Is It Lakeside Drive or ...???
What’s happening where you are?
All is still quiet in Pokhara. Here’s a bit of first impression from a couple of months ago when I first arrived. Evening restrictions had already required owners to close restaurants and bars by 8 p.m., but the actual lock down was not to begin for another few days. This most recent lock down has taken yet another bite out of the Nepali people but they remain pleasant, perseverant, and hopeful. These folks have a great faith in life. That faith gives them a great resilience. Wherever you are, whatever you are going through, I hope you also remain resilient and happy. Thanks very much for reading, and for clicking the backlinks. Stay well. Love, Tenzin ***p.s. As always, if you find these weekly bits bothersome, let me know and I’ll stop sending them to you. If you find the reading at all enjoyable, please—it literally takes only seconds—click one or more or all of the highlighted backlinks following this paragraph. This simple process is completely without risk, cost, or difficulty. All it does is bring you to the site that is highlighted. Each click is a big help in pushing Fearless Puppy up in the Google rankings. Whether you browse the sites or close the windows immediately, your help has been delivered when you click. Thank you! FEARLESS PUPPY WEBSITE BLOG FEARLESS PUPPY ON AMERICAN ROAD/AMAZON PAGE REINCARNATION THROUGH COMMON SENSE/AMAZON PAGE FEARLESS WEBSITE Is it Lakeside Drive? A preview of rainy season has arrived in Nepal at the same time I arrive in Pokhara. It is an abrupt several day break in the dry season. People are wet and happy. The air is clear and easier to breathe. Forest fires are diminishing. When monsoon season fully arrives, the rains will visit daily for months on end. Some days will see hours of light showers. On other days there will be near-solid sheets of water falling out of the sky that block all visibility. These heavier rains are often accompanied by high winds, booming thunder, and lightning that appears massive enough to shatter the Earth. There will be all-day soakers now and then. More often, the days will be cloudy and end with a massive downpour during late afternoon. That cloudburst may last for a half hour, or until the following morning. In spite of waking up at 5, 6, or 7 a.m., by the time I finish morning routines it is at least noon. Today I am out of the door on Seventh Street at about 12:30 p.m. and looking for breakfast on Lakeside. I have no idea if it is Lakeside Drive or Avenue or Street or Road. Everyone just calls it “Lakeside” although it runs two blocks away from the actual lake. By 1 p.m. I am having breakfast on the second floor deck of the Moondance restaurant near Thirteenth Street. Laughter coming from the upper deck of a restaurant is almost always a sign that they have good eggs. I hear the laughter while walking past, then back track to the front door. As it turns out, the laughter is a sign that they have good wine. Four Nepali friends are up here finishing off what I have to guess is not their first bottle of wine. I get a contact high from their party while sitting at the next table. These folks are laughing as if it is New Year's Eve at midnight! The three women and one man, all in their mid-twenties, are having such fun that my breakfast tastes better in their company. Our conversation is very limited. I look at them, laugh, and say “Hello.” One of the women smiles and laughs back to me, saying “We friends gathering!” The gathered friends go on drinking, laughing, and talking to each other in Nepali. After breakfast, me and my umbrella head further down Lakeside in a consistent light rain. The street continues for another full mile. It is predictably lined with high and low end craft shops, art galleries, souvenir shops, cafés, bars, T-shirt emporiums, tour vendors, and restaurants. This street resembles most lake or seacoast waterfront areas that cater to tourist traffic—but there has been almost no tourist traffic for well over a year. Occasional side streets branch off of Lakeside and run the two blocks north to the walking path promenade that is actually right on the lake’s shore. The south side streets that branch off of the main drag run into the main part of Pokhara city. Perhaps one out of every five businesses are closed on Lakeside. A staggering fifty percent of businesses are closed on the side streets running down to the lake. The appearance of Corona virus has resulted in so many disasters. Laborers, small business owners, and other working people have been additionally clusterforked by planet-wide panic among citizens and governments alike. They suffer from social engineering’s brutal economic impact in addition to having to deal with the actual virus. Whether you like to think that all this is totally, or in truth only marginally related to disease and public protection; whether you like to think that the global tragedies are circumstantial or manipulated, there is no debating the results. We can add to the list of somehow-Corona-affiliated/manipulated disasters the fact that the situation is damaging almost every mom-and-pop-shop small family business on Lakeside—and endangering many. I’m guessing there are very similar problems all over the world. Of all the businesses on this street, it seems that only banks and pharmacies are doing well. The few corporate chain operations, major high end concerns, and others who can do so without starving simply wait out the storm. But many locals are out there every day, doing what they can to keep their businesses and families alive. Many small shop owners keep their doors open to nearly empty streets, hoping that some stray traveler will buy enough merchandise to fund the family’s daily rice and beans. From the very little that I can hear and understand, it seems that several Nepalis have already been forced to sell or abandon their businesses, which are then bought up by the few rich Nepalis, or the many well-heeled Chinese, Indian, and other transnational interests. If I understand the fractured gossip correctly, and if it is true, then the early stages of gentrification appear to be in full swing here. This process looks way too familiar to an inner city American. Nepalis are very strong, resilient, and mellow people. But I can see the stress on the faces of the merchants. Many are finally starting to realize that, regardless of the course any virus may take, the restructuring of social and economic systems will continue to steer what used to be called “normal life” into a reclassification as “the good old days.” THE LAKESIDE WALKING PATH PROMENADE The Lakeside Walking Path Promenade begins at Thirteenth Street. It runs for about a mile into the North shore section. It is a scenically breathtaking walk that includes among other things: beautiful green hills reflected in the lake, giant snow capped mountains in the distance, and a variety of birds including egrets, crows, and majestic eagles. Under ordinary circumstance there are taverns and restaurants featuring extremely loud music at night, rowboats and paddle boats for rent, a very small amusement park, and a fish hatchery/research center. There are often a few goats and cows on the stone path, enjoying a meal of the assorted jungle vegetation that grows on either side. Dogs sometime join the cows and goats. They don’t eat the vegetation. They just enjoy the company. Some folks say that both the path and road areas by the lakeside are touristy. This is a matter of perspective. If you are looking for wilderness, Pokhara lake area certainly is touristy. But if you are comparing it with Cape Cod, Coney Island, or the so-called “Rivieras” of Europe, Latin America, and so on then Pokhara’s lake side is more of a pleasant small town than a commercialized tourist attraction. There are very few other places in the world as beautiful and friendly as Pokhara, Nepal. Everyone here is optimistically looking forward to better times while gratefully enjoying all the beauty that this time offers. We might as well be optimistic and imagine the better times arriving soon. Pessimists are often more accurate, but optimists live longer. It is possible that a stubborn, realistic optimism may keep us alive long enough to actually see those better times arrive. Meanwhile, there seems no rational choice but to deal with what must be dealt with, party on, love, laugh, and of course help whoever we can with the resources that are available. Many thanks to our wonderful friends at Pema Boutique Hotel for their help and support. ***The books Fearless Puppy On American Road and Reincarnation Through Common Sense by this same author are also available through Amazon or the Fearless Puppy website, where there are sample chapters from those books. Entertaining TV/radio interviews with and newspaper articles about the author are also available there. There is no charge for anything but the complete books! All author profits from book sales will be donated to help sponsor an increase in the number of wisdom professionals on Earth, beginning with but certainly not limited to Buddhist monks and nuns. ***If you missed the Introduction to the new book that will be titled Temple Dog Soldier, or would like to see several chapters of it that are available for free online, go to the Puppy website Blog section. This is a book in progress. You will be reading it as it is being created! Just like you, I don’t know what the next chapter is going to be about until it is written. As the Intro will tell you, this is a totally true story—and probably the only book ever written by and about a corpse journeying completely around the world!