Day 8: Nepal

Day 8: Friday, 24 April 2020 – Kathmandu, Nepal (27.7172° N, 85.3240° E) (48 Covid-19 cases & zero deaths as of today)

Here we are, just a week into The Global Scavenger Hunt 2020 23-day memory road edition…and we’ve already revisited Japan, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Myanmar. Makes sense…although I am kind of surprised we got no Laos memories from Luang Prabang: that Boun Pi Mai New Year’s water festival was a treat. Onward we go…we have a world to circle and just two short weeks now do it in.

The legend is that the idea of actually doing this scavenger hunt travel adventure came to me while visiting Nepal in the 90’s somewhere on the Annapurna Circuit. Anybody who knows me longer than 10-minutes knows how passionate about travel I am, and ever since participating in that 1989 race around the world on public transportation ala Around the World 80 Days, knows I wanted to do it again. Sadly, no one was ever foolish enough to organize such a thing…it is not a most financially viable enterprise one could undertake. But hey, you only live twice, right. So, yes, it was in Nepal that the reality that I could do it my way was first entertained. Divine intervention? Naw. More like oxygen deprivation. But as Thoreau, Nietzsche and Kant all knew: walking does make you think clearer. And so here we are…fifteen turns under our belt. Will another ever take place? I dunno in these radically uncertain times, the will is still there; but will there be a way?

We have visited Nepal a couple of times. It is a special place like no other. In a split screen moment of time in the mind’s nostalgic eye, I remember: my not yet 3-year old son being chatted up by a colorfully-dressed sadhu with a potion bag filled with who-knows-what, while my 13-year old daughter watching in horror as a man dies with his hand in the brackish-grey Bagmati River next to several burning body cremations on nearby ghants (the dying man’s fate within an hour), all while my wife tries to shoo away a couple of mischievous gray langur monkeys trying to steal my camera bag as I overlooked the always busy with pilgrims sprawling spiritual Pashupatinath hindu temple complex. All in one take! Life is like that sometimes for us travelers. And it seems to happen a lot in places like Nepal. Inspirational, breathtaking, amazing, saddening, magnificent, confusing, enchanting, enlightening, words are sometimes useless. Nepal must be seen and experienced.

Sadly though, our lone Nepal memory comes from the mother half of a 2008 mother-daughter team known simply as Claire & Mia (Not their real names! Funny story that is too…), here is Claire’s memory:

“Every moment in Nepal was astonishing and unforgettable, in ways I’ve never experienced in any other country. All my senses were continually bombarded with something extraordinary, on every level, from shallow to profound. Art adorns almost every surface; there is also grinding poverty nearly everywhere. Thus my eyes were dazzled by beauty even as my heart so often ached. Women in bright jewel-toned saris emerge from blue tarp slum encampments to step over smoking piles of garbage on the way to fetch water. Shoeless, malnourished children trudge past well-fed girls in crisp school uniforms waiting for a school bus. In one glance down the Bagmati River I saw a family of means above the burning corpse of a loved one, scrawny poor children searching the river bottom for the gold teeth of the incinerated dead, a beautiful young woman waist deep in the river washing a bright orange sari. I also found in Nepal, more than any other place I’ve been, a fierce determination to improve themselves and their nation, a palpable drive to learn and prosper. Every third world country has beggars, but only in Nepal have I seen signs posted everywhere imploring citizens: Preserve our dignity, do not beg.”
The sights, sounds & smells…

A Mount Everest flight…on Buddha Air?

And the money shot…

The 2013 Tribe in KTM…

Lucca & dad having drinks in Bhaktapur…

Daughter & dad                    Ms. Pamela learning the finer points…yum.

Our final subcontinent stop tomorrow is the mack-daddy of all travel adventure destinations–India! Because, as Frank would sing: If you can travel there, you really can travel anywhere. 

Stay safe and well. Till tomorrow…

Please send any memories you want us to post to ringmaster (at) globalscavengerhunt (dot) com