Wednesday, January 16:

Katmandu, I’ll soon be touchin’ you
And your strange bewilderin’ time
Will hold me down

~ Cat Stevens: “Katmandu”

The day after my boys left Oman, on Saturday, January 12, the University finally announced that IF we worked REALLY hard invigilating final exams and marking papers during this week, we would get a semester break from January 17-25.  I have been waiting for this announcement and was about to give up hope that we would get a break at all.   I had researched 6 places I was thinking about going if we got a chance to escape: Sri Lanka, Prague, Kathmandu, Casablanca, Beirut and Zanzibar.  When it came to decision time, Kathmandu had the best price, the shortest flight, and the promise of cool, but not freezing, weather.  So, on Sunday, I booked a ticket to Nepal for 166 Omani Rials ($432).  I fly out tomorrow at 12:45 p.m.

I recently read one of Pico Iyer’s travel essays from Video Night in Kathmandu: Nepal: The Quest Becomes a Trek, which, inspired me to visit Nepal, much as his Lady and the Monk inspired me to visit Kyoto, Japan in January 2011.

My colleague, Mona Lisa, spent several months in Nepal and loved it.  She highly recommended the Kathmandu Guest House (Kathmandu Guest House), so I promptly arranged to stay there.  I downloaded to my Kindle the Rough Guide to Nepal and Lonely Planet Nepal and started reading.  I have not had time to do any planning, but Mona Lisa stocked me up with trekking essentials (which I’m not sure I’ll use since I don’t plan to do any long overnight treks), a city map, a walking stick, and miscellaneous other essentials.  She also sent me the link to some Tibetan incantations, music that will soothe my soul in Kathmandu, music that she says I will hear everywhere on the capital’s streets, music that captures the soul of the place.

Another colleague, Zida, told me she hated Kathmandu because of the filth, pollution and chaos, but she highly recommended Pokhara, which she says is stunning.  I think the Kathmandu Guest House will help me book a flight to Pokhara, home of Phewa Lake, Mt. Machhapuchhare and Annapurna.

I really have no plan and have no idea what to expect.  But I hope to bring home many beautiful pictures!!

If you care to follow my trip to Nepal, please follow me on: catbird in south asia. I won’t be posting about my trip on this blog. 🙂