Kathmandu is both toxic and intoxicating.
As soon as you get there you want to leave, to escape the evil wrath of smog that clogs the arteries
and stifles all sense of being.
Like most cities in the Third World, nothing can prepare any naive Westerner for touchdown in a foreign
land such as Nepal.
As exhilarating as Kathmandu still is (and has been since the swinging sixties, when
the city became a cultural Mecca for tripped-out hippies who were sick to their broken back
teeth with Western-fed consumerism and day-to-day routine) I was desperate to get up into
the mountains, north of the city, in order to go trekking.
So that's where I headed, laden with one hefty rucksack and a clear mind swimming with emotionally
rejuvenating thoughts. I was, for only the second time in the twenty-four years that I'd passively
misspent on this planet, truly at peace.
The concept of time fast becomes totally irrelevant the further one ventures away from civilisation, from the technology-run world, from those people who worship time and allow it to rule their lives as though some reward might be granted them in return for being a slave to the clock or the watch.
In the mountains, the only concept that needs to be addressed is space related. Lofty peaks older than time itself whisper tall tales about the types of people who have lived in their shadow over the years. Ghost stories haunt the most innocent places, as religion dominates the valleys. The skies. The hearts and the minds.
But I remained indifferent to such an explosive culture shock. I was still effectively a tourist, seeing the sights and haggling hard for sultry souvenirs that I could take home and show off to my so-called family and friends.
Whoever might be willing to lend an ear or two to listen to the stories I was convinced that I would bring back with me. Just so long as I didn't bring back malaria, but then there was little chance of that. I'd done my homework and realised that there's very little chance of contracting such a disease out of monsoon season. The month of May had just kicked in, and the skies scorched a pure blue veil of filthy brilliance through my all-seeing-eye's retinas. No wonder, then, that I didn't see disaster looming on the horizon!
But that was later and this is now and there is so much to tell and so little time and like Kerouac it's best to be drunk with life, it's best to be drunk with life, it's best to be drunk with life, alright, alright.
So, on arriving in the small mountain village of Syabru, I immediately found myself a couple of guides
and handy porter who dragged my rucksack behind him.
It was both huge and extremely heavy and I felt sorry that the porter should have to personally
shoulder such a burden. Obviously I was to pay him for his services, though not much.
Yes, yes, yes - I was being tight with my Nepalese rupees (even if most Nepalese people prefer to see the good old American dollar flashed stealthily in their direction), for I wasn't a rich man. Looking back, I wasn't even a man.
I was immune to the importance of being humble, of being modest, of being selfless and peace-making. Wisdom cannot be gained via a hypodermic needle. It will find you if it wants to, and then it must be carefully interpreted. Analysed. Questioned. And - more importantly - acted upon correctly.
Fiction - Welcome To Hellville - Part 2 By Rich Mills
The filter system in Panal(The aging-should-know-better-arty-farty-toss cafe bar that
should have been closed down 30 years ago.) must have been faulty. I'm still feeling really crap
this morning, two days on now. Either that or I'm coming down with a wet season cold.
Which is a major pain in the arse
Fiction - Kat Out of the Bag Chapter Three By Steve Rudd
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.
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