Bad news- I can already tell I’m going to be a bad blogger.  Like the title of my blog suggests, it’s important to me to ‘be here now’ and feeling the need to write about my experiences might clash with that.  On the other hand, I want to keep in touch with people, so maybe between those two opposing pulls I’ll just be a decent blogger.

This is where I am right now.. in Vince’s kitchen eating breakfast of chai, toast & fruit. Notice my sweet technology.

Anyways, I’m in Kathmandu!  I arrived less than 24 hours ago and already like this place a lot, which is unusual for me because I usually don’t like huge, densly populated cities.  Getting here was shockingly easy.. 12 or so hours overnight between LAX and Guangzhou, China where I shared a row with possibly the sweetest person in the world.  “Grandma Lucy” had been in the US for a hip replacemet kept passing me my favorite lychee candy and insisted I sprawl out over the empty middle seat to sleep.  

I don’t know how long I traveled for.. maybe 20 hours and it was shockingly easy.. no hanger, jet lag, screaming babies.  And now I’m in Nepal!  I have a lot of unformed thoughts and a lot to learn about the history, geography, culture and language.  I’m ridiculously lucky to get to be hosted by my friend from California, Vince, who teaches high school anthropology at an international school, and his roommate Gabe who’s working on a Fullbright/UN research project on HIV risk behaviors in the city.  Both of them speak Nepali and are amazing tour guides.. not just the touristy things but even this early on the trip I’ve gotten to be exposed to a more intimate and authentic side of local life than I’d have seen just staying in Tamel, the backpacker district.  
I have a lot of unformed thoughts and my mind is too open to have many observations or opinions yet. The stereotype of Nepalis being friendly is definitely true.  And the food is great so far.
Not the greatest photo but this stupa and courtyard are a 5 minute walk from Vince’s place.
This is Kathmandu in a nutshell- sacred sites next to smoggy traffic.
I’m headed out for the day to visit the temple complex Pashupatinath where Hindus cremate bodies next to the sacred (and polluted) Bagmati River.  Then it’s big Sherpa style dinner in town.  On Wednesday the three of us head out for what will be an incredible trek in Manaslu, and from there I’ll head to Annapurna and Pokra.  Not that those names should mean anything.. they’re just names right now to me too.  I’ll be largely off the grid for the next month or so (sorry Mom!) Thanks so much for reading this.