Dear friend, blog subscriber, casual visitor.  Welcome back!

This blog almost got wiped out by GoDaddy…  You have no idea, what I have been through.  500 traveling days, 1000 pages, 2000 hours of writing and photo editing…  For what seemed an eternity, all was gone.  I guess I was in thorough denial about it.  At this state, I am ecstatic.  So much got saved after all.

The blog is still is not what it used to be and perhaps, it never will be again.  But all of my entries are back, and your comments made it back, too.  However, all the pictures I posted are gone (almost all).… VIEW PHOTOS AND READ THE WHOLE STORY


On Wednesday, October 11 and 18 from 6-8 PM, I will present a lecture on Cuba at Washtenaw Community College – Morris Lawrence Building #105.

This lecture will be a cocktail of country, people, politics, food, and the arts, mixed with travel tips.  It is intended for an audience that either has been to Cuba, wants to travel to Cuba some day, or is just interested in the current world.  Perhaps, you can come?  Please help me spread the word.

Registration Online:  https://washtenaw.augusoft.net/

Registration via Phone:  734.677.5060

Fee:  $30  Students, faculty, and seniors 65 and over are free.… VIEW PHOTOS AND READ THE WHOLE STORY


Peddler with Morning Tea

SYNOPSIS:  Final thoughts on Nepal, China, Tibet, living goddesses, and women in particular.  A thanks to my readers! A thanks to my editor and my “linker”!

After nearly three months of travel (not counting the month in Cuba), I am about to go home.  If you are still here reading, you are the most amazing, loyal blog reader I could imagine, one I never could be!  Thank you for being here with me for the whole trip!  An extra special thanks goes to those among you who left comments.  Thanks to you, I never felt alone and I was motivated to keep writing.VIEW PHOTOS AND READ THE WHOLE STORY



SYNOPSIS:  Status report and comparison between the three ancient capitals.  Daily life in Bhaktapur’s old town.  There are two sections of images; please scroll down.

Bhaktapur was my final stop.  It is the last of the ancient kingdoms in the valley and I am glad I visited these three UNESCO sites in that order.  I took a real dive in accommodations, but as I went down to the basics inside, the view from Shiva Guesthouse across Bhaktapur’s Durbar Square beat both the views I had in Kathmandu and Patan.  I was smack in the middle of it all.VIEW PHOTOS AND READ THE WHOLE STORY


Girl bored with the Ceremony…

SYNOPSIS:  About a Saturday morning at the Kumbeshwar Vishnu temple and an afternoon at the Changunarayan Vishnu temple; my last excursion with Birendra.  Two sets of images.  Keep scrolling.

Even though Patan is mainly a Buddhist community, two Hindu temples caught my attention.  One was the Kumbeshwar Temple in Patan, dedicated to Vishnu.  It was just around the corner from Cosy Nepal and I decided to visit it several times during a Saturday, the only day off work in Nepal.  The other was a mountain temple, a few miles away which Birendra and I visited the following day.VIEW PHOTOS AND READ THE WHOLE STORY


ET at Palace Museum

SYNOPSIS:  About the residential communities in Patan, a community organizer, a few local traditions, and an internationally funded women’s project.  Keep scrolling down.  Lots of images are embedded.

Lalitpur, city of art, as contemporary Patan is known in the Newari language, won me over within minutes!  Of course, it is a city of art and artisans; how could I not love it?!  It is quieter here, cleaner, slower.  Or perhaps, it just feels like that to me because of the very noisy and dirty street I came from.  But I think there is more to it. 

Patan is the name of one of the ancient royal capitals of this valley and it is the third-largest city in Nepal.VIEW PHOTOS AND READ THE WHOLE STORY


Ganga and ET at the Farewell Ceremony

SYNOPSIS:  About a special farewell and a special welcome.  About Cosy Nepal, a unique housing and restoration project.

Never before have I been sent off with such love and kindness as today, when I left the World Heritage Hotel in Kathmandu.  When I was ready to part, Ganga, the beautiful and ever helpful receptionist of the hotel, told me to sit down.  She was going to perform a farewell ceremony Newari Style.  Newaris are the original inhabitants of this valley and rulers until the 18th Century.  Their culture has influenced if not shaped Nepal’s culture in every respect:  architecture, festivals, rituals, language, food.VIEW PHOTOS AND READ THE WHOLE STORY


Birendra and his Nephew

SYNOPSIS:  Back in Kathmandu.  About a neoclassical garden, a new friend searching for meaning in life, an excursion to a secret place, and a dinner invitation.

The report from Vladimir came in via What’s App.  What a world we live in!  The expected 6-hour bus ride from Lumbini to Kathmandu had taken an awful 11 hours on dusty, pot-hole riddled roads.  Not even the fact that he took the luxury bus, providing a bathroom and lunch along the way, did ease much of the pain.  I decided not to put myself through this agony and booked a 1/2 hour flight home with Buddha Air which, despite its bad reputation did not let me down.VIEW PHOTOS AND READ THE WHOLE STORY


Prized Possession – A TV

SYNOPSIS:  About village life inside and outside.  About pigeons and cows and different beliefs.  A photo essay.

As we were driving from Lumbini to Kapilavastu yesterday and from one archaeological site to the next, I passed several villages and fields, and took numerous pictures from the back seat of the motorbike.  That any of them turned out at all is a miracle, but please cut me some slack.

People’s homes and shops in the larger villages are typically placed alongside the main road and close to it.  That makes for constant traffic noise and dust, but it seems to be the preferred location, perhaps for access to public transport and perhaps, to attract business.VIEW PHOTOS AND READ THE WHOLE STORY


Gotihava – Closeup

SYNOPSIS:  Where the Buddha grew up, his clan was slaughtered, his parents honored, and his son made demands.   About a motorbike ride and two self-appointed guides.  This is a bit more of an art historical blog than usual. 

Rightly so, the Kapilavastuans (if there is such a thing) feel marginalized by all the attention, recognition, and funding showered on Lumbini.  Really, the Buddha was born there by pure accident; in the middle of absolutely nowhere, on the way to Maya’s parents’ palace.  As was customary, she had tried to go home to deliver her child, but was surprised by the Buddha’s premature birth.VIEW PHOTOS AND READ THE WHOLE STORY