I was on the 6:05pm flight out of Hong Kong. With a stop over in Bangladesh(sp?), it took us almost 6 hours.
We arrive in Kathmandu at 10:15pm local time. The Airbus 200 passenger plane from China Air we showed up in towers over the airport. It’s a small, 1 floor, 1 room building, with 7 boths and a smell like a broken down cabin. It’s got the decore of a cheap motel. Bad artwork, yellowish-brown tile floor, desks with wood lining and yellow lenolium counters.
As everyone attempts to get into line for the customs line, the crowed soon realizes that everyone needs to fill out a Visa form, which are not readily available. I walk up to a counter attended by clerk to find this document. As I am 5 feet away, he turns his back and walks off. I look over the counter and see the form I need, without so much as a second thought I grab 2 and proceed back to the desk to fill it out.
With only 4 attendents working, and 9 fellow staff in a supervisory roll, I soon realize the ‘Government’ mentality isn’t restricted to North America. (let’s hope this statement doesn’t get me in trouble)
After we pass through, we go to pick up our bags, and what looks to be a government attendant starts to load them onto a cart for us. He begins to wheel them towards customs/the exit. As we approach the x-Ray machine, the man pushing all of our bags notices my father pulling some American money out of his walet. He mentions something to the customs office in what I am led to believe is Nepali, and they wave us right through without scanning out bags. Good to know cash is king around here.
We get to our Guest House, which seems like the Marriot compared to the last place. We settle in and head to bed.
The following morning we head out on a day trip. The first stop, the most sacred Buddhist crematory in Kathmandu. As we approach, you can smell something isn’t right, litterally. As we walk down a brick sidewalk along a river which is filled with garbage we see something in which you would expect to see on CNN. There are 3 cremation sites, one has just finished being used, the other 2 are minutes away from being ‘fired up’. (sorry for the pun)
As we stand there, 14 causasion tourists and dozens of others, they set ablaze yet another deceased individuals. In the open air, on the side of a river, next to a temple. They burn a body much like they have dozens a day for the last century. It makes me sad just thinking about it.
As we walk over a bride I see a few workers cleaning a previously used site. They sweep the ashes into the river as if it were dust under a rug, and setup for the next body like it was no big deal.
I see the next body. I decide to snap a quick video. While my film is rolling, without any thought as to what is actually taking place, I zoom in a little to get a ‘good shot’. What I got was a short 30second clip of a father, mourning the death if his daughter, crying, weeping, in complete devastation as to what has happen. He cries into his hands, pulling away for a second only to reach into his pocket to pull out some coins and toss them over her body. His family (and probably hers) stands behind him sharing in his grief.
I feel guilty. Guilty for no showing respect to the dead, or the living for that matter. Who am I to film this mans sorrow. I bow my head in shame and walk to join the group.
That is all for now, after writting that out I have a hard time thinking about what else I did today…