‘Katmandu – I’ll soon be seeing you…’

‘… And your strange, bewildering time
Will hold me down
…’ – Cat Stevens

We arrive in Katmandu after an overnight flight from Sri Lanka.

Katmandu from above…

(There are several ways to spell ‘Katmandu’. We go with the one that has the least letters.)

…and from below

Like many developing countries, there is often a tangle of wires overhead.

There’s a lot of commerce going on. Mostly souvenirs and trekking equipment.

It’s a long way from the hippy days of the 60s and 70s. Still, we see cute elderly Western couples who look like they may be revisiting the venues of their dope-smoking youth.

A long way from the hippy days indeed

Among the wares are textiles and fabrics of all kinds. Some are even authentic.

‘Genuine’ ‘pashminas’

Also available: an army of Buddhas and other aids to elevated consciousness.

There’s always something going on in the traffic-thronged streets.

Rickshaw for hire

Our first morning: a flight to view the Himalayas is on the cards.

All aboard

Notwithstanding the plane engine right in my face, the view is pretty spectacular.

‘Is that propeller turning or not?’

The flight takes about an hour.


Some people would know the names of these peaks by heart. I do not. But the cabin crew give details.

‘ The mountains are known as the Himālaya in Nepali and Hindi (both written हिमालय), the Himalaya (ཧི་མ་ལ་ཡ་) or ‘The Land of Snow’ (གངས་ཅན་ལྗོངས་) in Tibetan, the Himāliyah Mountain Range (Urdu: سلسلہ کوہ ہمالیہ‎) in Urdu and the Ximalaya Mountain Range (Chinese: 喜马拉雅山脉pinyinXǐmǎlāyǎ Shānmài) in Chinese.’ Thanks, Wikipedia

Surprisingly in this age of anxiety, we are allowed to enter the cockpit one by one for a pilot’s-eye view.

Pete takes a few photos from up front
First there is a mountain. Then there is no mountain. Then there is.

Sight or Insight of the Day

We stumble across the Garden of Dreams. Another real people place.

It’s a peaceful oasis of tranquility in the centre of cacophonous Katmandu.

Another example of how everything’s connected: one of the pavilions has a quote from the ‘Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam‘ engraved in marble.

O love – there is no other life but here.‘ – Omar Khayyam

A little over a month ago, we visited the tomb of Omar Khayyam in Nishapur, Iran.

My tomb shall be where the north wind may scatter roses over it.‘ – Omar Khayyam

We learn in Iran that Omar is better-known as a scientist than as a poet. Who knew?