Friday, January 25, 2013


Night watchmen walk the streets in the evening hours with the aid of a walking stick. Every couple steps are accompanied by the sound of wood hitting and skimming the cobblestone streets. The tap and scratching sound echo off walls and reverberate inside buildings as well as out, making it hard to determine where the sound is actually coming from. Not knowing what generated the sound until the following morning and thinking someone was in the hall just outside our door, my mind, already filled with pointless (never sought after) scary filth, went wild with panic-inducing scenarios of what would happen if we so much as moved a muscle or breathed just a bit too loud.

Which is why relief came in hearing daily life begin early. 4:30 in the morning early. Replacing unfamiliar sounds with the familiar. I stepped outside where the sky was still dark and the air crisp enough to see my breath in. A woman wrapped tightly in a shawl swept the streets with a broom made of twigs. Two men filled the baskets of their bikes so high with greenery and root vegetables, it was impossible for them to hop on and ride. Instead they covered the mounds with burlap, secured it tightly with twine, and walked to the street market where the produce was to be sold the moment the sun began to rise. Individuals walked quietly across town, stopping at every wall enclave housing a candle to perform a ceremonial ritual. Their destination reached at the door of a temple, where they would sound the gong of a bell advising the gods of their presence. Others congregated at the corner of a building to smoke and get an early start on the daily gossip.

The sight of it all was serene, but too chilly to be enjoyed. So the outside world was quickly abandoned, and not returned to until the streets were full of tourists.

Women fighting over fresh water. The limited quantities of fresh water come in long, sporadic intervals

temple worship

steaming momos - a Himalayan dumpling

1 comment:

Patti said...

Such a lovely description of the morning. I felt like I was right there with you. I'm glad you discovered the source of the thumps and bumps in the night. That would have freaked me out.