Sounds and Sights of Kathmandu

It is now mid-way through my time in Kathmandu. Life here is a stark juxtaposition of special moments and gracious people, set against an often chaotic city, teeming streets and harsher realities.

I wake daily to the sonorous sound of monks chanting, take walks to circle the grand and serene Boudha stupa, and am touched by the solemn eyes of a child sharing the traditional Namaste greeting.GDR 2014_10 Nepal Sch_SMD 02 The daily walk to clinic passes women in vivid saris, fruit vendors selling from overloaded bicycles, sacred cows, and temples draped in golden marigolds. Life feels vibrant, heightened and rich.

Yet the challenges are many. Roads are rough, potholed and overrun with motorcycles, horns blare and the streets are filled to overflowing. It is a challenge to do business in a culture too gracious to say no, and operating with a more relaxed sense of time. Darkness signals the incessant chorus of barking dogs. Time here is intense, noisy and jarring.

The joining of this magic and intensity heightens life, resetting perspectives and challenging comfortably held notions. This is why I travel and I am grateful to this amazing place and time.

by Laurie Mathews

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