donata: (Wise Cat)
[personal profile] donata
Nepal travel report, part V

I had previously decided that I had milked this holiday long enough and that I would not make any more Nepal posts but rather return to the usual business of posting random ramblings every now and then. However, friends of mine who abhor cats (Yes, I know. But apart from that they are really lovely people.) told me that, after I had been announcing them for weeks and weeks, it was about time I posted those cat pics already. They were really keen on seeing them.

Such is the power of the kitten.

Seeing as everyone who knows anything about anything knows that kittens are among the four most happiness-inducing things on earth, they have to be complemented with other happy things.

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There is a surprising – and suspicious – lack of cats in Kathmandu. One would expect mangy street toms to roam the streets – but they don’t. There are plenty of dog packs, as well as cows, but no cats.

The first time we encountered cats was in Bhandar.

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He’s just caught some yummy insecty thing.

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Basement cat wants his share. Your prey or your soul, basement cat is not fussy.

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This is a dead rodent. Of course I had to take a picture of it.

There will be kittens in a minute, but let me start at the end:

On our last day in Nepal, R. and I went for a lengthy walk in the north of Kathmandu.

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On our walk, we encountered cows grazing by a temple.

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A startlingly green praying mantis.

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This is so wrong on so many levels.

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And huge fuckoff spiders.

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The size of which sadly doesn’t show in the pictures. R. and I both tried reaching out to hold our hands next to the spiders for scale, but the spiders hung slightly too far out of reach. You can take my word for it: they were big.

One might wonder that I include a dead rodent, a praying mantis and huge fuckoff spiders in my post of nice things. One might, if one doesn’t know me at all.

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This is R. after the walk and after our very last meal on Nepali soil; we would board the plane a few hours later. This picture tells you everything you need to know about R. – just observe the nonchalant posture and radiant smile. I found the backdrop – the Boudha Stupa with its tall tower made up of steps of enlightenment - very fitting.

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It was a beautiful day, hot and sunny – what a difference from the freezing wastelands at 5000m that we had left behind only three days previously.

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Not that the frozen wastelands don’t have a certain appeal, too.

This is one of my favourite pictures of the trek at 4000+. You can see a village on the mountain slope across the valley and you know that this is what the place where you are standing at that very moment must look like for the people who live there. This is an incredible and rather humbling conclusion.

Those heights have one great advantage compared with the lowlands: Yaks.

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I really wanted to touch him.

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But he wouldn’t let me. In the end, he had to be driven away with the trekking pole. I wish relationships with humans were that simple.

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My closest physical encounter with yaks. Pictured: Joe and I, trying to not get squashed by a herd on a suspension bridge.

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I rarely can resist touching anything furry and/or fluffy. Especially if it’s still alive. (Last time I was in the zoo, I touched: an anteater, a tapir and a sloth. The sloth was my favourite.)

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A rural calf. Also, R. and Joe looking very much like proper high-powered trekkers.

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A friendly urban cow, amidst praying sinners and blundering tourists by the Boudha Stupa in Kathmandu.

The Boudha Stupa is a Buddhist sanctuary that believers as well as enlightenment seekers from all over the world circumvent in the morning and evening hours: each circumvention counts as a prayer*, I understand, and the gods, who have a sense of humour, forgive them their sins after watching them for a couple of hours.

*Or possibly not. My sources are unclear on that issue.

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Whilst praying, the sinners have to avoid stepping on dogs, which are everywhere. All the time, I was waiting for someone to not pay attention and step on one of the dogs sleeping smack-bang in the middle of the street - and to get mauled right then and there. But it didn’t happen.

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We made the acquaintance of an elderly dog in the lodge in Bengkar. It had runny eyes, a lame paw and scruffy fur. And it was after our biscuits. I like the daintily crossed paws. It instantly casts a warm and cosy feel about the entire scene, especially when contrasted with the storm outside. (There would be an earthquake later that night.)

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Another lodge, another cosy scene. The happiness-inducing factor here is: finally warm and dry - we had just spent hours dragging ourselves through rain and mud. I’m trying to give my hair at least the appearance of dryness (at that point of the trek, my hair was wet all the time: either due to rain or due to sweat; not – I would like to stress – thanks to showers), whilst Joe is drinking something that looks suspiciously like chhaang*, but is, in fact, milk tea. Or is it?

*A barley/rice beer variety that, according to Wiki, is very popular with the yeti.

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Joe, being intrepid.

I really like this picture of him: it’s such an elegant pose, right by the edge of an abyss, and he’s looking intellectual and adventurous at the same time.

This picture was taken at Lamjura Pass: a place of which all of us probably have very fond memories.

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Not least because it was rather beautiful. Just look at the stunning colours.

The Lamjura Pass was the place where we had a lengthy conversation with Al for the first time. He didn’t yet join us at that point, but he would do so one or two days later. (Sadly, there are hardly any pictures of Al. I assume that’s because he is a spy. Not only did he refuse having his pictures taken, he didn’t tell us his real name, either, as R. deducted a few days later.)

It was, moreover, the highest point we had reached on our tour that far. R. took the opportunity to hang up her Tibet-bought prayer flags; Joe insisted he had the best dhal baat of the journey there; and I loved the place, because, well...

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KITTENS!

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Seriously, KITTENS!!!

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Once bitten, forever smitten.

The kittens kept nibbling and licking my hands (the reason was: my palms were salty with sweat; but I prefer to think that the kittens were being affectionate < / denial > )

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Child, disturbing my quality time with kittens.

R. observed – and very rightly so – that I will not have anything to do with the child, whereas I will touch even the mangiest, scruffiest cat that comes my way. This is very true.

In fact, this is what I am like with children:


Oh, Sue...

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Look at him, seating himself by the fire very carefully and curling his tail tightly around his paws.

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I had previously wondered about the kittens’ whiskers looking singed. That explained it.

And then tragedy struck: Whilst we were having the aforementioned excellent dhal baat, children started to drag the kitten around, as they are wont to, and then – oh, the horror! – the kitten bolted and we saw that it had a glowing ember stuck to its paw. It then disappeared through a gap between the floorboards and I never saw it again. R. and Joe tried to convince me it’d be all right, but what do they know about kitten husbandry. Barbarians.

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But don’t worry. I recovered from the shock and met another kitten a few days later. It was a tiny, most playful little thing, and we spent some very happy minutes together. It tried to bite my fingers off with its sharp pointy teef and slash my hands with its tiny widdle clawsies.

With that happy memory, I would like to conclude my Nepal report for good.

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Have a nice day!

Date: 2011-01-18 02:00 am (UTC)
psyfic: (Default)
From: [personal profile] psyfic
Great pics! My favourites, though, are the kitty pics. ;)

Just dropped in to say:
Happy Birthday!
hope it was a good one. :)

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