We left at 5am this morning and took a taxi to see the sunrise outside of Kathmandu at a place called Nagarkot. The taxi ride ranked up there as one of the top 5 scariest in my lifetime. Climbing up a one-lane pothole laden partial dirt road in the dark with no side rails and a straight shot down was indeed a tad sketchy. Throw in the oncoming traffic of busses and motorcycles who leave their brights on and you have one heck of a ride. We even saw a gigantic wild boar run in front of our car. We made it safe and sound however, and the sunrise over the Himalayas was simply spectacular. It was so cold my feet went numb, but it was well worth it.
We made it back to the hotel by 10:30am and napped until the afternoon. After our coffee shop art time we meandered around The Garden of Dreams and played with selfies and the local chipmunks. Fun times.
A few thoughts from my coffee shop journal:
Nepal – Our seventh day here and I start to see more clearly. I see more clearly how people suffer everyday, how trash and pollution is completely choking our planet and the life that resides on it. In ‘developed’ countries we can easily push it to the back of our minds because it’s not something we constantly see. In ‘3rd world’ countries it slaps you in the face every minute of the day. For the people who live here, each moment is about survival. The truth is that luxuries like clean air and water just aren’t on their list of priorities. I am saddened, disgusted, humbled, and empathetic. Once again I find myself in a place where it is easy to pass judgment as an outsider. Seriously, how can climate control and the plastic crisis take any precedence at all when one struggles daily for basic needs such as food, clothing, and shelter? How do we as a human race even begin to fix that? It is if we are on an irreversible course set forth by history, circumstance, ignorance and power. It diminishes any optimism for our future and leaves me feeling hopeless. I personally can stop using plastic straws, use my own cup, etc., but the problem will continue to grow until we are left with the irreversible destruction of our home and ultimately ourselves.
Here I sit in Kathmandu, Nepal drinking my expensive café latte and eating french fries. I look out a giant glass window upon an ancient Hindu temple, polluted air, trash, and traffic. I will leave this place in two days and return to my ‘posh to me’ life in Malaysia. After a few weeks I will probably not even think twice about the poverty I see around me today. The fact is, by being born in the United States I was born into privilege. I was born in a country where all I have every known is clean air and water. I was given a good, free education that allowed me the opportunity to have more if I wanted it. I have chosen a life of seeing the world and obtaining knowledge about people and places foreign to me. But the truth is, I really don’t do anything with this knowledge and this might make me worse than a wealthy person who hoards away their riches while those around him or her suffer.
Today I do see more clearly, but this is not something that makes me proud.