Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Road to Pullahari

Some (many) roads in Nepal are not passable in Monsoon; and we're experiencing the last rains during our visit. So I knew the road to Pullahari could be difficult; but I wasn't prepared for the sea of mud that confronted our taxi, even on this sunny day. I took a picture on the way down; I was too worried whether we would make it on the way up, to do anything but pray our way through each mud hole.

Pullahari is an amazingly beautiful monastery, with spectacular views of the Kathmandu valley. Caren and I listened to students from a local Tibetan School chant long life prayers for His Holiness Dalai Lama and others. We had lunch at the cafeteria, enjoying the views and the cool breeze as we ate our spring rolls and polkhara. Caren bought some candy and gave it to some little monks.

A kind monk showed us the library with its beautiful parquet wood floors. We also spent some time in the shrine room housing Jamgon Kontrul's kudong (body).

Tonight we lit candles near the stupa. Caren lit them for the completion of Eric's retreat and I lit them for Char's retreat, to remove all obstacles from their paths.

Friday, August 29, 2008


Took a taxi to Bhaktapur the old capital city of Nepal, famous for its architecture, temples and artisans. Well worth the 750 rupees admission fee. We hired a guide who was both knowledgeable and friendly. I've uploaded some images to the Current Trip Gallery on Or follow this link.

Twelve Km east of Khatmandu, Bhaktapur was founded in the twelfth century by King Anand Dev Malla. The "City of Devotees" is aptly named since Hindus and Buddhists have coexisted peacefully and drawn inspiration from each other. Cars are banned from much of the city, so it's a pleasure to wander the narrow streets and wide open squares without worry of being run over. The streets and sewage system were upgraded through the generosity of the German government following a devastating earthquake in 1934.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Afternoon with JuJu

Caren and I spent a very enjoyable afternoon with my friend JuJu, the owner of JuJu Handicrafts, in Patan. The taxi ride to and from was an adventure, but we found JuJu's new shop. After serving us some good Nepali tea, we walked to Durbar square and around Patan, visiting the Mahabodhi Shrine and the Golden Temple.

We had lunch, courtesy of JuJu, at a rooftop restaurant overlooking Durbar Square. He refused to let me pay, so I extracted a promise that next visit I would return the courtesy.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Rain, Rain, Go Away

Actually saw some blue sky yesterday. It's not actually raining that much; just seems unpredictable as to when it will rain. Caren and I have managed to walk around the stupa everyday; only once required an umbrella. Caren has yet to wear her OSU (Ohio State) poncho. I assured her that every Nepali kid would want one if she ever wears it.

We're planning a day excursion to explore some of the Kathmandu valley, arranged by our hotel manager, Lobsang. Probably do it tomorrow if the weather looks good in the morning.

Yesterday I took some pictures from the roof garden of our hotel (The Valley Inn Guesthouse). Here's one of them. The Boudhanath Stupa is the largest in the world.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

From Kathmandu to You

I’m comfortably ensconced in The Valley Guesthouse in Kathmandu, Nepal. Caren Ewart and I arrived yesterday. Caren is Eric Triebelhorn’s mother. Eric is due out of a 3-year retreat at Bokar Monastery in Mirik, India on September 9th.

We’re in Nepal to see a school that Caren is helping to build through the Room to Read Program. Unfortunately, we’ll have to settle for a visit to a similar school, nearer Kathmandu, where we’ll visit on September 2, the day before we leave for India.

If you’re ever in Kathmandu (don’t laugh, I never thought I’d be here once, and this is my second trip) I highly recommend The Valley Guesthouse. We each have a suite with adjoining balconies for about $35 per night, including breakfast. There is a spectacular view of the Boudha stupa and the mountains from the rooftop dining and reading area. The guesthouse is located right behind Thrangu Monastery, so we’re awakened every morning by the monks’ chanting.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

On My Way to Kathmandu

I'm in the Portland, OR airport waiting on a United flight to LAX. Then a Thai Air flight non-stop to Bangkok; a few hours layover and then a Thai flight to Kathmandu, Nepal.

It's now 1:57 AM on the 24th of August in Nepal. I'll arrive there, if everything goes as planned, at 12:45 PM on August 25. So about 36 hours elapsed travel time.

More later.