I meant to write about Nepal as a travel destination at some point. We visited the Kathmandu Valley in August last year and in the week that we visited, we managed to see all 7 of the UNESCO World Heritage sites in the area. It was a place like no other. I was, in fact, looking at budget flights to Kathmandu last Friday, on the eve of the quake, hoping to return.
No other place has given me such an overload of the senses than the streets of Kathmandu. People dress differently. The smells are different, the food is different, there are 100 different things to look at all at once. Hindu Nepalis have thousands of gods, and you can see the reverence and worship everywhere you go. It was truly a living museum. The power goes out for a few hours twice a day. Life is simple. Houses are spartan. They cook, eat, sleep on the floor. People look happy. I came home grateful for everything I have, inflicted with an inexplicable guilt, and I longed to see more and do more.
The 7.9 magnitude earthquake on Saturday, April 25, has destroyed peoples’ homes and ancient structures in the Valley and its environs. More than 3,000 lives were lost, and the death toll is still climbing. My heart breaks for all those beautiful souls. Most sacred sites in Kantipur (Kathmandu), Lalitpur (Patan), and Bhaktapur were reduced to dust and rubble; the very places that contribute to the significant income of the community as touristic and pilgrimage sites.
To all the beautiful souls of Nepal, may you rise from this tragedy and rebuild your beautiful cities with the grace and dignity that I know you have always possessed.
The Beautiful Faces of Nepal
a blind man enjoying his chai at the Boudhanath Stupa
street tailors at the Mangal Bazaar in Patan
Lovely ladies having a chat, preparing for the day
What I assume to be Tibetan refugees at Boudhanath
Two of the sadhus at Pashupatinath
Ladies chatting in Bhaktapur
Beautiful friendly faces at the Bhaktapur Gai Jatra Festival
Rajesh, our guide for a few days
Toy seller in Bhaktapur
Fruit seller with his ingenius cart at Bhaktapur
Child seller in Bhaktapur.. all she had to sell were these sprigs of cilantro
Family at Changu Narayan– the wife and I shared a smile because her husband stumbled and he couldn’t lift the sack of firewood
Ice cream seller in Bhaktapur
Newari man watching all the festivities in Bhaktapur
Mother and child in Bhaktapur
Newari men chatting after a long day of work
Cute little human I met at the Patan Golden Temple. His Father kept ordering him to greet me ‘namaste’
Merchant at the Basantapur Durbar Square in Kathmandu
This site has practically no readers yet, but in any case, here is one way to extend help if you are from the Philippines.
http://www.redcross.org.ph/press/news/item/954-help-nepal-now and http://ushare.redcross.org.ph/