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After an uneventful evening on the Persian Gulf, in Doha, I finally made it to Kathmandu this afternoon.

My father seems to suffer from the misapprehension that Istanbul is an Asian city. He's out of his mind. Istanbul is very clearly European, a fact that forms a precise relief when one actually walks through a truly Asian city.

Kathmandu is a small capital, dotted by low-lying burgundy-brick buildings which slouch, in varying states of disrepair, on either side of narrow streets. I am staying at the Kathmandu Guest House, a legendary spot amongst budget travellers, which was highly recommended by a friend in Istanbul. This pleasing compound is built around a series of courtyards and gardens, which provides for a peaceful, somewhat bucolic ambience amidst the fumes and bustle of the city.

As I always do when I first arrive somewhere, I wandered through the city, attempting to absorb the vibe. On one corner, quite a few guys were sitting against a low wall, just generally watching life pass by. Seemed like a profitable enterprise, so I joined them. Pretty good entertainment watching the multitude of pedestrians, scooters and automobiles careening their way through the slender street. Although there are far fewer cars here than in Istanbul, they (if this is at all possible) try and honk their horns even more than at home. All in all, I still believe the Turks are worse at driving.

Presently, I happened upon a little square with a temple in the centre. Here there seemed to be a bunch of locals hanging out, discussing the events of the day, preparing for their evenings. I joined them, sitting on a concrete bench, and had a peaceful time until I pulled out my camera. Immediately, I was surrounded by a bunch of the local kids, with whom I had some entertaining discussions.

Fortunately for me, I come from an ethnic persuasion which is known for its recalcitrance when it comes to spending money. As a consequence, beggars, touts and troublemakers tend to give me little attention. These kids never once asked me for money. We just chatted of this and that, exchanged business cards - the usual. One young girl immediately guessed my religion and ethnicity from my Christian name; she and I began speaking broken Hindhi to each other once she determined I was Indian.

This evening I had a hearty Indian meal; my dhaal makhni had enough ghee (Indian clarified butter) to give my old physician Dr. Pudberry hysterics. Traditional Nepali food is bland (presumably due to the fact that a higher elevation invites less of a need for the antibacterial and masking properties of spice). But the Kathmandu region has tons of spicy Indian food, for which I am extremely grateful. I was quite tempted to try some of the enticing pickle served with the meal, but I abstained due to Dr. Diamond's strict instructions. One of my main goals on this trip is to maintain a healthy palour and a strong stomach.

Tomorrow, Ace arrives, which should make things interesting.

Missing you all,

Sunset Shazz

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About me

  • I'm Sunset Shazz
  • Living the dream in Istanbul, Turkey
  • I grew up in the hardscrabble streets of suburban Ottawa, Ontario, committing petty crime, insulting the elderly - basically the classic misspent youth. When I was 19, I moved to West Philly, where I put myself through the Wharton School by dealing crack and hustling. After stints in Paris and London, I eventually graduated and moved to San Francisco, where I put in eight years hard labor working for The Man. But now I pop bottles with models, deciding cracked crab or lobster - who says mobsters don't prosper?
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