BootsnAll Travel Network


One week in the capitol city of Nepal; far too much time to spend there. At first, it seemed like an oasis in my Asian travels. The excellent food, low prices and abundance of other western travelers seemed too good to be true. In the end it proved to be little more than a façade, luring weary travelers with its siren songs of home-style comforts. While I will not deny that proper steaks, pizzas and ice cream was a welcome change, I would have been just as happy with the local Nepalese food.

The large collection of foreigners also provided hope in meeting a few friends to travel with. However, the majority of people that I’ve encountered have been middle-aged yuppie Mt. Climbers and the lost souls of burnt-out, dreadlocked hippies. There is virtually no backpacker-style community that normally accompanies the hostel scene, and it’s not as easy to fall into conversation with strangers who are locked into their tight groups. So, I was left with a lot of free time alone to fight off the endless wave of touts and dodge death by avoiding all of the speeding motorcycles on the thin dirt streets.

The more I stayed there, the more I could find ways to compare it to a dance-club from my home town, called Kathmandu (strangely, it had a Caribbean theme). That “meat-market” is over-populated with jocky frat-boys and girls dressed like sluts, and was unofficially dubbed Kathmandon’t by my friends. It was always completely hollow and devoid of true substance, just as the Thamel section has turned out to be.

While most of my impressions are based on that section of Kathmandu, I did make it out a couple times to see more of the true city. One of the top sights, The Durbar Square, was former home to the Kings of Nepal and play host to an overwhelming collection of temples, statues, and a crazy bustle of modern Nepali life. While the traditional architecture was interesting and witnessing Hindi culture proved to be a new experience, I felt that I could only glimpse the surface and was only getting a superficial view of it.

see all of my photos from Durbar Square

I also took an afternoon to hike up to Swayambunath, the “Monkey-Temple”. It struck me as being very similar to the Tibetan-Buddhist religious architecture, but the panoramic views of the Kathmandu valley and hordes of curious little monkeys provided enough entertainment to make the trip worth it.

see all of my photos from Swayambunath

Regardless of the little intrigues I found, the city is wearing very thin for me. The pollution and trash problems are horrendous. It makes China look clean, and has given me some insight into what India may be like. Poverty is extremely rampant, and the overwhelming of beggars and English-speaking touts are too persistent and more annoying than not speaking the language. I’m learning almost nothing of the local language, and starting to feel as if this place only exists to foreigners as a “Disney-fied” tourist attraction. The exotic nature of this place that first appealed to me has already faded, and is proving to be more trying than I could have imagined.

see all of my misc photos from Kathmandu

So now I’m leaving Kathmandu on a bus to Pokhara; reputedly another tourist ghetto where I will find more of the same disenchantment. At least the city serves as a base for mountain trekking, kayaking and other outdoor activities in the Himalayas. Maybe they will provide an escape from these impressions and help me to overcome the sorrow and feelings of loss that build up after spending three months of your life somewhere.

I’m starting to severely miss China. I must either have been traveling too fast or too slow. I have previously prided myself in taking the time to experience the culture properly and not rush through. What is the point of seeing other lands through a passing window? But sometimes it feels as if my soul has been taxed by developing comfort and happiness, and then ripping it away to throw me into a foreign land when I wasn’t truly ready to leave the last. I’ve always been fond of experiencing as much as life has to offer, but this journey has been slowly teaching me that when you find something perfect, maybe its best not to let it go.


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One response to “Kathmandon’t”

  1. Sharon Shane says:

    It is Thanksgiving here in the States as I am reading your current blog entry. I am grateful for you, Adam, and the gift you are offering me to be able to participate in your expression of your soul journey through the written word and the majestic photo images!

    I know trying to process all of your experiences are feeling like grabbing a burger at a “drive-through” McDonald’s, but trust that you will be able to savor and digest much more of it for many months and years even after your journey ends. A lot of that digesting will come from the re-telling of your stories again but a great deal will come from the distance placed between you and the past events to be able to measure your soul’s growth.


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