Monday, July 14, 2008

It's the People, Stupid!

This one's for you, Keith Nitta!
"There are places I remember
All my life, though some have changed,
Some forever, not for better,
Some have gone and some remain..."
As I enter my last month in Nepal, I find myself full of a jumble of mixed feelings about my departure. Yes, I will be VERY happy to see Katie and Maggie and all of our wonderful friends. Yet, I can hardly bear the thought of leaving behind the people of Nepal who have become like family to me here. When I am with them my happiness is now tinged with a sad awareness that out time together is growing short.

Bittersweet. Wistful. With an ache.
The first Kathmandu friends were the Mulepati family - our Himalya Guesthouse hosts. In an earlier blogpost I shared the story of Moni and her husband, Pem Sherpa and their Everest summit. Below is Moni's brother Monish crashed on the couch after a late night of Internet surfing. (Monish, please don't kill me for posting this photo!) Pem and Moni's daughter stars in the photos with each of her grandparents: Mohan and Shanti. Staying with them has been a wonderful experience and each day when I return home I truly feel that I am are being greeted by family.

In the photo with Carly is Radicha, a young girl who is living with the family and helping out with chores and babysitting. She has the cutest smile yet the best sad, pouting face ever. All in one girl.
All these places had their moments, With lovers and friends I still can recall...
Some are dead and some are living, In my life I've loved them all.

My Basantapur neighborhood friend is Chandra who owns Chad's Flag House. In the photo with him are his two drop-dead gorgeous daughters. The one on the right works in a fair trade handicraft store that supports a local orphanage and the other is a student. Chandra is native to the Durbar Square area dating back to at least his great grandparents so he knows all the local history and lore. He has dragged me around to so many hidden temples that I cannot keep them straight. But he's on my good list because he takes me to the "safe to drink" freshly made on-the-spot juice place. Best mango juice EVER! Chandra is usually sitting out in front of his shop each morning and evening either reading the paper or visiting with friends so I get to see him a lot. He always asks me: "Any good news?" Translation: "What's up?" or "How was your day?" Nice guy.
This is my favorite taxi driver, Mr. Lama. He takes me to work most of the time and I am sad when he is not out on Freak Street waiting for me. During the transport strike I didn't get to see him for over a week and that was really bad. We only know each other's names, the fare price we have mutually agreed on and a few phrases. He is the most centered human being driving in the Kathmandu craziness. Duh, he's Buddhist - he's Lama.

This is Arjun who works in a jewelry store owned by his cousins. He likes to talk about the healing power of the stones and the chakras and Reiki healing. He is hysterical once he gets wound up and excited talking about all of this. He used to teach yoga? He is charming and I swear he is Italian/Nepali but he says he is not. Anyway, we are doing jewelry business together. The gemstone prices here are unbelievable. You can design your own setting and get it back in a couple of days.
Last but certainly not least is my young soulmate buddy, Sudip Lama. He is the sweetest young guy with a great sense of humor and a world-class smile. Sudip and I ran into each other three times by accident on the streets of Thamel and therefore decided that our friendship was destiny. Sudip works for a trekking company and since its the off season he is free to be our tour guide. He is working on his tourist visa to come to the States and has a job waiting for him in New Mexico. Hard for Nepali people to get visas these days though so we shall see. Anyhow, I'm determined that Sudip will not fall forever through Nepal's bureaucratic cracks - he is too special. I am working on a business idea with him that would support the fair trade handicraft business here in Nepal. Sort of DeltaMade in South Asia! Sudip would be my Nepal connection.
I hope he gets to come to the U.S. one day so you can all meet him. Funny, to meet a young man in a foreign country with whom you share belly laughs.

But of all these friends and lovers,
There is no one compared with you,
And these mem'ries lose their meaning
When I think of love as something new.
Though I know I'll never lose affection
For people and things that went before,
I know I'll often stop and think about them
In my life I love you more.

1 Comment:

  1. David Jackson said...
    Hi, really enjoyed reading your blog which I stumbled across looking for pictures of Moni & Pem. The Himalayas Guest House is my usual abode when I'm in Kathmandu - it's been 4 years since I was last there, Moni was preparing for her climb of Everest and the maoists were still at war.. It's all coming back to me now - the dawn chorus of puja bells, throat clearing, dogs, cockerels, pressure cookers hissing, motorbikes and tinny transitor radios - waking up with a hangover from last night's raksi, nipping out to the Snowman for a smoothie and cake, going for "an english" at the Cosmopolitan or Hot Breads.. getting dragged off to Bhaktapur for family festivities - where does all that beaten rice come from? and the "rubber curry" that buffalo meat can be like chewing leather!!... Can't wait to go back and experience the delightful madness of it all - roll on November!! - thanks for your great blog - Dave J

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