Last Station, Kathmandu

Last Station, Kathmandu

Travel
And without even noticing, I made the last jump on my trip, as if nothing happened, to the promising experience of Nepal. My initial plans were changed by my unexpected Yoga training in India. The stay in Nepal was cut short by the unexpected. Anyway I wanted to spend time in, I thought, the country of smiles, peace and spirituality. Great highlight to finish a year around the world.
What I did not count on was that all my utopias, ideas and ideals about Nepal were that: preconceived ideas unrelated to reality. My arrival in Kathmandu was not exactly triumphant or fluid. With almost no money in my pocket (my cards and the Indian cashiers do not get along) I arrived in a dirty, chaotic and stressful city. A dense dust flooded everything and turned breathing into a extreme sport. I was looking for the picture smiles n someone around me and what I found were half commercial smiles waiting to sell me a trekking trip. Thammel, the most touristic area of the city, was a concentration of souvenir shops and copies of sport equipment. So much damage made by the “trekking” tourism in this country, an uncontrolled development of business tailored for Europeans thinking themselves as mountain climbers and city nepali guides selling themselves  as Sherpas. Such a lack of property in the terms. We are specialists in democratizing any activity and taking away the essence.
But let’s go back where we were, in Kathmandu. You can tell me that my expectations played a trick on me and I would say it is true. I do not know what I expected in particular, a combination of local life, traditional environment and Buddhist religion. At first glance it was difficult to see any of those aspects.
My hostel was a half-dilapidated house, the bed was clean but the bathrooms were let’s say “vintage”. And I was already at a point in the trip of less “sharing a hostel room with eight strangers” and more “minimum basic needs covered”. Close enough to return back home I already dreamed of my bed, my bathroom and the little luxuries like hot water.
Two days in Kathmandu were enough to give me an idea of the city, the earthquake of a few years ago has complicated even more people lives and for sure has clouded the vision of this city. With these circumstances, what I most wanted was to go to the mountains, to the small NGO-school with which I had been in contact in order to make a significant contribution in my last stage of the trip. Two local buses and twelve hours after leaving the city I managed to reach the mountain village. The views left me speechless. Several of the highest peaks in the world were seen from there, just looking out the window and hopefully with a clear sky. The project of the school was different from what I expected, after living a total immersion in the community of Mozambique I discovered that in the case of Nepal what they valued most was the economic part that you could contribute and a few hours of work in the school, not necessarily with children. The project was perfect for the 20-year-old boys who were there, in many cases their first experience away from home and with the possibility of living with other companions in the same house having many hours of free time. After several days there and contributing to what I considered better, I returned to Kathmandu to spend the last days of my stay in a different neighborhood. I wanted to give the city a second chance. And so I reached Boudha, the Buddhist neighborhood par excellence. A haven of peace, local life, small businesses, monks and temples away from the tourist focus. Just what I wanted. I loved my neighborhood. The hostel where I was staying was also a haven of peace, I decided to spend the first few days in a shared room to save and then for my birthday to go to a private one and give myself a big luxury celebrating my day. Things changed when I found that the only roommate I had was a peculiar Hindu who lived in hostels “so as not to live with people” but he started asking me fifty questions per minute until my cordiality happened to be sincerity: “I think you ask too many questions”, that’s how our 15 minutes of glory ended. I do not know if it was that, the snoring, my desire for privacy or that he did not close the bathroom door when he peed. The point is that after two nights I decided to give myself the luxury of a private room and thus end the season of shared rooms on my trip. Enough experience.
Here at a café in the neighborhood of Boudha, having breakfast, I discover once again how  bad I need to return to stability and take care of myself after this long journey. My new neighborhood in Kathmandu inspires me peace, the peace I so badly needed. When I arrived after another intense and extensive trip I felt full of happiness as I walked through the small streets near the stupa. Small streets full of peaceful and local life, small craft workshops, local cafes where Buddhist monks mingle with the people of the neighborhood. It is heaven in this land of dense dust, faces of resignation and precariousness. In my neighborhood people smile more than anywhere else I’ve seen in this country. The people live quiet here. Spirituality, once again, is the perfect refuge in a world of chaos.
In a few days I return to Spain. So many things I have learned in this time, so much inner strength. I feel full of open doors to new projects, my mind has become accustomed to letting itself be carried away by intuition, to listen to my own biorhythms. My body has freed itself of weights that it carried without necessity and now I feel light in many ways. I am looking forward to building my new life on everything I learned in this way.
Nepal has been very different from the image I had. And at the same time, resuming the expectation of the unexpected, I discovered that the acceptance of situations as they are is the only thing that can give us enough wisdom to face any turn. My trip closure “had to” be meaningful in Nepal in my expectations. And, as a friend told me, maybe it had already been and Nepal was a pre-landing in tranquility and normality.
Each stage of this world journey has been unique and incomparable, none similar to another and all full of different and connected Marias. The others are our mirror, wherever they are and regardless of their race, sex, religion or culture. We are all connected, we long for the same, we breathe in similar degrees and we surround ourselves with the same energies, we make the same mistakes, we need the same affections and we fight for the same ideals. There is not them and us. There is no duality, my friends. But this will be discovered by each one when it the time comes.
Now, nervous and excited, I am about to return to Spain. I come back appreciating my land and my people. We are a place full of virtues and an enviable quality of life. The World loves our land and our culture sometimes more than ourselves. Maybe it’s time to review our critical spirits and start practicing what in yoga is called SAMTOSHA, feeling full and grateful for everything we have in our life. Astonishment and gratitude are two capacities that we need to renew daily and in a conscious way to enjoy each day for what it is, Unique.
And travel … Traveling opens you entire galaxies, internal above all.
I do not know what the future holds for me, I keep the doors open to what comes, now more than ever. This was “only” the transition, now begins the adventure of changing life in real life, without traveling, without continuous movements and without distractions. Now the moment of truth begins. And truth to be told, I’m looking forward to it.
Arrival in Katmandú, The city under dust
Discovering the city
Discovering the city
Discovering the city
Discovering the city
On my way to the mountains
On my way to the mountains
After lunch, survival kit
In the mountains, let me introduce you Manaslo, one of the highest peaks in the world (in the front page you can see Annapurna)
Mountain mood
In the mountains, meeting Urmila
In the mountains, meeting Umesh
In the mountains, educational projects
Yoga from the clouds
In the mountains, rice fields work
Back in Kathmandu, my neighbourhood is called Boudha (Boudha stupa)
Boudha, artisan
Boudha, neighbours
Boudha, the monks’ hair salon

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