acquaintance with Kathmandu through the eyes of people in love with Nepal

Episode 82 is about the round-the-world trip of a Muscovite Irina Sidorenko and her dog Greta. This time – to Kathmandu

A former employee of a Moscow elite real estate agency, after several training car trips, decided to travel around the world in a car and in the company of a dog. You can follow her movements in real time on the blog Around the world… In the previous series Irina found the rainy season on the border of India and Nepal, got lost in Kathmandu and witnessed the cremation ceremony at the Pashupatinath temple.

Nepal has become a land of adventure for me. He seemed to be testing the seriousness of my intentions. How ready I am to move further along my route, to the South-East. I was already leaving Kathmandu when both wheels of my Elantra got stuck in a pile of construction sand. Do not drive back – the sand interferes, do not climb up – a steep climb and the engine stalls. I can’t get out of the car: the driver’s door is locked. The front passenger door can only be opened from the outside with a screwdriver (the result of chaotic traffic on Indian roads). Only the rear doors remain. To free yourself from the trap, you have to try hard and crawl through Greta, an auto-refrigerator and a water bottle.

For ten minutes I was whining quietly, complaining about life, offended by cars and motorcycles passing by. Can’t they really see I’m stuck? I had to get out myself.

And as soon as I looked under the wheel to assess the scale of the disaster, two came up to me. The man and the woman are a married couple of Nepalese.

The woman gestured to the streams of pedestrians and vehicles, and the man got hold of a pickaxe and began to dig the car out of the sand. He was joined by two more Nepalese with spades. And I quietly stood on the sidelines and kept Greta on a leash, I didn’t even have to do anything myself. This is how the power of intention works – I just had to make a decision to get out of this situation.

Sometimes you have to ask yourself the question: “Why?” An honest answer to it helps to see why you create certain situations in your life. I was stuck in the sand solely to return to Kathmandu. Yes, I was going to leave for a few days to spend them outside the city, while I was waiting for the paperwork for a further trip to Myanmar. But I had to go back, because I lost time and burned the remains of gasoline while skidding in a pile of sand. Evening was approaching, and the nearest gas station was only in Kathmandu.

And I came back. What for? To meet Victoria Vitova and her husband Stanislav. So that I can stay in their cozy “roof house”. To be squeezed and played with Greta on an open terrace overlooking Kathmandu. So that I listen to amazing stories about Nepal and the Himalayas, I can walk along the streets of this city and see it in a new way, through the eyes of amazing people. For the sake of such a meeting, you can and sit on a pile of sand, right?

I returned to Kathmandu to meet Victoria Vitova and her husband Stanislav.

I returned to Kathmandu to meet Victoria Vitova and her husband Stanislav.

Stas and Vika are not only a wonderful married couple, but also business partners. They organize amazing tours of Nepal. Of course, I did not have a chance to go to the mountains with the guys, because now is not the season. But I lived with them for a month and a half. I must say that Vika has a completely unique vision of the country, she knows the Nepali language and communicates with local people as her own. This is a complete immersion in local life, understanding and respect for the life and traditions of the Nepalese.

Greta has become a favorite guest in the hospitable

Greta has become a favorite guest in the hospitable “roof house”.

No wonder I am stuck in their hospitable home. True, with our presence it became more like a hostel. We spent a lot of time walking around the city. Of course, I remember the bright and picturesque Durbar Square with the stunning Royal Palace, numerous pagodas and temples, Indra Chowk streets with local merchants. I watch the work of beadwork and gold jewelery craftsmen, copper and Nepalese national dress. I try traditional mo-mo in a Tibetan cafe and drink real masala chai.

Pagodas and temples at Durbar Square in Kathmandu.

Pagodas and temples at Durbar Square in Kathmandu.

Beading on the market in Indra Chowk.

Beading on the market in Indra Chowk.

Bodnath is a real city in the city, although it is considered the outskirts of Kathmandu. Here the center of Tibetan Buddhism is concentrated in the Nepalese territories, rivers of pilgrims from all over the world flow here. The reason for this is a huge stupa, towering over many Buddhist monasteries.

There are legends around the shrine. Vika told me one of them, and she is connected with a woman expelled from paradise for some serious sin. Returning to the human world, she asked for forgiveness from the Buddha. To atone for my guilt, I decided to build a temple. But with the money that she had, the local ruler could sell her only a meager piece of land on which only the skin of a bull would fit. The woman went for a trick. She cut the skin into thin strips and connected them with a single thread, thus creating a large circle. The ruler had no choice but to give her this land. This is how the largest shrine of Tibetan Buddhism, erected outside of its historical homeland, appeared.

We visited the stupa late in the evening, when the main stream of pilgrims subsided significantly. But even at this time, many people pass around it. They touch the drums with mantras with their palms, do prostrations. They say that you can make wishes here, they will certainly come true. I also wondered.

Walks in Kathmandu.

Walks in Kathmandu.

In the evenings we all get together for suppers, Stas cooks great. And I bake pancakes. I bake pancakes whenever and wherever I can. For me, pancakes are always associated with childhood and home. Sunday. Winter morning. I wake up early from the sounds in the kitchen: mom is beating dough. I slap barefoot on cold floorboards where it is warm and fragrant. The charcoal oven is heated, a cast-iron pan is heated on it and waits for the thin dough to sizzle and redden. I take another hot pancake straight from the pan and eat it while scalding. The pile of pancakes is getting higher, we put on tea and sit down to have breakfast with the whole family in our small but so cozy kitchen. Still alive and we have our own home.


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