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mail from kathmandu

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sadhu3Katheryn and David travel in Asia for half the year to purchase textiles, jewellery, and handicrafts–and the other half to sell from their live-in van up and down the coast of British Columbia. Here are excerpts from their recent mail:

No more Royal Nepal Airlines. They were a joke anyway, with the king often commandeering one of the fleet’s two 737 skiing weekend in Switzerland, or some diplomatic junket, and leaving the scheduled passengers high and dry. Now a republic has been declared, and the king is cooking his dhal in his palace by candlelight, since the democratically-elected Maoist government cut off his electricity over unpaid back bills and froze his assets. Now it’s just Nepal Airlines.

The flight path from Bangkok to Kathmandu hasn’t changed; nor have the mountains. I glimpse Cho Oyu, and Everest, tinged pink, floating over the darkened plains. With political stability—in a relative sense—life in the capital has returned to normal. But the normals of Kathmandu, to paraphrase Kipling, are the wildest dreams of Kew. Without a blockade there is no fuel shortage, and with no fuel shortage, there is no car shortage. The 7 km from the airport takes an hour, accompanied by much hopeful honking at the congestion, which is often so tight that pedestrians can’t even squeeze by. …

We stay just outside of the hub, where candles are much more common. Since the only light on the street comes from the vehicle headlights, walking takes on a phantasmagorical property – figures coming towards me are backlit silhouettes, disappear as the beams swings into my eye, and reappear as schoolgirls, goat-meat venders or itinerant shamans, whatever the case may be. For the bicyclists who speed downhill—without a light of course—the effect must be absolutely hallucinatory. …

One institution that has survived is the world’s strangest wine shop. Its facade is wood shutters and old-world beams, but it is set into the featureless fortress-like wall of the American Embassy, and it’s roof is lined with motion detectors, search lights and rows of razor wire. Inside the staff is very genial, and we buy bottles of ten-year old French wine for $6, and as a real treat, Caol Ila single malt Islay for 25% of what it costs in Vancouver. … stay tuned.

Click here to visit their website. Image: an ascetic holy man seen in Kathmandu.

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One response »

  1. The traveller in me enjoyed connecting to kebe & fast’s website – i met them on my island last year – and in their words, “they are doing what they love with the person they love” – how many of us can say that?

    Reply

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