No good deed …

A German shepherd appeared in our neighborhood yesterday—skin and bones, mangy, with infected eyes, and terrified of everything. I felt terrible about her condition, so I gave her a bowl of water which she drank down greedily, and that was that. Today she was back, so I bought some dog food and a bowl, and gave her food and water. She ate gingerly at first, but then grazed steadily. The transformation was immediate. She begin to start off after cars, bark at some men and sniff at some others, and then she followed me up the street. I hope this…

Pashupatinath Temple

Pashupatinath Temple is a 5th century temple on the banks of the Bagmati River. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva and a major pilgrimage destination. The most important part of the compound is on the other side of the river from where we started. (Tourists are not allowed in the main temple.) Here, there are numerous shrines to deceased sadhus (holy men). As this is a Shiva temple, each shrine contains a lingam. On Saturdays, this part of the temple grounds are filled with people exercising and meeting friends. Also monkeys. There were cremations going on across the river. Especially…

Urban planning

is not a thing around here. Once you’re off the main avenues, the roads fork and wind haphazardly. It isn’t just side streets and alleys. In some places, you can’t go 50 yards without having to swerve. Another thing is that alleys join streets at acute angles. It makes for some buildings that look like ships’ prows. I asked my language instructor if there was a reason for that—for example, whether it’s bad luck to meet a major road at a right angle—but he said no, it’s just that no one bothered to put any rules in place.

First hill run

There is a trail run in Pokhara, a popular tourist destination, in December, so I decided to start training. Unlike Bangkok, Kathmandu offers lots of hilly terrain for training, so I went up into the hills on the recommendation of a fellow runner. My trail would start at the Kopan Monastery and end at a helipad just 2.2 km away. Easy, right? No. I quickly realized that I wasn’t acclimated enough to do hard-core running at 4,600 feet. However, the view was nice. A passing motorcyclist told me I had taken a wrong turn and my road was going nowhere,…

Oh, really?

It’s hard enough to make good on a claim of New York style bagels in, say, Cleveland; it’s a tall order to pull off that trick in Kathmandu. First, as to the appearance. It was bagel-shaped, apart from having a very small hole in the middle. The sesame-seed coverage reminded me more of a Greek koulouri than a New York bagel. Inside—not quite bagel-like. With toast and butter, the outside is a little chewy, like a New York style bagel, and the flavor is pretty good. But is it a New York style bagel? I’m reminded of what my late…

Dogs

As some of you know, we had to say goodbye to Cooper this past summer. However, I am not bereft of dog. “There are no strangers here; only hands you haven’t yet sniffed.”

And we’re back

We landed in Kathmandu, Nepal this morning, to start our next posting. Here is the view from the car during the ride from the airport to our house, plus the view from our balcony.