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Kathmandu, Nepal - First Impressions

Alive with the life around me

My heart pounds wildly. My eyes are wide and begin to water as I pick up my pace. Strange new sights, sounds and smells attacking my senses. I break into a jog. People watch as I run past, trying to decipher the twisted expression on my face between the grin of a backpacker or that of a madman. A rickshaw cuts in front of me and I dodge out of the way, my elbow grazing a taxi as it lurches by.

A crisp, cool bead of sweat forms on my forehead. I feel it smooth and soothing, waiting patiently as it craves the momentum needed to begin the race across my face.

The street, thickening with people. Sadhus, street vendors, touts, beggars, monks and sawdust. Washing over everything is a blur of colours, a kaleidoscope of sound and smell, an intoxicating blend of sweat, incense, fruit and shit.

Now the scenes around me begin to accelerate. A deafening roar of emotion, stress and jetlag sweeps through me. I stop beside an ancient buddha statue with a clothes line attached to it's outstretched arm, tattered underwear drying in the thick, grimy air. Heaving in a lungful of exhaust from a belching tuktuk, I close my eyes and try to ground myself, find my balance.

The bead of sweat releases and crashes down the side of my cheek, charges across my face in a furious and determined race toward fulfillment. A final gasp of release and it disappears over the ridge of my cheekbone, joining the dusty street below.

I sense something bearing down on me. Opening my eyes, I see a man on a bicycle hurtling toward me, a screaming chicken under one arm. I start to leap to the side in an attempt to dodge this new obstacle, shouting simultaneously with a voice inside my head. For a split second the chicken and I look deep into each others eyes. Connection. The air is punched out of my lungs and quickly sucked back in by the man crashing into me. Everything goes black.


I hear something hissing at me. I slowly open my eyes and see a bright orange snake dangling inches in front of my nose. It hisses and spits as I blink and suck in a breath. "Picture?" the young Nepalese Sadhu asks. I smile, fumble for my camera and snap a picture of the boy and his hissing snake.

There is a new and strange feeling I have discovered here, in this old place. Wandering through the streets of Kathmandu and Durbar Square, at times I want to jump up and scream at the world with excitement: "I'm alive!"

Curtis Brunet


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Kathmandu Nepal travel report. First impressions of crazy Kathmandu. Travel to Nepal, climb everest, or at least tell people you did.