Kathmandu

“Heaven is a myth, Nepal is real.”

“The kingdom of Nepal is a landlocked country bordered by Tibet on the north and India to the east, west, and south. It is well-known as the birthplace of Buddha and for the Himalayas.  Although it is a small country, it contains the greatest variation in altitude on earth, from the lowlands of the Tarai in the south, to the world’s tallest mountain, Mt. Everest (29,028 feet).” – Jyoti Pathak

“Although Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world, it is known for its hospitality.  Guests are always looked upon as Gods, and Nepalese consider it an honor to welcome visitors, including strangers and passersby, and treat them with kindness and courtesy.  In Nepal, food is a constant topic of conversation, and no meal is complete without an extended discussion about the food, such as how it is cooked, how it is served, and recent meals.” – Jyoti Pathak

I remember seeing many monkeys roaming around the temples in Kathmandu.  They are considered holy by believers and are very picturesque.  Our daily breakfast in Kathmandu consisted of Yak yogurt.  A yak is a large domesticated wild ox with shaggy hair, humped shoulders, and large horns, used in the Himalayas as a pack animal; it also provides milk, meat, and fur.  Yak milk has a higher butterfat content than cow milk, so the yogurt is very creamy, and its flavor is robust; often, it is honey-sweetened.  Yak yogurt is served in unglazed red clay pots, which adds joy to the culinary experience.

Nepal has remained close to the top in the world in terms of being a cheap place to travel.  It is a romantic Himalayan destination.  The tragic irony is that parallel to its active geological fault lines, Nepal’s political divisions are incredibly volatile and unsafe. (see this 2017 Washington Post article)