22 February 2015


“Hey baby I’m home”

That’s what I’d say if Kathmandu were a girl and not a city

And if she were standing here in front of me.

She is really – or more accurately - and less poetically, I am standing here in her.

I flew in last night.

From Delhi.

The New one.

Although I actually drove through the New one - to and from my office however I stayed each night in the Old one.


I have written about the naming and re-naming of Indian cities under different Empires and government so I will not repeat myself here.

I couldn’t be bothered.

I reserve the term “baby” for ladies I love.

I call my daughter Charlotte “baby” sometimes – as much as I call her Totty I would think.

Maybe more.

I also call my very favourite niece Georgina “baby” as well.


There are a few other persons I have referred to as “baby” but they shall remain nameless here in this blog thing.

I do not use the word liberally and I reserve it for the girls in my life that I love.

Special ladies.

Enough said.

So would Kathmandu be a woman if she had to have a gender?

Which she doesn’t of course.

Or he.

I was just pondering that whilst tapping.

I do that sometimes.

The Nepalese refer to the tallest of their mountains as Sagarmatha. 

It means “forehead in the sky”.

Or something similar to that.

The Tibetans name it “ Chomolunga” which sort of means the Mother of Earth.

We refer to at as Everest – who was some Welsh bloke who in the early nineteenth century worked in a British surveying office in India and might have had something to do with maps. He lived and worked mostly in Delhi.

The Old one I would have thought.

He was knighted.

Sit George Everest.

There you go.

Tibet and Nepal share the mountain.

It is that big.

Both believe the mountains to be female.

Same for me with Kathmandu.

If Kathmandu were this beautiful vibrant “baby” that I love  - as I kiss her I might also enquire,

“S’up baby? How are you doin?’

She is a little shy in public at times but she is curious.

She is cheeky and funny and has a wry sense of humour.

She is very quick and really smart.

She is quirky but most of all she is humble and polite.

She is decent and she is respectful and she is very kind.

She is sexy and she is beautiful.

She is smokin'.

She would call me “baby” back.

The bulk of the Nepalese people’s heritage is from villages. These are in high and isolated mountains. The villages are communities who are in many cases very large extended families and the bond between the people is strong.

They are gentle and they look after each other.

They are rugged and tough people.

Very tough.

Think Ghurka.

They are proud people who know their history and celebrate their culture.

Through song and dance and colorful festivals.

I sat next to a Tibetan Herbal Doctor at the Snowland School Lhasar celebration today. He was to my right in the front row before the stage.

To my left was the Guru Rinpoche – the Dolpo Buddha. The Doctor and I and many others were the guests of the Guru.

Here is a picture of the Guru and the Tibetan Herbal Doctor and I:

Lhasar is the lunar year celebrations for Tibetans.  They are predominantly Buddhist people.

It is the year 2142 in Nepal.

I know why it is not 2015 however I will not reveal it here.

Look it up yourself

I’m not fucking Wikipedia.

Without any prompting the Tibetan Herbal Doctor told me that his religion was of the Bon.

I told him that I knew the Bon pre-dated Buddhism and it was considered the oldest religion in the world.

The Herbal Doctor said he was surprised that I knew of the Bon.

I said nothing in reply.

I only know a bit of the Bon.

The Tibetan Herbal Doctor comes from the same village as Guru Rinpoche in the Upper Dolpo region of the Nepali Himalaya. The village was once in Tibet then the Chinese invaded and borders changed. Borders have always been a little blurred in the mountains.

There are monasteries nearby that are more than 1000 years old. They have been carved out of what Everest would have mapped the Crystal mountains. One of the monasteries is Rinpoche’s.

It is the Shey Monastery  

Shey Gompa to be exact.

The other two are the Saldang and Dho monasteries.

I haven’t been there – I have only seen pictures.

They are spectacular.

I asked the Tibetan Herbal Doctor whether he treated patients with Yartsa Gumba and he told me that he did.

He told me he mixes it with other Tibetan herbs though.

Yartsa Gumba is half animal and half plant. It grows from the nose of a specific moth and only at extreme altitudes. It is one of the rarest and most valuable commodities on earth and it only grows in the Upper Dolpo and Upper Mustang regions. It is used in Chinese medicine and is a Cordyceps.

It is a worm.

I have taken it.

I have written of it before.

Once again, I shall not repeat myself here.
The Lhosar celebration and concert given by the children was spectacular. There was much dancing and singing and laughing and clapping of hands.

The children had a ball.

So did I.

The sun is setting now and the sky is pink. There is a chill in the air as the wind blows down the valley from the mountains. From where I am sitting now I can see the silhouette of the mountain Himalay Ganesh – the snow is still heavy on its peak - and I can hear the distant sound of bells tolling and the chants of monks before the taking of alms.

I can smell the sweet odour of Frangipani from the gardens below.

It is thick in the air.

Yes I’ve missed you a lot Kathmandu baby.

Come over here.

Let’s dance.

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