Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Escape from Manju ka Tilla
Once again I sit down in the square in the front of the the two small temples , thinking this is .. well , not great , but it works. Then I put my hands on my knees , and afterwards the pants are not wet , but soaked. Time to get out of the monsoon.
On the night train to Kalka (camera bag under my head, backpack under my knees ) I pick up Kim Robinson's Escape from Kathmandu , a minor guesthouse libarary classic.
A standard theme in boks from Nepal and Tibet is time travel : moving in to another age on a commercial flight. The time travel picks up another dimension when the now in the book also represents another age.
It starts with a ... letter. Gather around my feet little ones , and I'll tell you of a fara away time when we sent pieces of paper to each other. I was there , and I also was in Nepal just before the book was written : a time of innocence when you could point the finger and laugh at the theatrical aspects of the royal power , before the long dirty war between the government and the Maoists.Timewarp has moved Nepal ahead of my home in some respects : there is a lot more software produced in Kathmandu than in Stockholm , and Nepal today has stripped the king of ceremonial powers beyond our constitution : our king can't be brought to court.
At the same time the life along the trail has not changed much since early eighties, and many of Robinson's one-liners survive well , like the one about flying with (formerly Roayal Nepal) Airlines : In Nepal , clouds have rocks in them. It is written at the breaking point of our innocence , at the time when you start to to wonder of the life banana pancake baker , and step in to the kitchen.
This sounds really serious , which is far from the truth . It's a grea romp ,with a supporting cast to match : Jimmy Carter (former american president) , Tsongkhapa ( founder of Gelugpa school of Buddhism ) , pot-smoking Secret Service-men , Ang Rita ( twelwe time successfull climber of Mount Everest) . And of course a Yeti named Buddha ..
Nice walk with Sally from Oz in the morning , playing guide , and a nice dinner in the White House with Jamyang , Tsering and little Tenzing , who treated me with a first review of the new Milarepa film. Will pick up a copy in Manju before leaving , hopefully also Angry Monk , the film about Gedun Chopel.