The Word Warrior facebook group has over 9000 members and is one of the most vibrant online literary groups in Nepal. These young poets represent the beginnings of a grass root poetry movement.


Weekly Photo Challenge: Beautiful Dreamers

Most days when I’m out and about, I see someone sleeping in some unlikely spot, grabbing a quick snooze when and where they can.  Most of the time, I don’t have a camera to hand or the opportunity to take a snap. But sometimes, I do!  Here are some beautiful dreamers captured:


A quick snooze in Bhaktapur


These chairs were for sale at an action. I’m guessing this guy wasn’t interested in buying!


I wanted to sneak up and put a blanket over this one.

For more dreamers see: Weekly Photo Challenge: Dreamy