20 April 2012

How can I not fall for a place that streets are crowded with watermelon slice sellers.  On my way to work I curse being stuck in traffic, my thin cycle wheels bumped by fellow impatient traffic jam partners revving their motorbikes and when we start to move again I see the holdup: a watermelon slice cart and it’s pusher maneuvering around a pile of bricks in the road, ok ok I can wait for that.  Share the road!  Watermelon carts! City busses!  Bricks! The road is not discriminating. 

Last night in search for some vermillion powder I headed to the shops surrounding the temple square near my apartment. These shops, all six of them in a row, sell worship material. Basically they sell Prayer Equipment. The shelves lined with cashew jars, brown paper, and greasy bottles, the corners draped with silk scarves, ox hair tassels and malas
As I sat with the shop keeper and watched him load up customer bags with coconuts, incense, red string, colored powder, oil, metal dishes, wool wicks, ghee, sugar, and in the he tosses a handful of loose mustard seeds in, when asked why he answered  ‘for bad luck’. Of course!  This is an entire business of believing so of course they have their own rituals…this reminds me of an instance a few months back.  It was a freezing cold and windy winter night, my friend had such a bad migraine that she was sort of collapsed on the restaurant tabletop. I went to find a pharmacy to get her some pain stuff.  After picking out what I needed I waited to pay, but the pharmacist was in the middle of blessing his shop with incense so I stood there and waited while he opened every drawer, waving incense over the contents, every shelf, then the storage area behind, then the doors, windows, calculator, and lastly me and my bottle were incanted-ed and incensed. He finished, turned around, smiled and said “70 rupees”.

It’s getting hot here but right now there are cumulous building to the east. The city sounds. It is another New Year here, Nepali year 2068; this will be my fourth New Year since arriving in Nepal. Silver flags, strips of pure bright flitting flickering above, a canopy of silver in the dark greasy tunnel of street. To celebrate this new year I am going to post photos from India where I was for the New Year of 2012 a few months back.  I will post some words about that place but am waiting for my poetess sister to show up here, today, that’s right…my sister returns!  Tomorrow with sister I am setting off to the region of Dolpo in NW Nepal. If you read Peter Matthiessens Snow Leopard, well that’s the place! So I am going to study with this exceptional artist from a tiny village up on the Tibetan border.  Tenzin Norbu, the artist, and his assistants are painting the wall murals in a new Buddhist monastery and I might be able to put a few lines in as well. !!!!!!.  You can see some of his work here- http://www.drokpa.org/dolpo_artist/paintings1.htm. We will be walking and camping out for over 30 days.  I can hardly contain myself. 

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