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February 7, 2010 Katmandu, Nepal

Written by GingerBlossom Published in

"Om mani peme hun" fills the air and the ubiquitous inquiries of "Rickshaw Madam? Tiger Balm? Smoke ganja?" I try to be polite, they are just trying to make a living, so give a sincere and apologetic "No , thank you", and often times I get a "you're welcome" back - these are nice and easy street venders and touts, not what I'll be battling when I get down to the Plains of India.

Thamel is still a shadow of it's former self, but I see more people in the streets at night than I've seen in years. What's cool is that you also see lots of local people out and about, it's not just foreigners.

Freak Street in Kathmandu during the 60's and 70's was the end of the Overland Hippy Trail, which started in Istanbul. I saw today an advertisement for the Monumental Paradise Hotel: A very delighted accomodation in Freak Street, where the glory of those days revive you must experience once".

When I take out my overseas health insurance policy, I have to pay extra for certain countries, with Nepal, India and Indonesia in that catagory. I also had to pay extra for doing "hazardous" activities such as riding on a motocycle. I got a ride with Laxme on his bike out to Kalankistan this afternoon. He's an excellent motorcyclist, but the traffic is pure chaos. I don't think that the underwriters would insure anyone on the streets of Kathmandu if they experienced it firsthand.

I'm buying more clothes this year than I have in the past. I spent the afternoon picking out overdyed sand washed embroidered tee shirts. Granted that I don't get out much, but I don't think I've seen anything like these for sale in the States.

I've got an appointment with Umesh at Trance Trip tomorrow. I've been looking for light weight jackets, I'd seen some that were good, but not perfect - fit wasn't right, or fabric wasn't right, then I saw these - they are perfect - good price, colors, hang, fit, flattering and comfy and different.

Chonden gave me his SIM chip today for my Indonesian cell phone. I might not have lights, heat, or hot water, but I've got air time, baby!