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  • hardie karges 1:39 pm on October 17, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Kathmandu, , , , , , ,   

    Buddhist Boot Camps, Kopan vs. Suan Mokh, Part 2: the Cost of Karmic Retribution)… 

    img_0545Continued from previous…

    Setting: Kopan is classic Tibetan temple and monastery style, with dragons and other adornments, set on top of a hill at the edge of the sprawling metropolis of Kathmandu, and gated, so semi-urban while it lasts. Suan Mokh, on the other hand, is green and pastoral, with an ambiance that reminds me of Boy Scout camp. Noises are few and far between, and far away, as are the gilded and glitzy temples of the city.

    Eco-Friendliness is a specialty of Suan Mokh, where absolutely NOTHING is wasted, and flashlights are used at night rather than bathing the premises in artificial light. Recyclables are treated accordingly, and no drop of water is wasted if it can be saved for later use or recycled. This is part of the ethos and also just a reality of living in the countryside. Kopan is quasi-urban and subject to different conditions, so not as strictly obedient to environmental issues, apparently. (More …)

  • hardie karges 10:17 pm on August 28, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Kathmandu, , Pokhara,   

    Pokhara: Nepal's Better Half… 

    IMG_0569Pokhara is Nepal’s second city, and such a change from the first, that it’s almost hard to believe they’re in the same country. Where Kathmandu is noisy and chaotic, Pokhara (pronounced like a distinctly southern-drawled and gooey ‘okra’, y’all) is chilled and peaceful—almost TOO tranquil. I start to miss all the chaos and manic maniac drivers with foot on the gas and hand on the horn (I even had one flashing lights at me, so I stopped in the middle of the road to force him to do the same, just because I could)…

    Of course, I’m talking about Lakeside, where all the tourists and local groovers hang, and full of spa-like accoutrements, boutiques and yoga, trekking centers and restos, caffeine and alcohol. But there’s another Pokhara, too, the original one, just up the road a piece, as high up as you can get in that particular valley, and filled with goldsmiths and silver, as opposed to the lakeside scene that tourism built. So I had to go check it out, just to get some traffic to avoid, if nothing else… (More …)

    • Esther Fabbricante 11:27 pm on August 28, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Your adaptation and use of words are so remarkable! Where did you learn to be such a writer?

      • hardie karges 3:42 am on August 29, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        After the first million words, I think, I decided to call myself a writer… 🙂

  • hardie karges 4:21 pm on August 23, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Kathmandu, , ,   

    Life in a Buddhist Monastery, part 2: Karma Krushes Dogma… 


    Continued from previous…

    You can’t beat the price: less than one hundred clams USD for a week of classes, room and board, $125 if you want a private room with shared bath—yeow! Don’t spend all that extra thirty bucks in one place! Boutique Buddhism in Phuket, Thailand, this same week will set you back almost $2K, with a 5-star hotel and waves crashing in on the beach, sex optional. For that price in India you can get a day or two with the Dalai Lama himself (no sex, sorry)!

    The only problem is that they’re a little disorganized here, and a little unclear on certain points of dogma: like whether Internet use is or is not consistent with the Dharma. And at some point they decided that the course I’m taking would be a silent retreat, cue thunder for unsympathetic magic, which is not so bad on the surface, as long as it’s merely suggested and not strictly policed… (More …)

    • Esther Fabbricante 4:33 pm on August 23, 2016 Permalink | Reply


    • Simon 3:55 pm on September 13, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      “Without free will there can be no morality”

      this is so Philosophy teacher 😀

      • hardie karges 12:01 am on September 14, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        and so true, otherwise we blame all our transgressions on our birth signs, or our past lives… 🙂

  • hardie karges 1:50 pm on August 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Kathmandu, , , ,   

    Life in a Buddhist Monastery in Nepal, Part 1… 

    IMG_0530The malls on the Miracle Mile in Kathmandu are lined up like forgotten cemeteries outside a former battle field, most of them empty, dead or dying, lucky to have a coffee bar to anchor the whole place, while pedestrians walk past with eyes on their digital devices oblivious. I wonder if there’s any connection? I hope so. Auto traffic backs up on the back streets like blocked intestines wherever two cars pass and veggie vendors congregate if there is any more room than that. Nepal time is fifteen minutes behind India, no further explanation necessary…

    So I left. Think of Kathmandu and you don’t usually think of hot sweaty sticky atmospherics, just the opposite, but that’s what you get in the rainy season, an inch a day, and plenty of reasons to leave, with visions of equanimity, though still much better than the rainy season in Thailand, BTW, and climbing up a few hundred meters helps, plus it puts some perspective on it all, with all the little people down there f*cking and fighting, no slight of hands, and growth the only mantra… (More …)

  • hardie karges 12:50 am on August 12, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Durbar Square, Freak Street, , Kathmandu, ,   

    Kathmandu, Nepal: Namaste’s and other cliches 

    IMG_0496(Sigh) Finally! I can use the word ‘Namaste’ without feeling like a total New Age newbie, intoning with every simple ‘hello’ the implied meaning that ‘I bow to the divine in you while you return a bow to the tourist in me’ when all I really want to do is say ‘hi’ or maybe ‘good morning’ and you can do that here, since it’s embedded in the language, like Hindi, no accident, brought here by the Gurkhas and now the lingua franca for lack of better options. It is close to Hindi and uses the same Devanagari alphabet…

    Considering that two months ago to the day I had a catheter up my little thingie AND THAT FELT GOOD considering the options, I’m glad to able to take 3mi/5km walks these mornings in Kathmandu, just like old times just like old spaces old places, last here some twenty-odd years ago, and then only briefly, figured no big deal “I’ll be back soon” and it never happened until now on the spur of the moment through inspiration in the most unlikely of places: my in-laws… (More …)

    • Isolated_girl 1:17 am on August 12, 2016 Permalink | Reply


      : )

    • Esther Fabbricante 2:26 am on August 12, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Your life and descriptions are unbelievable. I would not be able to eat the food, find my way around, much less survive.

    • thisisyouth 10:13 pm on August 14, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Good post, I like your writing style. You captured Kathmandu very well.

    • Angela A 4:39 pm on August 18, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Interesting read! I will be going to India and Nepal this December. A little nervous!

      • hardie karges 6:38 am on August 19, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Thanx! Nothing to worry about, unless you’re squeamish at the sight of poverty; certainly safe enough… stay tuned!

    • kabiraj 12:23 am on October 28, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      after reading i just thought why didn’t I find this blog before, really articulated by your idea and especially the saying I bow to the divine in you while you return a bow to the tourist in me and wifi vs electricity things

      • hardie karges 12:47 am on October 28, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Welcome, I only recently rechristened the blog with a new name, so probably more dharma and karma than travel for a while, at least. For more metaphysics, see my other blog, the two pretty much in parallel, if not sync, these days: https://hkarges.wordpress.com/

  • hardie karges 1:06 pm on August 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Dog Star, Kathmandu, , Sirius, Stan Brakhage   

    Nepal: Cat Man Do, Dog Star Man, Sirius Serious Seeliat… 

    WELCOME TO NEPAL……land of mountains snow trekking Sherpas Tenzing Norgay and Sir Edmund what’s-his-name gets all the credit ’cause he’s white and knight and ruggedly handsome so Maoist revolutionaries finally call a truce after monarchy self-destructs gone with the wind like all bad ideas Communism included India and China on the flanks threatening Bigness if not largesse no exit no fresh air even at 9000-plus meters 27,000 feet marching to a different drummer grandiosity with no grand city, just Cat Man Do it all night and all day with tourism on the rebound after Lost Decade incomes like falling snow in the Himalayas…

    India’s poorer cousin buck-toothed and bejewelled smiles, “Welcome to Nepal,” now set your clocks back fifty years, hungry ghosts inhabit the streets at night seeking succor in the day it’s just tourism consumerism and caffeine, terrorists now ready to govern, tourists ready to shop, villagers offering handicrafts for those who no longer care for artisan labor, trekking for those who never even walk, books for those who never read, and records for those with no devices to play them. “Hey Mister you wanna’ taxi” but there’s no place to go, been there done that twenty years ago and counting by twos, even and odds with drunks and sods… (More …)

    • Esther Fabbricante 3:07 pm on August 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I am breathless after reading this and almost seeing you in your birthday suit.


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