It's been a fast 3 days! There is so much I want to write about right now, but I'm not sure how to put it all together in any way that would come out coherent. The one thing I will say is, WOW. I'm being honest here when I say the Boudhanath Stupa is one of the absolute most impressive structures I have ever seen. Out of the 1000+ photographs I've taken thus far, at least half of them have the stupa in it in some way shape or form. It's that captivating.
Kathmandu is an interesting mix of people from Tibetan heritage and Indian heritage. You can see it in their faces, and in the culture. While Boudhanath is the Tibetan quarter, I also walked to the Hindu Pashupatina Temple. It looked very much like what I have seen of India through pictures, both the people and the architecture. They were doing cremations while I was there. I made a friend who explained a lot of what was going on to me as I watched from across the river. It was a moving experience.
I used jet lag to my advantage and got up early to visit the stupa in Boudha each morning. It's a 2 minute walk from my guesthouse, and I still feel like I'm late every day. At 5am before the sun is up, there are hordes of monks, nomads, and others circling the stupa counter-clockwise. It is without a doubt the best time of the day to visit the stupa; no tourists, no riff raff (people trying to prey on the tourists), just real people. I was the only non-Nepalese person there this morning when I showed up at 4:30am. I even had to hop the fence at my guest house to get out because the gate was still pad locked.
I've spent a lot of time at the stupa, but also a fair amount of time in the neighborhoods off to the sides of it. I've gotten pretty deep into them. Like 30 minute walk deep. I think the most memorable thing from the neighborhoods was stumbling upon a small shack, where a few men were making the knives that were sold at the stupa. They welcomed me in, and I sat with them for the better part of an hour, watching them work, and playing with the little boy, who was obsessed with taking pictures with my camera. He was absolutely hooked and would not let me have it back. I guess I understand why, I kind of like it too :) I asked them to make me a small knife (which I will have to mail back), and I'm going to pick it up later in the week (if I can find it again lol).
Anyway, I've got too many photos to share all of them right now, and I need to really sort through them at a later date after they have sat for awhile, so I can look at them objectively, but here are a few of my favorites. I'm particularly pleased with the portraits I've been making, and I'm sure there will be a stand alone portrait portfolio that will come from this trip. Enjoy!