I arrived in Kathmandu on the birthday of the Buddha and the city was alive with celebration. I climbed down from the plane into a heat so perfect every fiber of my skin began to dance. It is a heat that has a sweet, sultry whisper instead of a deafening shout. It is a heat that sings softly with the Himalayan breeze, a heat that is light and not heavy.
The sunlight is powerful and dizzying unchecked, but the shade is still something close to cool. During a long ago conver
"There is always an enormous temptation in all of life to diddle around making itsy-bitsy friends and meals and journeys for itsy-bitsy years on end. I won't have it. The world is wider than that in all directions, more dangerous and bitter, more extravagant and bright." —Annie Dillard
Mount Everest as seen from Drukair2 PLW edit CC BY-SA 2.0 The journey from Guilin was a comedy of errors that lasted for 16 hours. It was fraught with delays, reroutings, and landings repeatedly thwarted by storms. I hadn’t slept except for fitful naps in odd places—bouncing helter-skelter over China, draped across my luggage in the airport at Chengdu. So I was out cold when Air China flight 437 glided across the eastern border of Nepal. I was jolted awake by the turbulence,
I left Yangshuo on an evening like a furnace, dripping with humidity and sweltering with light. I left in a flurry of teary smiles and sweaty hugs, feeling some of my heart stay behind. It lingered in the view from my sixth-storey window, built itself into the walls of the school. It stayed there in my friendship with Phoebe and with Ellie, in Paul's strange sense of humor, in the music of Alison’s laughter, in the sparkle of Jimmy’s eyes.
And as the taxi bounced away into
The heat has come to Yangshuo. It is thick and steaming and heavy, like a blanket whose down was spun from dew. It rains in rushes and hushes, little outbursts of liquid applause rippling through the theater of the sky, thunderhead climax and cloudscape denouement shot through with blinding interludes of sunbeam.
Precipitation or perspiration—I'll be dripping one way or another. Today I choose the rain. I stroll at a leisurely pace, my face turned up to the clouds, welc