Blogs are supposed to be short and sweet, with pictures for those who are tired of the onslaught of verbiage in their daily diet. Pictures I have by the thousands with words to match! But suffice it to say that since my last entry on November 19, 2012, I have trekked to around 17,000 ft., sold my house in Maplewood, NJ, moved to temporary digs at daughter Martha’s, with the aid of my second son, Tom, who journeyed from California to keep me sane and on target, and managed to rid myself of sixty years of accumulated “stuff,” more, even, than the legendary George Carlin could imagine. And all of that in one sentence! The remainder of my memorabilia that I couldn’t bear to throw away is in a storage facility near Kean University just waiting for me to decide what to do when I grow up. I might add that the announcement of the sale of my house came as I was trekking in the Langtang region of the Nepalese Himalayas with daughter, Cary Peterson, and Christy Korrow, a writer and editor who, like Cary, lives on Whidbey Island, WA. The message came in on Christy’s cell phone. We’ve come a long way since my first climb to Everest Base Camp in 1987! In those days, when you were away, you were definitely AWAY! I know, that’s a split infinitive, but who cares about grammar today, when half the newscasters on TV are throwing fig leaves to the enemy in lieu of olive branches? Things are just plain going to hell, aren’t they?
For those of you who read the dedication in the front of my book, you know that one of my mantras is: Never fear walking into the unknown. I’ve tried to live my life accordingly, but now am being tested big time to put my money where my mouth is. The next few months will be exciting and a bit scary. Any suggestions, no matter how crazy, will be welcomed. I feel very fortunate to have so many choices, but also am torn between my love for my town, my symphony, my friends, the opera, and Broadway to name a few of the advantages of the New York Metropolitan area, and the wild Northwest with its open spaces, its rugged mountains, and the delightful town of Langley, WA, where my daughter, Cary, lives…a stone’s throw from Seattle.
Let’s start from where I left off and take you, first, to the picturesque Tibetan enclave of Boudhanath, not far from the center of Kathmandu. When you take a cab from the airport, however, over unimaginably pot-holed and semi-paved roads, you think it’s far. This is unfortunately true of most of Nepal. The traffic has gotten worse along with the roads, but for some reason the tempers seem to be stable. I had to park my western impatience on the tarmac when I arrived.
It gets worse the closer you come, and is positively treacherous if you’re trying to walk at night. No streetlights…just your wits and good humor!
Boudhanath is famous for its immense stupa with eyes that look out over the pilgrims who come there. Every morning and evening throngs of the faithful, of all ages, walk around the outside and the second tier, saying mantras and meditating. The stupa is 118 ft. high and if you want to see the action you can look it up on line. I found it a glorious place to be, especially at dusk when the candles were lit and the stores lining the route were filled with music. It was magical.
Notice the pigeons…they’re everywhere!
Hundreds of people light candles for their loved ones
And burn special incense
This little lady sat there all day blessing the faithful
This little lady captivated me with her saucy eyes….
And her father, too….
Scenes around the temple….people doing Kora; some buying and selling; others just watching
Public washing outside stupa complex
It’s almost impossible to convey the excitement and camaraderie surrounding this sacred place. We were so lucky to have found a guest house nearby, affiliated with the Shechan Monastery (pron. Say-chen), which I will show you in detail in a future post. People from many countries enjoyed the courtyard…those involved in NGO’s, monks, and trekkers like us…making our stay ever-changing and always interesting. Having been in Nepal several times over the last twenty-five years, it was especially amusing for me to see this quiet, meditative space invaded by iPads and iPods. Imagine monks in the old days sitting around communicating with these modern devices. Cell phones have long been the phone of choice in Asia, but the iPad blew me away!