The first time I saw her she was working the streets, and working them well. I was sat, as I recall, in a cafe situated in
the tourist-overrun Thamel area of the city.. a cafe that could have been anywhere in the world.
That's one of the first things that struck me about Kathmandu; in some corners of the city it acts as though it is in
the developed world, whether the respective establishments are swanky restaurants serving quality
Westernised meals, or ultra-hip nightclubs deliriously pumping out maddeningly intense house music.
But the widespread poverty was never far away, and no amount of good food, drink or entertainment could ever totally mask the fact that people were struggling to live here, stuck way below the poverty line and biding their time. They prayed for lucky breaks but knew better than to expect anything much of this world.
The next evening I was back in the same cafe, reading. On The Road.
I think by this point I'd read that novel about seven times but I never got bored of the
zest-obsessed nature that streaked through the author Jack Kerouac's writing.
I think of Dean Moriarty, so runs the classic last line of the book. Hell, I thought, I think about him too.. I even dream about the guy, that man named Dean who was preoccupied with non-conformity and enjoying life. I related to his enthusiasm and thus came to style my attitudes and ideals in such a way so as to reflect his.
I thought, why work for a living? Why live for work? Why don't more people genuinely live to live?
Yes, I remember.. I was daydreaming about the guy - and then a humble shard of humanity caught my eye.
Hi, she said.
Immediately I recognised her accent and wondered what kind of chance two British travellers - who were both from Yorkshire - had of meeting in a cafe in Kathmandu. Fate was working hard on destiny's part, and this was how we started out as a couple. A couple of fools. A couple of fools in lust, with money to burn and a country to see. To breathe. To get under our skin. To get under each other's skin.
Her brittle, bittersweet smile said more than mere words ever could, and I was glad that she'd seen in my pure blue eyes blinding shades of loneliness. I had come out here to Nepal again in order to essentially escape the boredom of life back home in Britain. I needed fresh, exciting experiences - but I always prefer to share any experiences that I do have with somebody on a similar wavelength to myself.
Her name was Angel, and she said she somehow knew that I was English just by observing me from a distance. She hadn't heard me speak. She just knew. If only we both know then what we both know now.
She entranced me. She both looked and spoke like the Angel her parents had named twenty-four years earlier. What with the spectacular backdrop of snow-topped mountains that Kathmandu affords, heaven suddenly seemed closer than ever as the rest of the world hurried to and fro as normal, animatedly around our detached auras of excitable lust for learning as much as possible about each other right there and then in a style that Kerouac would have loved - I was sure.
Rapid question and answer rounds came and went and we both laughed hysterically.
Slyly, I came to mention the fact that I'd seen her the day before marching up and down one side of the dark
back-street that was just outside the cafe in a terrible fluster, but Angel was quick to try and
convince me that it wasn't her that I'd seen at all.
No, no way.
She wasn't one of those travellers who'd found herself skint and with no choice other than to temporarily become a working girl in another city of sin in order to raise some more funds, far away from home.
She smiled coyly before confidently conceding, Honey, I'm made of money.
And are you really an angel? I asked, raising my eyebrows and allowing a little grin to crease my face.
Without hesitation, she said of course she was. And who was I to argue?
Fiction - Welcome To Hellville - Part 1 By Rich Mills
After recent heavy rains I'm now trapped in the flat. The Wet Season is fully upon us now, it seems to arrive earlier each year. Not that I'd mind tropical storms if we got the tropical summer to go with it. Instead this summer was cold and grim, as it has been since as long as I can remember.
My Dad does talk
Fiction - Firm but Fair By Mark Pollard
Cry-Baby Jim Breaks. He pioneered it, they say.
And the hushed, almost ecclesiastical tones of Ken Walton had heralded it's
entry into Saturday afternoon folklore: the bright lights of
Blackpool and Great Yarmouth, down to the lesser reputes of Ilfracombe and
Skegness had all borne witness
Fiction - Puzzles By Denis Price
I've got a really nice room, when the door's closed I feel ever so safe and warm. It's quiet as well,
just the swish of the wind in the trees outside. I like the trees; they hide the big tall fence.
My watchers say the fence is there to keep me safe, and that's their job too, they're always there
Fiction - Kat Out of the Bag Chapter Two By Steve Rudd
What's a man to do in Kathmandu? Pretty much anything he wants is the steadfast answer.
Sick of dull caravan-anchored holidays in Britain that plagued my ill-charmed childhood, adventure called and I responded.
Still, I would be
Fiction - COLD WAR TALES- THE CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS By Denis Price
The piercing insistent wail of the siren woke him. `For Christ`s sake now what!` Over the tannoy the
smooth expensive voice intoned languidly that this was only a drill and that all personnel
should continue with their normal duties.
He groaned and thought, this is my normal
Fiction - Kat Out of the Bag Chapter One By Steve Rudd
Above all else it was ignorance and arrogance that helped me pack my bags.
The ignorance and arrogance of myself, that was, and everyone else.
I was only interested in people and past-times that furthered humanity. And what was wrong with that?
Fiction - Scrawls Of The Unexpected By Mark Pollard
Professor Colin Pillinger, lead scientist on the Beagle II programme, was calm but well pissed off
inside. He had been clinging to the idea that his £35 million Mars Probe was stuck in a crater,
waiting for some narrow rays of sunlight to banish the shade for a few precious hours each day
in order that
Fiction - A Short Story - The Beaver Stalker By The J.E.M. Cult
I stepped out into the cold frosty air.
I pulled my muffler tighter round my hands and crunched across the frozen grass. Today was the first day of the beaver season- and by golly, I was sure gonna get me one.
I love beavers. I can't help it. There's just something about stroking that damp fur that sends me
Fiction - The Art Of Being Alone In A Crowded Bar By Rich Mills
What music are you into, man? The American exchange student who had earlier introduced himself, without any regard for Jean-Paul's need to be alone, suddenly threw a curve-ball of a question in his direction.
Well I listen to... What followed was a definitive list of bands from Jean-Paul's wide ranging rare vinyl