You would be greeted with great white smiles beaming from light-brown people. Some of them would look a bit Chinese others would look Indian. They would invite you into their shops and offer you a hot glass of milk tea. Then they would ask you if you would like to buy a mask of Hanuman, the monkey king, or a statue of Ganesha, the god with the head of an elephant. Perhaps a shaman's ritual dagger or a Gurkha soldier’s knife would be more to your liking?
Everywhere that you would go you would smell burning incense. Dust, dirt, smoke and exhaust fumes would be swirling around you turning your hair shades of gray and your face black with dirt. Shrines and temples would be all around you, and the ancient homes so ornate with carvings that you could not be certain whether they were dwellings for people or for spirits of a time long past.
No longer able to ride down the narrow rocky streets, you would push your bike past fruit and vegetable vendors, cows, salesmen, and goats, as hundreds of people would crowd around you trying to get past you and your bike. They would be ringing the bells on their own bikes and beeping their car horns very near your ear and then they would pass you. And you might think to yourself, "That car passed me and it was only half an inch from my handle bar!"
When you looked over to your right, you would see that you had almost knocked into a butcher as you were jumping out of the way of the car. Staring vacantly up at you from the butcher’s outdoor table would be a bloody goat’s head. Its body cut into legs and ribs and other sellable quantities. Flies would be buzzing around around it and dogs nearby would be hoping for a scrap to fall off the table and into their mouths. Other goats, in the process of being butchered, would be on the ground in an alley around the corner.
The movement and noise of the people would be constant, like the ebb and flow of the ocean. Behind you, barely audible, a boy would whisper "Hashish? Change money?" You would put your head down, and walk a little faster. Someone else begins to follow you. "Your shoe is broken!" he says. He follows you for blocks while you are still walking at a determined pace. Thinking that you have escaped you turn a corner to find that you are surrounded by open palms... a woman with an infant, a crippled Sadhu on the ground, a child with his drawing for sale.
And you would have to decide, shall I stay and explore this foreign land or shall I get back on my bike and pedal home as fast as I can. And then you would lift your head, and look up above the crowd, and find and opening between the temples. There you would see a golden light illuminating the most enormous white capped mountain range you had ever seen in your life. You would pause to fix the beauty of that moment permanently in your mind. The mystery of what could be waiting for you just around the next corner would compel you stay a little longer.