I totally lost my heart to Nepal and the Tibetan community in Boudha.
I was in town to do two readings at an international writers' festival that actually was cancelled, but since a lot of us had received grant money to attend, ten of us showed up, anyway, including Vikum Seth from India, slam poet Sarah Kay from New York, and my Danish colleague Sally Altschuler.
The brilliant director of the Literary Jatra, Suvani Singh quickly arranged a lot of events for us, and to my surprise they were all well attended. Sarah Kay kicked some serious ass in Thalem, Vikum Seth disappeared from the face of the earth, and I presented The Tsar's Dwarf and my take on writing historical novels for a large group of wonderful writers, poets, and journalists at ICER college. And I read at the Storytellers' Union along with Sally Altschuler and five local storytellers.
When I wasn't working I walked around Boudha outside Kathmandu in awe, getting up at dawn to circle around one of the world's biggest stupas in the company of Tibetan monks. I loved it and was incredibly moved by the whole experience.
In Boudha I stayed at the Tibet International hotel only 300 meters from the stupa and would recommend it to anyone.
The people working there were absolutely wonderful. After a few days, I'd almost fallen in love with three receptionists and with the roof terrace where there was a great view of the stupa and the snowcapped Himalayas.
Well, pictures speak louder than words (as a novelist, I hate that saying) but here are a few photos from my great week in Nepal and Boudha.
Kathmandu is a ride. But leave your lungs at home. They won't like the place half as much as you will.
And the Nepalese are an adorable people. Please invite me again, won't you?