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Trek View on Nepal: Himalayan Studies Gap Year Semester with Where There Be Dragons

Kathmandu: I Walk

I walk home at 5.

I walk down a hill, turn left and walk down another.  I walk beside a muddy river lined with trash.  Plastic bags, half lodged in the gritty sand, float aimlessly.

How many? Countless.

For how long? Decades.

I walk past barking dogs and over bumpy roads.  I walk past bustling shops filled with cauliflower, potatoes and onions.  I walk past a grand house, painted columns and gilded window frames.  Razor wire and watchdog. I walk past a small brick house behind a Pipal tree.  Broken windows, tin roof, hanging laundry and chickens.

I walk by a barber, carefully trimming a beard.  I walk by Shiva, Ganesha and Vishnu, hiding within their red walled temples.  Bells, flame and fragrant incense.  I walk by a man dragging a bent and useless leg.  I falter, suddenly conscious of my own sure stride.  I walk across a busy street, crammed with cars, buses and motorcycles.  Breathe in dust, cough, then spit.

As I walk, people push past, coming and going like an endless line of ants.  Each pair of dark eyes, an untold story.  I walk by a pair of women.  One is kneeling by the others feet, a hand resting in comforting council on her friend’s knee.  Her husband had beat her again.  I walk by a pair of young girls, tripping along hand in hand, chirping in the high sing song voices of carefree innocence.

I walk through narrow back alleys and up forty six steep stairs.  I walk past golden sunset and toward silver moon rise.

The moon is full tonight.