May 18, 2010, 5:04 am
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We make our first big move toward Kailash today!  We fly from KTM to a little town called Nepalganj at 4pm,  fly onto Simikot tomorrow, then begin the walk from there.  We’ll reach the mountain on the full moon (5/27), the holiest day of the year that commemorates Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and move to parinirvana.  The merit of good deeds done on that day are multiplied by like a kajillion.  It’s also my Daddy’s B-day.  Happy Birthday Dad! 

I won’t be able to update until I reach Lhasa in/around June 10th when we finish the trek, hopefully I’ll be able to access this site from there.  Check back, I’ll be replacing this image below with my own.  More soon!



Team NZ Arrives
May 16, 2010, 10:30 pm
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It’s officially the beginning of our trip to Kailash! I picked up the group from the airport this afternoon, so good to see them.  A couple shots of our first lunch:   

Paul & Simon


Patrick, Dan, Chloe & Tim


After a post-lunch stroll, Dan, Tim and I relaxed and caught up in The Garden of Dreams.  Such a sweet afternoon:  

May 16, 2010, 11:00 am
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A long 6 years have passed since I was last in this city.  I’m finally surmounting some technical issues and uploading photos from the past 5 days… a lot of sweet reunitements, revisiting of sacred sites, and circumnavigating traffic jams and garbage piles. 

I settled into a little guesthouse in the Swayambhu area of KTM, a place I first stayed as a student in 1997.  It’s perched above the busy streets and is wonderfully quiet; well with the exception of the chorus of dogs that bark through sleeping hours and the 3/4am commencement of prayers at the surrounding monasteries.  This is the view from my window.  At the top of the hill is the stupa of the famous “monkey temple“.  


Jet-lagged and slotting into this new rhythm, I’ve been doing the pilgrimage route around Swayambhu.  I woke at 5am on my second morning and walked up to Swayambhunath stupa for sunrise: 



And a few shots from the pilgrimage route that circles the temple’s base:



Kathmandu is also the home of quite a few good friends, including Kats, her husband Tashi and their two gorgeous little ones.  I’ve been wandering over to their place for breakfasts of curd and fresh mangos.  The first two shots are from this morning…




And on Saturday, Kats and I head over to Boudhanath, the biggest stupa in Nepal.  It’s such a special place; even after visiting many, many times it still knocks the wind out of me when first approaching.  So gargantuan and graceful.  Kats and I went for kora, the path that circumambulates the stupa, at the hottest part of the day so we were the lone pilgrims.  But usually there is a thick flow of people circling the stupa, especially at sunrise and sunset.  We are currently at the beginning of Saka Dawa, the holiest month in the Buddhist calendar, so all sacred sites in the area are busy with people practicing and making offerings.  All good merit accumulated during this month is multiplied by a few thousand/million times.  (A little extra incentive to be/do good).  More on all that in future posts on Kailash…

After kora, Kats and I explored the surrounding neighborhoods and came upon this bike shop?… or maybe it’s a repair shop?  All I know is this guy may have some rusty bike part hoarding issues…

And a little note on Kathmandu’s pollution.  Infrastructure to deal with the 3 point something million people that live in the Valley is missing.  This “river” below is also a sewer and trash recepticle.  The sight and smell of it are too much to deal with, and it goes on forever (this is actually just a tributary).  There are so many images that I could’ve taken of similar and even more upsetting scenes but sometimes you just got to keep walking: 

Right on.  Though I’m not so sure about the “less rubbers” part.

Landing in Hong Kong
May 11, 2010, 11:48 am
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After a sweet send-off and a 14 hour flight (in which I prioritized a movie marathon over sleep) I’ve made it to Hong Kong.  So happy to be here!  I’ve splurged on a day lounge and now fresh from a hot shower and a complimentary massage.  Dazed but oh so happy.  7 hours to go and I’m Kathmandu-bound.