the week I saw mountains

I know this must seem like a very strange title considering I’m living in the middle of the Himalayas and theoretically, I should see mountains every day.

Well, for the first 7 weeks I was here, I didn’t see a single mountain peak.  The clouds and pollution in Kathmandu make it so that most of the year you can’t see any of the mountains from the valley and you forget that they are actually there!  Usually, once the monsoon rains are over, starting about the beginning of October you can see mountains from the valley and it lasts for a few months, until the dry winter months start kicking up more dust and then they disappear again.  This year, it was already the middle of October and there still wasn’t a clear enough day.

A friend of mine came to visit me for the last week and a half of October and for part of the trip we were going to Pokhara.  Pokhara is about a 7 hour drive west of Kathmandu (though actual distance wise, it should only be about 4 hours).  I knew for sure that we’d see mountain peaks there, because it’s much cleaner there and of course google images wouldn’t lie to me!

On October 21st, we got up early and boarded our tourist bus and were on our way.  As we wound through Kathmandu we made a couple of stops to pick up more passengers.  At one of the stops at the center of the city, I looked out the window and started freaking out: “OMG, mountains!  I see mountains!  OMG, can you see them?  MOUNTAINS!”

Of course my friend, looked at me strangely and said “well yes, they are right there, I see them.”  I then had to go into the explanation of how even though I had lived here for 7 weeks, this was my first viewing of them and that because I almost forget they are there, it was extremely exciting to actually see them.  I also then commented on the irony of the fact that the first day I see mountains in the Kathmandu Valley is when I’m leaving to go to Pokhara–where one of my big excitements was that I was going to get to see mountains.

We saw mountains the entire drive there and of course, upon arrival, I found out that google had not lied to me.  There was a beautiful lake with views of mountains around it.  Even more to my excitement, when we went camping that weekend, I had the best view of mountains I’ve ever had in my life.

Now here is some mountain porn for you.  How’s this for artistic inspiration?

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photos (c) Bethany Meuleners

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