Well..’tis done. Everything is back in the box and heading into the pale
blue grey, dusty yonder…
The packers were very professional and fast. I was pleasantly surprised to be truthful. It was very encouraging.
Its hard to be leaving, and its not quite sunk in yet. Here’s a little video glimpse:
Monkeys are everywhere in Kathmandu, especially around temples or scraps of undeveloped land. They are so fun to watch, but can also be annoying pests and even dangerous at times. I had fun filming them on the Bagmati River last week. I think they were actually hamming it up for the camera. Here’s a few seconds worth. Enjoy!
Nepalis work a 6-day week and Saturday is the day off. Its a family day and the streets are quieter, so I decided to sneak off to Swayambhunath temple for a couple of hours to watch the monkeys and soak in the atmosphere. I thought a 9am departure was pretty early and that I would get there before any crowds. I was wrong!
Family time was in already in full swing when I arrived and the monkeys had long since split. However, it was fun to watch the lines at temple, the coin tossing in the pond, and the general mayhem going on around me. Families were setting up for a picnic in the most unlikely locations — and by picnic I mean cooking pot and granny peeling vegetables — and musicians blared and dueled with one another. I just sat with my camera and watched.
Yet, surprisingly, there were still quiet corners. As usual, I tried to capture a little here:
Bandhs are general strikes. They have plagued this country in recent years: closing businesses, banning public transportation, and generally inconveniencing everyone for days at a time. After a relatively bandh-free year, they are back and the Maoists who instigate them called for a three-day ban, starting today. They seem to be having a harder and harder time making them stick…but still managed to take the chaos of Kathmandu down to a very strange kind of crawl today. Motorized vehicles vanished, schools closed, people walked to work or didn’t go at all. The only vehicles allowed were essential deliveries, emergency services, tourist buses and diplomatic vehicles. Those who disobeyed faced the possibility of confrontation or violence, so police were at every street corner. Yet, despite the threat, pedestrians filled the streets and the roads were quiet and more than a bit spooky.
So, in complete contrast to my earlier video of Kathmandu traffic, here’s a look at what happened today:
This evening, after some unseasonably heavy rain, I returned home from work to a cloud of dragonfly-like bugs swarming across the garden. I followed their source, across the flower bed, to a patch of dirt where the bugs were hatching. They seemed to be materializing from thin air, struggling for just a few seconds to find their wings, then moments later they fluttered up and flew away. The crows had spotted them long before me, and were watching greedily from the surrounding rooftops. They watched, they waited, and then swooped down for bug snacks. The life span of some must have been less than one minute: a murder of crows, indeed!
Its not uncommon to see crows at dusk in Kathmandu, but you usually hear their raucous cries first. As the sun goes down, they circle the tree tops to nest for the night and it feels (and sounds) just like a Hitchcock movie. So, with apologies to Hitchcock, here are some shots of this evening’s bug and bird spectacular that happened right in my yard!
As sort of a second installment of my recent stay in Chitwan, here’s a follow up video to The Bridge.
Most evenings, we like to sit by the river with a glass of wine, fight off the mosquitoes and watch the sun go down. Across the same bridge, a ten minute walk away, is the nearest village. On our second to last night there, we took a stroll over and shot the evening routines. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did:
We have drivers here in Kathmandu. I’ve a personal driver who takes us back and forth to work and motor pool drivers that take me to work events. Its a necessity really, not a luxury. I don’t think I could ever stand to drive here myself amid all the traffic mayhem or take the crowded, tiny micro buses that serve as public transportation. So I spend a lot of time in the back of a car, watching flashing images of people, places and things fly by the window. The surprising, the colourful, and the sometimes downright scary, make up for the monotony of traffic and the blare of omnipresent horns. Sometimes, I try to capture all of the craziness with my camera, but often soon as something interesting appears, it is gone. But, occasionally, I succeed and a little bit of the city is captured with my lens. Here’s a set of some of the better images, presented as close to realism as I can manage. Plug your ears!
Watching Chitwan river life from my favourite chair on the bank by a bridge….
The Bead Market is in the central area of Kathmandu and kind of tough to visit as the traffic can be really bad in that area of town. But its worth seeing the riot of colour and to watch the necklaces be made or altered right there in front of you. Lots and lots of choices, especially if you like green, red and gold! Looks Christmas-y to me, but the colours are a symbol of martial status here in Nepal. Enjoy!