Trip Start Mar 21, 2005
351Trip End Ongoing
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By evening, fourteen hours later, the buses were running again. This meant that the bus arrived in Kathmandu at 3 a.m., so I decided to walk clockwise around the Ring Road of Kathmandu, towards Boudha stupa, with the Dogs of Kathmandu howling as a misty rain covered the quiet asphalt street.
An hour or two later, I boarded a local bus heading clockwise and soon reached the Sechen Guest House, where I had stayed six months previously. After sleeping on the patio couch--exhausted--until someone arrived at 7 a.m., I checked in, slept, and began to sort through the camping gear I left in their attic storage.
My next door neighbor was Paolo, an Italian living in Germany. I met him as he was relaxing in his chair in his doorway, smiling comfortably. He was here to work with Nepali artisans to develop crafts for his yoga studio and to help an orphanage school that his studio sponsored.
I was in Kathmandu again to retrieve my camping gear, to revisit the Sheldrubling Monastery and Chokyi Nyima, to fix my equipment and re-equip myself, and to enjoy the Boudha area and surrounding forested mountains before meeting Kevin and Nate in Delhi. I was also hoping to see some familiar faces and places along the way.
One day, I attended Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche's weekly talk at the White Monastery. Before he arrived, I talked with Noah and others who work and study in the monastery, saying hello after six months.
On another day, I visited Tip Top Restaurant, though Sanjay was no longer there to chat philosophically or to play chess. Around the corner, I met with the Freak Street Book Store man. We greeted each other like old friends. Since I was gone, he had learned how to play a bamboo flute and demonstrated his skill. On a side street, I revisited the Snowman Cafe for a chocolate cake and a chai, just like last time.
In Thamel, I bought new boots to replace the ones stolen in Bihar. I also bought fleece, a new day pack, socks, and a new travel towel. Over time, things develop large holes or are irreparable.
That night, the fever and diarrhea started and I stayed in the Sechen Guest House. The newspaper told me that twenty children from a Nepali village had died from diarrhea. Why does this still happen when curing this ailment has simple solutions?
Paolo gave me some Myrrh, the same medicinal herb that one of the three kings from the Orient brought to the manger of Jesus long ago. In eastern medicine, Myrrh is considered a strengthening herb, improving the constitution while acting as an antiseptic.
Once relatively recovered, I hiked around the forested mountainsides surrounding Kathmandu, twice visiting Phulchokyi, the highest peak in the area. There, I broke in my hiking boots and explored the forests and its wildlife. While walking through the deciduous forests, I was lucky to see the graceful Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo, the Darjeeling and Bay Woodpeckers, Ashy Wood Pigeon, Great Barbet, Verditer Flycatcher, Eurasian Jay, Streak-breasted Scimitar Babbler, Maroon Oriole, Black-lored Tit, Slaty-backed Forktail, Striated Laughingthrush, Black-capped Bulbul, Small Niltava, and a dozen other sylvan birds found in the Himalayas. Sometimes, dozens of birds surrounded me, as a feeding flock moved together through the forest.
After my second morning at Phulchokyi, I took several buses back to the Sechen Guest House and left for the airport, heading for Delhi to meet Kevin and Nate for over three weeks.