Snow Covered Kilimanjaro and Sunny Dar es Salaam

I intended to see the majestic Kilimanjaro. The mountain I heard so much about from friends who had no problem climbing mountains. It was once in my list of mountains to conquer, when the knees, the weight, and the heart are still in their prime.

Anyway, I had a good time at least, watching the brothers when my plane from Nairobi passed over the mountain, exposing its snow-covered top in the early morning of July last year.

At the Nairobi airport watching the sunrise as our plane gets ready to fly to Dar es Salaam and begin my journey

Kibo peak appeared, and I got excited

It feels like Tanzania is just a dream, and Kilimanjaro is an illusion since I visited the country six months ago.

The Kilimanjaro range is seen from the plane
Kibo (the higher peak on the far end) and Mawenzi (the more rugged smaller mountain) brothers

It will take me two days before I can go to where it is located.

Meantime, I enjoyed the warm days on the beach of Dar Es Salaam doing nothing but watch the sea, read, nap, eat, and drink, taking in all the sun I could bear.

Azure Boutique Hotel was a haven. A welcome respite from the heat of Arua in the north of Uganda, west of the Nile river.

The pool outside room 113
More huts
The gazeebo
The beach
The hallway lights – seashells by the ceiling
View from the terrace
View from the terrace slash restaurant
Walkway to the beach from my room

Even the crab fascinates me.

After a good rest, good food and a good night’s sleep. I was excited to plan my next destination and see more of Tanzania.

An Afternoon in Lalitpur (Patan Durbar Square), Kathmandu Valley, Nepal

What better way to spend a good day is to spend it walking around one of the oldest city in the Kathmandu valley – Lalitpur. With my colleagues, we enjoyed visiting the temples where we are allowed. Seeing the destructions made us sad but seeing people continuing with their faith practice and life made us hopeful.

Like the Monkey Temples, you will see rubles everywhere, but the temple and the marketplace are alive with people. It still attracts tourist both local and foreign still admiring the structures that are left standing.

Starting at the Golden Temple

(Dhidhak Collection / Nepal 2015)
Admiring the intricate carvings at the back door to the Golden Temple (Dhidhak Collection / Nepal 2015)

(Dhidhak Collection / Nepal 2015)
Courtyard within the Golden Temple (Dhidhak Collection / Nepal 2015)

(Dhidhak Collection / Nepal 2015)
Looking up towards the heavens … admiring the tiers of the temple roof and the small altar at the courtyard (Dhidhak Collection / Nepal 2015)

(Dhidhak Collection / Nepal 2015)
The altar in the middle of the courtyard (Dhidhak Collection / Nepal 2015)

(Dhidhak Collection / Nepal 2015)
Not sure exactly what this is … I thought this is a well (Dhidhak Collection / Nepal 2015)

(Dhidhak Collection / Nepal 2015)
Courtyard within the Golden Temple (Dhidhak Collection / Nepal 2015)

(Dhidhak Collection / Nepal 2015)
Entrance to the Golden Temple (Dhidhak Collection / Nepal 2015)


Life continues despite the danger of building collapse. You will see people continue to stay in their homes. Buildings propped by wooden beams and vendors with their wares.

The streets and marketplace around the Durbar Square


Pathan (43)
Streets around Durbar Square (Dhidhak Collections / Nepal 2015)


Pathan (44)
Old and damaged buildings propped by wooden poles to keep it from collapsing (Dhidhak Collection / Nepal 2015)

(Dhidhak Collection / Nepal 2015)
Girl looking out the window of her home (Dhidhak Collection / Nepal 2015)

Pathan (89)
Marketplace around the square (Dhidhak Collection / Nepal 2015)

(Dhidhak Collection / Nepal 2015)
Typical Nepalese sleepers on display (Dhidhak Collection / Nepal 2015)

Pathan (95)
Assorted nuts vendor waiting for customers (Dhidhak Collection / Nepal 2015)

(Dhidhak Collection / Nepal 2015)
Women and girls walking along the streets around the square (Dhidhak Collection / Nepal 2015)

The Durbar Square

Pathan (48)
Trailokya Mohan Narayan Temple was not completely damaged during the quake. Wooden beams were used to prevent collapse. (Dhidhak Collection / Nepal 2015)

(Dhidhak Collection / Nepal 2015)
Indrapur Temple in Durbar Square where people are taking rest after their prayers (Dhidhak Collection / Nepal 2015)

(Dhidhak Collection / Nepal 2015)
One of the deities watching over the square (Dhidhak Collection / Nepal 2015)

(Dhidhak Collections / Nepal 2015)
Pigeons nesting in the spaces in the temple (Dhidhak Collections / Nepal 2015)


Pathan (71)
View of the square from the top (Dhidhak Collections / Nepal 2015)

(Dhidhak Collections / Nepal 2015)
View of the square from the top (Dhidhak Collections / Nepal 2015)

Pathan (82)
View from the roof (Dhidhak Collections / Nepal 2015)

Pathan (85)
One of the entrances to the square (Dhidhak Collections / Nepal 2015)

Daily Prompt: Skewed

The First Temple I Visited When I Was In Nepal

Who would have thought that when I accepted the job in Nepal to support my organization respond the destructions brought by the earthquake in 2015 it would also pave the way for me to visit holy site after holy site … I started a pilgrim without me knowing.

I was happy to meet Nepalese returning from their work abroad, like our driver and many new physical therapists to help in rebuilding Nepal. They are willing to leave their high paying job because they know that their family and country needs them. It is good for us as outsiders to work with them knowing that their intentions are the same as us … to help and support the nation building.

The Monkey Temple

Found the middle of the busy streets of Kathmandu, the Monkey Temple was named because of the abundance of monkey around the hills that joins the pilgrims as they climbed the stairs to venerate their gods.

Buddha welcomes you to the temple … start your ascent!

In Hindi, it is the Swayambhunath Stupa and temple complex. It is on a hill that can be seen from far if you know where to look. Hindu worship animals and as you already know the “cow” is a “holy cow” to them.

The view from the top of the hill … overlooking one part of the densely populated city of Kathmandu in the late afternoon as the smog rises up covering the sky


When you see them in the middle of the streets, you drive around it, or you completely stall the traffic until it moves out of the way, you cannot shoo them away, or you will have the evil eye upon you!

Reading up on Swayambhunat made me feel sad when I saw the destruction around the complex brought on by the devastating 7.2 and 6.8 earthquakes within one month apart in April and May 2015. Most of the buildings, statues, and murals that toppled to the grounds can be said to be over 100 years, and in that jolt, they fell like Lego bricks and nothing could have prevented it.

Fallen bell

One of the altar with the Buddha eye in the center

Prayer bells … you can see the shine caused by the hands of those passing and pray

It is wonderful to see that the spirits of the people didn’t falter, they come in droves and continue life after the destructive earthquake. With the contributions from all over the world – the pilgrims and the devotees had made constructions and reinforcements of the structures possible. The community was able to start rebuilding early.

The photos are some of the devastations I saw when I visited the temple during one of our weekend breaks. There was less and less aftershock by that time, and there are more and more people allowed to visit and worship again in the temple.

The peace it brings to the pilgrims amidst the rubbles

More climbing required … the price is at the top of the stairs

The stairs … along the way you will be welcomed by HIndu gods to guide your way, to the enlightenment

Constructions commence. The community reinforced the structure to prevent further collapse

One of the last standing column/stupa that’s reinforced for safety and reconstruction

One of the stupa that didn’t make it … it was reduced to a stub

The temple complex with the round bell for everyone to turn as they pass by praying

One monkey contemplates the outcome of the destruction the earthquake brought to his temple

Monkeys are part of the life in the temple

Bells left hanging secured by those huge chains

Rubbles blocking the way to the other side of the complex

Cracks in the wall of an old building that houses monks looking after the temple complex

It all comes down to this … more rubbles

More structure damage … some of them are condemned to be demolished completely

Debris everywhere … the red building is an old library and bookstore

Houses of monks destroyed during the quake

Piles of rubble from buildings that collapsed during the shake

One of the stupas and housing complex for the monks