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

What I remember most from Kathmandu other than the many monkeys, considered holy by believers who roam around the temples and are very picturesque, is our daily breakfast, which 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 known for its milk, meat, and fur.  Yak milk has a higher butterfat content than cow milk, so the yak yogurt is very creamy, and its flavor is very strong.  Often, it is honey-sweetened.  The yak milk is served in unglazed red clay pots, which add something to the joy.

If you’re looking for a cheap place to travel, Nepal was and still is at the top of the list.  Nepal remains a romantic Himalayan destination, but the tragic irony is that parallel to its active geological fault lines, the country’s political divisions are incredibly volatile, see this 2017 Washington Post article.