Flying in to Kathmandu
out of the haze that Delhi breathes,
a perceptual relief
to see space between housing blocks,
some forested hillsides,
and beyond them, above clouds,
the Himalayas that generate
weather patterns, watersheds,
economies and agriculture and even
nationstates (for now).
The city itself jumbles lives and commerce
within restricted spaces
never meant for the velocity
of such traffic and bodies in motion,
never imagined as a mecca
for travelers around the world.
It’s the motorcycles that shred one’s nerves,
honking their hurried way
through clusters of tourists
attentive to store fronts
but not the chance of collision.
Later on, it will be live rock bands
that turn the evening on its head,
away from the Kathmandu
I’ve idolized these many years.
As two Danish travelers commented
“In 2001, Thamel district was quiet,
easy to navigate…,”
no close calls with passing vehicles
that graze one’s tender flanks,
No late night drunks
screaming their way to bed.