Chai.

Drinking a particularly dreadful up of Chai, but the view is not so bad.

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Chai.

Kathmandu.

A girl I’ve met here, Jos├ęphine, described her arrival in Kathmandu, after travelling from Europe, like stepping in an ant’s nest. It’s such a wonderful place, but it’s totally crazy. I spent two nights here when I first arrived, and it was a relief to get to Pokhara. It all becomes a bit intoxicating.

I managed to change my flights yesterday, so I have an extra month here now! Happy making.

Spent last night in a bar, with a British guy singing and playing guitar. A weird mix of traditional Nepali and British music, and it was awesome!

[the street we are staying on in Thamel.]

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Kathmandu.

Birthday.

My birthday was wonderful. We got the bus to Lakeside, and hired a rowing
boat across to the other side of the lake so that we could climb up to the World Peace Pagoda. Said we didn’t need someone to row for us to save us 100Rs… Turns out rowing was pretty hard work. But LUCKILY we met a strange swimming man who pushed us to the other side. He was called Samundra (or ‘Ocean’… I’m not sure if there is actually any link between these two words…), and was Nepali. He turned out to be quite a character, with a wonderful singing voice and a lot of chat about his ‘inner self’, although I
did actually have to be blunt and ask for ten minutes of silence at one point… He was a great guy anyway, and ended up climbing to the Pagoda with us (barefoot and in swimming shorts no less).

I experienced my first leech today. They’re fascinating little things, in a weird kind of way. Oh, and my nose does indeed have a hole in it again.

To Kathmandu tomorrow, in an attempt to delay my return flight by one month.

[Not a bad view to wake up to on one’s birthday eh.]

[Me, newly pierced.]

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+ Bon Iver’s ‘Holocene’. Because it is my anthem.

Birthday.

Pemats’al Sakya Monastic Institute.

Last week we visited a Tibetan Monastery (picture to follow when I get them processed… I only took one before my damn film ran out – I will never learn.). It was such a magical experience, yet I’m not really sure I can explain why. The monks were all orphans, or unwanted children, and it was situated high up in the top of the valley, with the most wonderful view of Pokhara and the Himalaya.

Once we got there, someone was playing a huge gong to signal prayer, the monks filed into the temple and begun chanting. Every one of them looked beautiful – wearing their maroon and orange clothing with their shaved heads (making me want to shave my head again, sorry in advance if I come home with substantially less hair… If I come home at all…).

I found their lifestyle remarkable. They lived, studied, ate and prayed within the monastery. Buddhism is a fascinating way of life.

Tomorrow is my birthday. We’re headed to the World Peace Pagoda to celebrate, and I’m getting my nose re-pierced, finally!

+ Kate Rusby’s ‘Drowned Lovers’. Beautifully sad. And her accent reminds me of home.

Pemats’al Sakya Monastic Institute.