Wednesday, May 27, 2015

This was then...this is now


 
"Life is getting back to normal", " we will rebuild stronger and better", this is the words we tell each other, this is the words we say to keep going. But life will never be the same again, everything is changed, and we need to face and accept the fact. Normal? What was normal life in Nepal? If some new comers to Nepal come and discover the country on top of the world, those aware of the local situation know that the problems here are nothing new. If many people are still in need of urgent help, the actual re-building will take many years. So for those that feel that time is running out, stop worrying, worry does not help anything. There is plenty of time, same same but diferent as they say here. The shelter and the food situation is just the visible part, the questions are much much deeper than mere food and shelter, even if food and shelter is always the basic start, it is just a start. The people that are in most dificult situation now are the same that had the hardest life yesterday. "Aphno manche" the nepale moto of working only with one's own group is put on trial by the current events...

Friday, May 22, 2015

A month after...

 
3 weeks later, and it's almost a month since the shake. Every day we say "slowly life is getting back to normal"... normal, whatever that used to mean. But nothing is the same, everything is changed. Here, nothing will ever be the same again. No one knows what tomorrow will be, because today is simply enough to deal with. Keep the mind cool, outside it's hot, sticky hot. moonssoon is coming soon, the skin is sticky...

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Friday, May 08, 2015

Sankhu: siddhas and nagas


Steps to the temple...
 
Sankhu, 1 hour bus ride from Kathmandu. After the patatoe production of the area, a chai in the old town, we climb up the hill to arrive at the temple. The pagodas welcome us, looking at us from their ancient and silent eyes. The carved wood, the metal work, the fountain, all reminds us of a far away past when the siddhas used to come meditate in the near by caves. The wise ones used to come here, such as Nagarjuna, considered to be one of the greatest buddhist philosophers after the Buddha Gautama and the Great Padmasambhava, the Lotus Born, who introduced the tantric tradition to Tibet. Sankhu is filled with ancient legends, kept alive with the temple on top of the hill and the quiet town where nothing has changed for many centuries. From here, the past whispers mysterious mantras to those that can feel them...

Thursday, May 07, 2015

...and life goes on...


 Meanwhile, in Pokhara, Lake side, life goes on as usual, except for a few détails. It's full season and there is very few people. The streets that usually carry plenty of tourists going paragliding are now empty, only a few cars and local buses passing once in a while. The restaurants are almost empty and in the sky, no body is flying. The trekking shops have no treekers around. In the next 2 weeks, the few tourists that stayed will soon leave. Few will come in. A new grafiti appeared on the wall and the days pass to the sounds of the speakers and the frogs. This year, it's going to be a very quiet season on this side of the lake...

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

What next?



"For how long can people give kilos of foods? I gave what I could, now I need to work and money to keep going" says my nepale friend as we talk about the current situation. They all know it will be a rough year for everyone here, the futur looks uncertain, even more than usual. This is the real question, how long will volunteers show full support, how long can people donate? For now, the kilos of supplies keep packing up direction the mountains. For now the kilos of food, tents, blankets, medical supplies keep on coming, but for how long is a question to ask. For now, it's wonderful to see all get together and help as best they can. But once the tons of supplies are distributed and once the donations slow down, the work will keep going on for a long time after. For those that know Nepal, we know the difficulties of the country, and they are deeply rooted in the political and religious system of the country. If the maoiste revolution threw out the last Hindu King (from muslam family, but shhhtttt, it's a secret;), since the revolution which was 10 years of civil war, the new governement did absolutely nothing of what it promessed during the revolution. Does this story sound familiar? Seems history has a tendency to repeat itself...same same...but diferent this time...

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Nepal tattoo

 
Rise Nepal.
 

On the 25th of April, I took the bus from Pokhara to Kathmandu for the 5th Nepal International Tattoo convention. Since the first one, I only missed one convention. In the tattoo world since a couple decades, I am not a convention type person. I only went to the Paris Mondial du tatouage a couple years ago, and to the Kathmandu conventions. I'd rather be in the privacy of the shops.
I remember the first one years ago. Thanks to Mohan Gurung's team, it was a week and more of nepale artist meeting each other for the first time. As tattoo is ancient tradition in Nepal, the modern tattoo world is just discovering it. Each year the convention becomes a meeting of old time freaks, long time travelers and of course plenty of tattoo artists. They meet in the Yak and Yeti hotel, a superb 5 star hotel on King's Road, filled with old photos of Once upon a time in Nepal. If the convention is filled with many buddhas, shivas, ganesh and other popular god figures, the modern touch shows it's way. People like Alchemink and Kenji Alucky with Black Ink Power represent amongst others the modern and ancient tattoo scene mixed together in the best of ways. The london based KaliTattoo studio has been present every year, with the scarcification and silicones implants. Many names pass through every year, and it is always a time to meet new friends and to enjoy some time with those that came from far to visit for the occasion. April is freak time in the city of a 1000 gods, Kathmandu, and this year sure was a special one...

Swoyambuh and mutu

Buddha eyes

 Swoyambhu: the Self made land.
According the legends here, the Kathmandu valley has already seen a few civilizations come and go. We would be on the 3rd one, some scriptures say. Each time, Manjushree, a god form being all of Buddhas wisdoms, takes her large sword and makes a whole through the mountain, letting the water out of the valley. The legends say that Swoyambhu is the first one to rise up from the lake. Geologist find the same result in rocks study. The valley has been Under water a few times already and rises again. Manjushree is the protector of the Kathmandu valley, and one could think it is a form to give to earthquakes that have regularly been shaking the valley 1000's of years. Swoyambhu sits on top of a hill, the damages are very serious. So bad, that a couple days ago, during Buddha's birth, death and enlightment day celebration, the temple was closed to the devotees.

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Durbar Square

 Siva Parvati temple still standing

Kathmandu's heart is broken, with it goes a part of nepale heart. This is what's left standing of Durbar Square, the ancient administrative center of the capital. Once upon a Time, we all sat on the step of temples enjoying a cup of chai, chit-chating with friends. Sitting on the red bricks steps, surrounded by so much history and beauty was simply daily life. How much of this UNESCO heritage will they be able to save? The buildings are cracked, very cracked. Much, way too much, will have to be destroyed in order to be rebuild. Once upon a time...

Saturday, May 02, 2015

Asu nepal

A pagoda
 
It's been a week since the Big Shake. As the fashion media effect is buzzing down on Nepal situation, the people are still there. It will take a long time to rebuild, to heal from this trauma. The political situation will also do it's own growing due to the events, but I'll keep politics away for now, as the immediate need is to organize the help. There are those that need help, and those that give help, but mostly everyone does what they can with what they can. Those that usually do nothing, still do nothing, and those that usually are active are double active. Seems that through life drama, we get to the chore of people...