November 13, 2017: Okay so another day. Can I just say I love Nepal. Kathmandu. Of course I do.
November 12, 2017: Sunday Night in Kathmandu…isn’t there a dirty ditty of some sort by that name? In any case this will be a quick and dirty diary ramble with few pretty pictures and practically no full sentences…maybe just adjectives? I traveled most of two days to get here to the Apsara Boutique Hotel, Kathmandu, Nepal. I literally fell into my new bed about 3pm, not sure I’d move again for 24 hours. But who’s got time for such nonsense when this strange city and valley beckon—although not right now; this evening it’s in bed with Surfy and a meal of yogurt and chapatti. Many photos to download and albums to make. And sleep to lay me down to…
I feel compelled to share a few quick observations about the delights and torments of the “sausage-making” part of travel…the stuff they never show in the glossy travel mags. You need to split your personality into three parts and multiply your energy level by three just to make it through. For example, the last day and a half has been primarily standing in lines—tickets, passport control, security, airport fees; climbing off and on planes and the buses from the gates, miles out to your lonely plane in far left-field; taxis to and from hotels; keeping the paper-shit together—passport, arrival form, departure form, customs form, ongoing plane ticket…you get the picture. Barely-adequate Administrator Me managed that, barely. Now I’m trying to write something worthy of being written. That would be Reporter Me but it’s a hard slog tonight because Adventurer Me hasn’t had any worthy in-country experiences during this time. It is after all this third Me that is the reason I’m spending Sunday night in Kathmandu. Shall I make something up? A murder on the odd little rooftop garden just out my window…I actually saw the brute raise the ice pick high just before I heard the scream ? The life story of my Sherpa, the one who will be climbing Everest with me on Tuesday—just a few more planks and I’ll be ready? And a woman on the street just handed me this little black-eyed baby girl and ran off and now I don’t know what to do…how will I smuggle her back to the States and give her to Steven and Michele so they can raise her with Luna and Kalia?
I’ll start posting brilliant photos of idiosyncratic temples and glorious mountain ranges soon…yes. no?
Back to Yesterday. November 11, 2017: Yangon International Airport
I think I’ll drink alcohol tonight. Two drinks. The first after I check in at 5pm and gain access to all airport things glittery and for sale. The second when I arrive for my Bangkok hotel overnighter. I am in the middle of a travel-24, but thankfully (but therefore less of a photo op) not on the Bagan-Yangon train. One wine was all I managed.
I started this leg in a surprisingly encouraging fashion—an edifying and enjoyable conversation with a State Department employee on the flight down to Yangon from Bagan. Suffice it to say I will feel better falling asleep tonight with the reminder that our federal government is mostly staffed by experienced intelligent career personnel who will do their jobs based on generally sensible long-range policies and directives that have been around for awhile, and that their interactions with their peers around the world will let us maintain some of the credibility we’ve projected when at our best. It was just so damn uplifting. I’ve been invited to his home during my short stay in Delhi and, for once, I’m excited about actually connecting with another American half a world away. Sorry to go on but well… ‘it was just so damn uplifting!’
Can’t check in for my Bangkok flight until 5…I’m thinking a nice Myanmar sauvignon blanc… In my travels with Lace I try to offer up useless, but colorful, old-folk sayings—one of my offerings in Vietnam was ‘making a silk purse from a sow’s ear.’ It is a useful phrase especially when traveling. I have these four hours to kill in a departure area with almost no food or drink and no internet. But me—making a silk purse—I’m enjoying the good cappuccino, getting a head start on the next blog post, and embracing the decision to skip that 21-hour train ride for an extra day in Kathmandu…which I find quite thrilling to be honest.
I’m happy. It’s not that I never feel ‘happy’ on my couch or at my desk…it’s just that I notice it when I’m away from the familiar. Solo travel is such a perfect introvert’s pastime, just that inner-me peering out of my shell with plenty to observe, and so few with whom to discuss it. Three weeks in and I’m happy…worth noting.
Midnight:01, November 12th: Suvarnabhumi Villa Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand. A friendly smiling passport control official checked me in at the Bangkok airport. When was the last time somebody joked with you in a security/passport line? Back in ’83 once…. And Bangkok has a special line for monks, the disabled, and people over 70!
That little exchange almost made up for the fact that by the time I got to hotel (nice one), organized my bags, showered, and had to go back to the airport for this morning’s flight to Kathmandu, I had had almost no sleep…so long story short…I’m here. It’s now 8pm and I’m going to sleep
AND IT’S NEPAL.
Kathmandu appears to be quite a dusty mess with all the streets torn up and full of the most maddening traffic I’ve seen so far…make’s Hanoi’s motor bikes seem like cute kiddie tricycles. But it does not appear dull! Exploring tomorrow out in the Valley and maybe a bit around town, probably to the Monkey Temple whatever that turns out to be…with monkeys I suppose.
AND I SAW A BIG PART OF HIMALAYAN RANGE FLYING IN. Don’t know if one of the mountains was Everest, but how powerful and grand even from such a distance the whole scene was. Tuesday, if everything works out I’ll be on a flight over to them. Please let it work out.