I was brushing my teeth this morning when I heard over the radio that a plane crashed in Nepal, killing 19 people on their way to Lukla, a village where they would have staged their two-week trekking to the Base Camp of Mount Everest. A chill crawled up my shoulder.
I was trekking in Nepal earlier this year, and the trip to the Base Camp was my originally plan, but as I was alone and it was risky for me to hire a local guide(or go without one), I gave up the plan and did a relatively shorter, cheaper and easier trekking with a friend I made on my way in the Annapurna region. Still, it was a thrill.
At around six o’clock I was woken up by some Buddhist chanting from afar. That was the daily morning session in the Swayambhunath, also known as the Monkey Temple, a 1500 year-old religious complex homed by and nick named after mobs of rhesus macaques. Lured by the exotic singings, I decided to go for a visit.
For someone with horrible sense of direction, like me, Kathmandu was a big maze. The physical topography of Kathmandu’s streets and pedestrian walkways was shaped by temples after temples built by the Nepalese in their up-most random and causal manner; The signs and door plates were totally unrecognizable, each street and roads looked ridiculously alike, and at every street corner there was an identical stupa hosting an identical Hindu God. Good thing was most shop owners, restaurateurs or anyone I ran into knew enough English to direct me to the right direction of Thamel, the centre of the city, the heart and soul of Nepal.