Monday, 23 April 2012

Coming home

Two days ago I was whizzing through the streets of Kathmandu on the back of a motorbike. And now I'm back in Wiltshire. It takes a while to make sense of such transitions.

Kathmandu - it sounds exotic, doesn't it? It is, in truth, a smog-ridden city - and I love it. The narrow streets are littered with potholes, lined with stalls and tiny shops selling everything from incense to saris to plastic buckets. Dogs sniff in corners. There's the occasional cow. People, taxis, rickshaws, bicycles, even buses - as well as animals - compete for all available space. Horns toot incessantly - as if anyone needs a reminder of the traffic behind them. The air smells of fumes from countless chugging generators (power cuts are endless at this time of year) and passing pongs from the river. Thank goodness for temples and the whiffs of incense. Secrets lurk in every corner.

No temples in my little market town. With its elegant shops selling tailored dresses, its bookshop (books are priced out of the reach of most Nepalis), and respectable supermarket. The busker playing 'Moon River' - easily heard above the drone of traffic. Crossing the road is simple - traffic generally stays on the left. We have the occasional pothole, but nothing that might unseat an unwary cyclist. I do not need to swerve into the road to avoid a cow, nor a stall that spills its wares hopefully all over the pavement. The air is sweetly clean after the rain.

I have jetlag, of course. But the transition is more than just jetlag. It is the struggle to accommodate the reality of both places, to find a way of understand them both without putting them in boxes - Kathmandu is There, and now I am Here. It is a strange misplacement - part of the process of coming home.

I'll get back into my blogging stride soon. Meanwhile - please bear with me. And if anyone has ideas on how to accommodate transitions, I'd love to hear them.


  1. Welcome home, Jo! Accommodating transitions... stay in bed for a week?

  2. Oh Jo, it sounds so different there. I can just imagine how hard it is to adjust. We seem to have so much in this country by comparison... and yet, in many ways, so little. I hope you adjust soon - lovely blog post all the same!

  3. Welcome home, Jo! I usually find that I adapt quite fast to being at home, but it can take a day or two.

  4. Thank you all - Jenny, I think adapting can sometimes be so fast that the trip feels like a dream. That's when I turn to my diaries - and recall all those wonderful details.

    Abi - yes, we have so many 'things' here that are simply unavailable there, some of them essential (like electricity!). But I find the difference (without thinking of one place as better or worse than another) is one of the things that makes travelling so exciting.

    Miriam - Bed for a week sounds really tempting!

  5. Sorry Jo,
    I have no solution as I have exactly the same problem. How do I reconcile living here and loving over there?