Archive for the ‘What to do in Kathmandu’ Category

art out and about

in daily life, Kathmandu Valley, Nepali art, What to do in Kathmandu

This post has been in my head for ages. A few years ago, some amazing pieces of street art started popping up all over the city. I never knew when I’d turn a corner and see a formerly bare wall now covered with an image that would make me think, wonder, or just feel grateful for the beauty. I have been taking pictures of them for years, spurred on when several pieces vanished after the walls or buildings they adorned got torn down. Today I took the photo below, on a side alley off Paknajol, behind Thamel, of a piece I was seeing for the first time.

The others were taken earlier this year; I’ll track down the older photos for a future post, but for now, enjoy. To the best of my knowledge all of these are still up and can be viewed at the location noted.

20 September, 2018, an alley off Paknajol

 

June 15, 2018, just off Freak Street (Jochhen Tole)

 

27 April, 2018, Guna Kamdev Marga (driving the back way towards Kalimati from New Road/Freak Street)

 

Detail of bottom left hand corner of the above image, obviously added later by another party

Kathmandu Weekend

in Boudha, daily life, Food, Kathmandu, Tibetan cooking, What to do in Kathmandu

On Sunday, I woke up a bit under the weather. I really didn’t want to go anywhere, but stronger than that feeling was the desire for my favorite greasy, spicy, Boudha-style Chinese restaurant. Rain threatened– it has for much of the past two weeks–as my hunger overcame my laziness and I headed out. To find to the Yak Restaurant, you have to enter the Boudhanatha Stupa area from the main entrance, and walk exactly half-way around it before going down an alley. You’ll find it on your left, after souvenirs, piles of chilly peppers and hunks of butter. It doesn’t look like much, but with its strange hybrid of mostly-Chinese-with-a-little-Tibetan-food, it’s one of my favorite places to eat. I always tell myself that with the plethora of good places to eat in Boudha, I should try something new. Then I find myself driving along the muddy, pot-holed roads for the sole purpose of eating exactly here.

In an attempt to avoid those said muddy holes, particularly bad now as we are in monsoon season, I decided to take a detour along some back toads that I know indirectly link my area to the Boudha area. I was unsuccessful and after driving in circles ended up back on the main road not that far at all from where I’d left it. So I went to Boudha the usual way, but with some sort of flooded pipe or drain making the road far worse than usual – and that’s saying a lot, believe me – I determined I’d find the shortcut on my way back. Famous last words.

On reaching Boudha I did what I always do, no matter how often I come: took a photo or two of the stupa. It’s one of my favorites places in Kathmandu and I never tire of photographing it, even when the skies are grey as they were on Sunday. I bought a few lovely cloth bags from a local shop here that I like (not that I don’t have enough bags) and carried on down the alley to the Yak Restaurant. I ordered pretty much the same thing I always do: spicy cooking buff, which is a bowl of spicy delicious broth, thin sliced buff, potatoes, greens, noodles, two kinds of mushroom and more in the bowl besides, eggplant in chilli sauce, a steamed Tibetan bun, and a beer. I don’t think the picture does it justice, but it’s delicious. Too much food, of course, but I take the leftovers home and eat spicy soup for a couple of days after each visit.

While I was waiting for my food, the rain started. From my seat by the entrance I enjoyed the downpour while staying dry and taking pictures through the open door.

When the rain let up, I set off on my scooter once again, determined not to take the main road, which I knew would be even worse after the downpour. I like to think I have a pretty good sense of direction, but boy did it let me down in this instance. Which is actually a good thing, or I’d never had the experience that I did.

After driving down several fascinating streets I’d never seen before, I began reading the place names on shops and realized that I was going in the complete wrong direction. But I was enjoying myself, and didn’t feel like turning around, so I kept on to see what I would see. Before long, I was in the vicinity of Gokarna, far beyond Boudha, while still somehow having bypassed the main road. I ended up driving up a beautiful green hill, past rice paddies and prayer flags, into an area called Jagadole, which I’d never heard of and could find almost no information about when I researched it after getting home. Passing a small crew engaged in a film shoot, mothers and children, and people out enjoying their weekend, I came to an amazing viewing point, looking out from the hill all across the Kathmandu Valley: I could see the stupa of course, but also as far as the airport in the distance. Fluttering prayer flags made a picturesque scene even more so, as they are wont to do, and I felt grateful for my mixed-up sense of direction that took me, on this Sunday, to a place I’d never been to before.

 

 

 

Wild about Wings

in booze, chicken, Food, food writing, What to do in Kathmandu

Anyone who knows me well has heard me tell of my love for chicken wings. Sadly, the places that served my favourite chicken wings have closed in the last few years, the buildings they were housed in victims of the earthquake or road enlargement work. So I’m looking for new favourites, and while doing research for an article I found myself in the picturesque courtyard of the DaLai-La hotel in Thamel having a single malt at their wonderfully named bar, Liquid Happiness. I sat and observed the goings on, interspersed with reading Rabi Thapa’s new book, Thamel: Dark Star of Kathmandu, also for an upcoming article. Liquid Happiness has a great bar snacks menu, and of course I went for the chicken wings with house sauce.

Are they my new favourites? No, but they’re pretty darn good. The only thing keeping me from making this place a habit is the price tag – in my case, it’s more special occasion than daily pit-stop. Still, highly recommended for great atmosphere, convivial staff, and excellent food and drink.

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Paragliding in the Kathmandu Valley?

in paragliding, What to do in Kathmandu

Yep, it’s possible. Lucky me got to go up last Saturday (Feb 18th) compliments of Kathmandu Paragliding, in order to write about it for the upcoming ECS special issue on adventure sports. As when I did it in Pokhara, I both enjoyed it and felt the quease… but oh boy were there great views!

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What to do in Kathmandu? Japanese Jazz Concert, Oct 22 & 23, 2016

in activities, music, What to do in Kathmandu

One of the advantages of living on the north side of town is that when the Japanese embassy puts out a banner advertising an upcoming event, I get to see it almost immediately. Earlier this year they¬† organized a jazz concert which I attended with friends. To be honest, I didn’t expect that much from a free event, but I was blown away by the talent and enthusiasm of the musicians. I’m thrilled that they’re hosting another event so soon — I’ve already got my passes!

Sadao Watanabe and his band will be playing on the 22nd & 23rd October at the Tribhuvan Army Officer’s Club in Tundikhel at 4 pm sharp. You can get free passes from the Japanese Embassy in Pani Pokhari. There’s a limited number of seats available, and when they’re gone they’re gone, so if you love great music and jazz in particular, get yours now.

Specifics on the musicians who will be playing can be found here, at the Japanese Embassy’s website.

The Mo:Mo Series — Number 3 (my favourite)

in daily life, mo: mo, mo:mo series, What to do in Kathmandu

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These are, by far and away, my favourite mo:mo. I’ve eaten more of these over the years than I could possibly count.¬† The New Everest Mo:Mo Centre in Lainchour, next to the campus behind Thamel, serves only one thing–buff mo:mo, cooked in giant steamers. The sauce is a secret combination of ground sesame seeds, chilli powder, and fresh danya (coriander). There’s more in it, too, but I don’t know what. It’s delicious, especially when combined with the flavourful fat that spurts out of the mo:mo when you cut into them. I like to spoon the sauce inside the mo:mo itself for a perfect bite.

Oh wow, just reading over what I’ve written has made me hungry…

What to do in Kathmandu: 10th Asian Documentary Film Festival on now!

in children, documentaries, Film South Asia 2015, Nepal, Uncategorized, What to do in Kathmandu

film south asia 2015

Today I was invited to attend the opening of Film South Asia 2015, a South Asian documentary Film Festival that is held every two years. As we all took our seats in the cozy theater, there was an announcement, “In the likely event of a tremor, there are two emergency exits there, and there.” This was greeted by a wave of laughter; I’m not sure if “in the unlikely event” was meant to be humorous or not, but this morning at 10 am there was a 5.3 tremor here in Kathmandu, the first one I’ve personally felt in a while, and I’m sure it was on everyone’s mind. While it wasn’t that strong, it seemed quite long. More about it here.

The documentary screened at the opening was Drawing the Tiger, directed by Ramyata Limbu, Amy Benson and Scott Squire, and filmed here in Nepal over a period of seven years. The film follows a young girl from Ramechhap District who comes to Kathmandu to pursue her education, and the ripple effect this action has on her entire family. I am glad I didn’t know much more than that when I sat down, as the film was a beautiful and moving experience, including an emotional sucker-punch I was not expecting, perhaps extra difficult for me as I also have the Humla girls I’m helping to educate so it hit really close to home. If you have a chance to see this film, I couldn’t recommend it highly enough: it’s a simple, honest piece and a great sample of ‘show, don’t tell.’ Even documentaries sometimes get carried away in trying to make a point via omnipresent narrator or other methods, but despite the subject matter, this film did nothing of the sort. The only people you heard from were each of the family members involved, and the result was touching, honest, and surprisingly revealing. More about the film at its website here, though be warned that it also tells quite a bit about the story that I was glad I didn’t know ahead of time.

The festival continues for three full days: tomorrow, Friday November 20th, Saturday the 21st and Sunday the 22cond. It’s being held at Yala Maya Kendra, Patan Dhoka, in Lalitpur, with between 8 to 15 documentaries of various lengths being screened on each of the three days. Each film costs just 50 rs. to attend, and are from all over the region–Afghanistan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and of course, Nepal. The screenings begin around 10 am each day and continue to 5 or 6. For details of which films are shown on which days, you can check out their website, http://www.filmsouthasia.org; unfortunately I had a hard time accessing the site and if you do too, you can click on the high-res picture I took of my programme below to embiggen it and see what the choices and timings are. This is a really great chance to see some of the best recent documentaries from this part of the world and I recommend that if you’re in Kathmandu you take full advantage of it!

And with the fuel crisis and shortages unfortunately still in full swing, the organizers have added a special festival motto: “Walk, bike or take a public bus to the Doc Fest!”

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