Serene in Chaos

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(Baktupur in Kathmandu)

I’d love to write quickly and succinctly about Nepal but I’m too tired right now. I’m sat at Dubai airport waiting for my connection. Tonight I have to attend the graduation ceremony in Doha for some of my teachers, a group I’ve become fond of for their earnest work, humour and the snacks they bring in to fatten me up for my mother!

My inertia is not simply linked to it being 6am but the confusion of colours, smells and sights clouding my mind, all jostling for position. Nepal is a helluva place. Chaotic and serene. Dirty and wondrously clear. Kathmandu is a shambles and ugly and yet it’s also charming in its own way. Life bursts from the cracks, potholes, alongside the narrow streets and on the non-existent pavements.

The city smells. Pollution loiters with intent. There is no good road in Kathmandu but as this video show, it really doesn’t make you want to leave. Unlike in Doha or Dubai (to a lesser degree), life is lived on the streets. People walk, talk, argue and laugh on the pavements, in the parks and at cafe tables. My teachers have expressed similar reservations of Doha. They mostly hail from Egypt and their endeavour and focus on this project made me proud to know them. In often poor educational systems and with Qatari students not renown for their dedication to hard work, their enthusiasm for their profession is admirable.

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(flying out of Dubai)

 

So as I am clearly wavering between one blog and another but both intrinsically linked to learning, and as the sun rises, I’ll spend my last lucid words on the people surrounding me right now. Dubai airport is an accurate picture of this part of the Middle East. We have Pashtuns and Hazaras sitting waiting for a connection but never together. Immaculately dressed Gulf Arabs pulling suitcases. Professional women in suits drinking coffees and staring at their phones. Men from east and west staring at their laptops. Foreigners tourists in their best casuals waiting for their connection, western engineers in all-weather pants and tens of sub-continent men sitting as closely together as they’ll work and live in the next year in the construction sites of the Middle East. The exact make-up depends on which flights are still awaited but the salad bowl never ends.

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(bookshop in Kathmandu)

I have two weeks of planning two projects which will take up the next 3 months before the summer arrives and I’ll return to Europe for some festivals. In the meantime its exercise, some study and some books to be read. Let’s see how far I can get.

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