To say things have changed in Kathmandu since my last visit is the understatement of my entire trip. Of course I expected things to have changed since 1986. What is the same anywhere? But such a complete growth expansion makeover? OMG! I knew Kathmandu well, too. Having spent a couple weeks here, a couple weeks there…back then, and served with a good memory of it, well, I thought I’d spot the changes amongst the familiar. Well, that didn’t happen. I have to look really deep with concentrated efforts. Oh, there’s the random corner stupa tucked behind the multitude of bars and restaurants. The main temple sites of Pashiputinath, the holy Hindu temple, and Bodanath Stupa, the holy Budddhist temple, are gratefully still intact. But everything else that surrounds is what’s changed. That’s the thing. Everything surrounds it. Nothing surrounded before. I guess it’s called the expanding growth city of Kathmandu. I recall riding my bike, ok, bicycle, not motor, to Bodanath Stupa and Pashiputinath from Thamel, the happening western tourist area of Kathmandu. Now it takes at least 30 minutes by taxi through the very crowded streets. And then there is Thamel itself. Long before my time when I was here in 1985/1986, Thamel was a mecca for the western traveler. After a severe diet of Indian thali and the like in India, coming to Kathmandu was like a vacation, less hectic and could find all the comforts of western home, apple pie, lasagna, peanut butter! Now I long for Indian thali… To emphasize this point: I read in the local Kathmandu Post there was a Led Zeppelin retro concert by a local group. I love Led Zeppelin. Any follower of mine knows Kashmir is my favorite song. When this group did Kashmir, quite well actually, all was forgiven. Let growth happen, let everyone enjoy their Nokia mobile. When in Rome as they say. I joined the party.


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