Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Footloose in Kathmandu (Nepal post 2017-04)

Kathmandu view northeast from Thamel district from roof of Moonlight Hotel, Paknajol Marg (road).
Oh oh, something has happened, Kathmandu is a big city now. And as of late 2017, it looks like a construction zone. Buildings are being razed and replaced, or rebuilt within their historic facades. Scaffolding, piles of brick, concrete mixers, and dust are everywhere. The 2015 earthquakes caused terrible damage to historic sites, but the palaces and temples are slowly being repaired. I think Kathmandu is on a cusp or transition from an old Asian city into a new commercial city. We will take a short walk around town; no real theme, just a tourist exploring, smelling, watching, and enjoying.
Rooftop laundry, Thamel district.
Families live in older-looking multi-floor buildings. I am not sure how they responded to the earthquakes. Did engineers inspect each and every house?
An old, but still maintained and used, English Cemetery is near the UK Embassy. For over a century, the Empire did not have an ambassador, but instead had a Resident. He consulted with the Nepali government and had some of the duties of a true ambassador. The cemetery contains graves of some of these ambassadors as well as their families and the occasional English traveler and mountaineer. And, most unusual, there are Russians here, possibly refugees from the Bolsheviks.
Workers still demolish buildings the old way, by hand. No hard hats, eye protection, or steel toe boots here.
The wiring at the Chasibari Marga area is somewhat of a mess. Well, all the wiring in Kathmandu is a mess. You see the same in Hanoi.
Despite the construction and commerce, the gents still have time to sit, play chess, smoke, and gossip.
Chhetrapati area, Kathmandu, October 2017
Near Asan Chowk, Kathmandu, October 2017.
Whatever you may think of the state of the infrastructure, it does not deter people from shopping, trading, selling, shoving, walking, eating, yelling, and sort-of sniffing the fumes. I see crowds like this in cities such as Arusha, Athens, Rangoon, Cairo, Lodz, or Mandalay. Why are American cities like Jackson such deserted wastelands?
The Asan Chowk (or marketplace) is always interesting. This where you can buy spices, vegetables, fruits, legumes, dried fish, salt, and other consumables. Chickens and meats are sold somewhere else, but I am not sure where. In Nepal, Muslim men often work as butchers. I have written about the Chowk before, and it remains as much fun as ever.

This is the 4th in a series on my 2017 Nepal trip. To be continued....

These photographs were taken with a Leica IIIC 35mm camera with 50mm f/2.0 Summitar lens on Kodak TMax 100 and 400 film, exposure measured with a Gossen Luna Pro Digital light meter. The film was developed in Xtol developer by Praus Productions, Rochester, New York.

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