Once I was back home, I spent days and long hours in the thick of madly writing out detailed descriptions of the places I’d just been before they vanished from my memory. Through this process, I couldn’t help but keep wanting to “go back to that place” for just a split second to see if my memory of the ambiance was the same as reality. Time does strange things to memories. And the idea of teleporting (just for a second, please, please!) entered my mind on several occasions. I knew when I was leaving Nepal, that in a perfect world, I’d spend a month in a tea house in Kathmandu writing everything out while still in the culture. That would have maximized being able to access the feelings, sounds, experiences of places as I was describing them. It felt very unfinished to be leaving without a moment to do that, knowing I’d have to do it back home.
The best I could do was talk to my friends back in Kathmandu about the places I’d been, to hear it from them, and double check my memories through their lenses.
One such memory was of the bathroom of a beautiful restaurant we went to as our “welcome dinner” the night we arrived in Kathmandu. In the book I name it, describe it and then rest on the description of the bathroom. So in checking my memory, I’d forgotten to take a photo of this memorable bathroom. I remember being completely taken with the entire restaurant, the food, the conversation, the sounds of the city, but I was, for some reason, enamored with the beautiful bathroom. The hand-detailed tiles were more stunning than all of the rest of the restaurant, in my opinion. So once I was back in the US, I asked one of the ladies on the trek to go to the restaurant and take a photo of the bathroom for me. And she did.
“It is a pretty bathroom, right, it’s not like all the others??”
“Yes it’s pretty nice, yes, I’ll take photo for you, didi.” (I imagine her rolling her eyes at me)
Of course she politely excluded the portion of the bathroom that I was looking for, but the photo served its purpose and besides refreshing and confirming my memory, it served to remind me of yet another, unrelated memory of Nepal. She sent it to me in September. Check the date on her photo for a hint.