An army of monkeys is still an army, when beer is safer than water, and is it hot in here? *thump*

The Wandering Nerd December 7th, 2007

wow..Kathmandu… It’s a far cry from down home Kentucky - though people here know that that’s where the Bourbon comes from. Periodically it really strikes me how far I am out of my element. Here is one of those times. This place is unreal, dirty, offensive, and polluted well past the border of being criminal, yet somehow it’s open, bustling and more alive than some of the largest cities I’ve been to in the states, or thus far on my journey.

The water here is literally deadly. You have to brush your teeth with bottled water, and when you shower you make sure not to drink any of the water. I saw a guy fishing in what was literally black water just a few meters away from a pipe emptying brown water - let’s call it water - into the stream. Dust covers everything and trash is piling up in the streets, not to mention the amount of garbage and refuse in the waterways. You’ll see in the gallery, there are children playing in a ‘river’ full of trash and just a bit upstream of pigs. These people have so little but at the same time are so willing to share what they have that I have brief moments of guilt at simply having the option to go back to a place where something as simple as clean water is not a luxury. Walking from Thamel to the Swayambhunath Temple was an experience in humility. Don’t get me wrong, they are only brief moments of humility, but you can see what I mean.

I stopped for a lunch right outside of the temple. I had heard that it was colloquially known as the ‘Monkey Temple,’ but this really drove it home. When I was finished with my meal and working on my journal a monkey hopped up on the table, glared at me, then went after what I’d left.

The temple, once you get past all of the beggars, touts, sellers, stodgy bunts offering to be your guide to the temple, and the stairs - ye’ gods the stairs - you find the temple to be both beautiful and horrifying. You’ll see the beautiful parts in the pics, but over every wall, around every corner, and just past every ledge lies a mound of refuse. Did I mention the monkeys? They’re everywhere, and completely nonplussed by the human invaders. I met a UK girl later in the night who told me a story, including a reenactment, of how she was walking through the temple when two alpha monkeys decided to have a go at each other while she was walking betwixt them. Upon the initial charge one monkey mis-vectored, one monkey sunk his teeth into a much more robust chunk of flesh than he had anticipated, and a little brit girl ran around the temple for a bit screaming with a monkey attached teeth first to her buttocks. I would have paid for video of that.

For all of the tourism, and monkeys, it’s still a functioning temple. I grabbed a bit of video of one ceremony that was going on:

I was really hoping to see or meet a Hindu Sadhu, but none were up there. If there is a physical manifestation of devotion to a belief, it would be them. C’mon look at this stuff: ‘Many sadhus have entered the Guinness World Records for feats of marathon endurance including standing for 17 years, staying in the same place for more than two decades, crawling 1400 km and other similar efforts, in their quest to attain liberation.’

The place is a holy point for both Hindu and Buddism. The Buddist monks there are reverent, but still maintain an aura of joy around them. I have a couple good photos of them, from the really young to the wizened. I was tempted to see if I could get one to rub my belly for good luck but couldn’t bring myself to. Sorry Hosh.


Strange coincidence, but I found a “Sam’s” bar here in Kathmandu. Nothing like the Sam’s back home, but a fun place to hang out. Plus you’re allowed to write on the walls, so I pretty much had to do this.

Kathmandu is dirty, overcrowded and smells a bit, but I’m digging it and I haven’t even done the trekking, the big draw to Nepal. I’m not sure I’m up for tramping around in the mountains for days, I’m more up for something active, in the moment, and adrenaline filled. Which brings me to the next point, and the next post. If there is one, it should be interesting. It won’t involve trekking, but it will involve a tremendous amount of kinetic energy hopefully being gracefully dissipated and one hell of story.

Keep the lights on.

the night is very cold
i’m feeling kind of weak.
i think I’ll make myself a cap from your right buttock’s cheek.

One Response to “An army of monkeys is still an army, when beer is safer than water, and is it hot in here? *thump*”

  1. Hoshion 07 Dec 2007 at 4:57 pm

    Damn broi, from top to bottom, this has to be the coolest post yet and that’s not saying any of the others were slouches or anything either. You’re only missing a midget in the photos to earn a perfect “10″ and I’d imagine there are wee folk up there in them hills someplace too! :P
    Hoshi: (”cutting” a prayer wheel) I…I…I want a monkey…(spins the wheel again)…pleeeeease. :D
    That herd of my furry peeps scrambling up the steps is awesome. I am now contemplating moving to Nepal. My only issue would be living in such filth, but then again, have you seen my house lately? :S
    Can’t wait to see what the adrenaline-soaked post coming next is like. If it has more monkeys in it, I am all for it. Ya can’t have TOO many monkeys, can you? I’d imagine that Nepal has some seriously lax security enforcement laws, so be careful doing whatever you have planned. Look for bodies or evidence of blood at the bottom of whatever it is you plan on jumping off, sliding down or climbing up. The Buddhists are fine but I don’t trust them Hindus (kidding, of course).
    Well, thanks again for the shirt. If you can manage sending me a monkey, that would be cool too. I think they are giving them away there or something, from the looks of it. Make sure he is wearing a diaper before you stuff him in a box to ship him though. If he jumps out and starts flinging poo at me, I will be forced to retaliate, which will almost assuredly get quite ugly when the diapers come off. :)
    I’ll be trying to teach Ogre how to use EBT over the weekend, so we should have that taken care of soon too. I’ll have him send some extra for the shirt too. ;)
    As always, be safe, have a good time and do NOT…repeat…NOT let the monkeys trick you into following them into the jungle. I’ve seen ‘Jungle Book’ several times and know what can happen to a mancub out there. (chuckle)

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