Episode 002: Kathmandu, Part 1

Forget Bob Seger. We’re not going to Kathmandu, we’re already here. The gateway to Everest. Unfortunately, Major’s still behind in Bangkok but he’s on his way. Ben and I visit Swayambhunath Stupa, where the Eyes of Buddha watch over us. This is a place I will never forget. Part Buddhist and part Hindu, the temple is an amazing mix of faiths and people. We make friends and get schooled in the art of the sale from an unforgettable Nepali shopkeeper. Quite the fast talker.

Early in the morning, Karma tells us some bad news. The permit to film in Tibet has risen to $6500 per camera–and we have four cameras. Fortunately, you can also spell “permit” like this: B-R-I-B-E.

Kathmandu is amazing. Up in the mountains where I’m going to. If I ever get outta here, that’s what I’m gonna do.

Jon Miller

Total Running Time: 21:48

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Dispatch 4, April 7, 2003: Kathmandu
The sunlight rose gently this morning like the volume of the pigeons living just outside the window of our hotel room. As the suns first rays began to lightly carve away the night in the heart of Kathmandu, I was already awake and just beginning to feel the air of it’s humidity. Sounds of horns, birds, engines, air conditioners all began to creep forward with the light, signaling the presence of the over 1.5 million people who call the Kathmandu Valley home.
My first thoughts were about Major’s extended stay in Bangkok and subsequently his belated arrival this afternoon. It was fun to see his reaction to Kathmandu after Jon and I had already settled in to its many unique characteristics. It is fascinating to explore Kathmandu, even more so with a camera and Major, a four-time Emmy award winner, and Jon, a talented multimedia production virtuoso. We are a team once again and we are learning as much about this region as we can! Today is our first day filming and sight seeing the locations that Karma and I have organized to show the true beauty and culture of Nepal.
We visited the Swayambhu area this morning. This location, aptly nicknamed “The Monkey temple” by 1960’s free-spirited visitors to Nepal, is a historical site over 2500 years old and brimming with the essence of this nation and it’s Buddhist roots. There is a space in this area that as you walk through it you feel somehow lost in time as passages of Tibetan scripture reverberate around you, smoke from burning incense and candles fills your lungs, and your skin rubs alongside a foreign passerby as men kneel to the ground and pray to monks who offer melted wax and dry rice. Hard to imagine? It is even more difficult to express through photography. Some things must remain sacred to those who experience them out of respect to the cultures that request it. This is Nepal, this is where we are, this is why we are here!

Ben Clark

  • First time I was at this place, I had big difficulties walking those stairs to Swayambunath. Then after some months in Kathmandu and some trekking as well, I went back to this place and I was running those stairs like nothing.

  • First time I was at this place, I had big difficulties walking those stairs to Swayambunath. Then after some months in Kathmandu and some trekking as well, I went back to this place and I was running those stairs like nothing.