Day of Clay and Play in Kathmandu Nepal 

****~CLICK HERE to SKIP to MINI MOVIE~****


Spiritual awakenings are expected on visits to Nepal. (Have you had one? I’d love to hear about it). I think most of us imagine these bright moments of contentment, clarity and oneness to occur as they have for many others before, on beautiful mountaintops with endless vistas of peaks and fluttering prayer flags. Standing before the face of God. 

Mine was on the back of a motorcycle in heavy traffic. On the way to a kids’ camp, an invite from a new friend and local potter, my heart nearly exploded as I listened to him share his most sincere and lovely thoughts on the true meanings of life and purpose. 

Hope you enjoy my mini movie ~CLICK HERE~from that day. In the beginning you’ll ride with me down narrow streets and alleys of Bhaktapur, through its majestic gate and then on to Kathmandu. I took out the main highway and the traffic jams we endured but I do show a bit of winding around through a more affluent neighborhood on the outskirts of town, getting lost a little and needing directions. 
The rest of the film gives an inside look at a private winter break camp enjoyed by some of the wealthier kids here. It was a bit like going through the looking glass. My friend’s role in this is to share his love of mud and pottery with the children. Ceramics is a very significant part of their heritage and culture. 


I had a fantastic time and may go on another outing with him to donate art supplies to a school that can really use them.
Here’s a little more about him and his story:
Seventeen years ago, my friend, Srijan Prajapati’s father and provider was in a terrible accident at the age of 35 and lost his ability to walk and work. 
This brought great challenges to the family but they managed to survive and continue the family pottery business of several generations. 
Opportunities in Nepal can be hard to come by but Srijan was fortunate enough to receive a scholarship and spend six months in China to learn Mandarin Chinese, a very useful language here in Nepal for both business and tourism. China is a neighboring country with considerable wealth. 
Many of his peers were seeking higher-paying jobs and opportunities abroad but he realized the best option for him and his family was to stay home and bloom where he was planted. 
Over the years his love of pottery and mud has continued to grow and he and his brother have very ambitiously met the challenges. 
They’ve done their own rebuilding post earthquake and have taught themselves many skills useful in creating a very appealing and successful shop.  
Genuinely warm and friendly people when they welcome you in to not only see their wares but also to try your hand at making one, you can tell that they share in your delight. 
I was caught very much by surprise when Srijan invited me to join him on this adventure as we had just met but he told me later that when he mentioned in conversation that he would be going, he saw the light flash in my eyes and he knew that I would love it. 
It’s that kind of open heartedness that I love discovering. This day of clay and play with kids in Kathmandu was a really special one for me. A peak memory. 

****~CLICK HERE to SEE MINI MOVIE~****


setting: Pottery Square Bhaktapur Nepal, Bhaktapur ride through town, Kathmandu Neighborhood, Pragya Kunja School Winter Break Camp 

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We slipped through a portal to the past in the magical New Orleans French Quarter

We were stumbling along on a stifling hot steamy day in the heart of the historic French Quarter in New Orleans. Despite the miserable conditions, the magical old place had us held tight in its grip and we just couldn’t get enough.

On this particular day, we were exploring near the corner of Conti (pronounced by locals Kontī) and Chartres when we discovered a little courtyard style alley. It was a shady brick space with shops and SHADE!

We meandered up a little ways and found some inviting open French doors on our right. There were two gentleman in a workshop that looked as if it were teleported from many years ago. They were crafting copper gas lanterns using some more traditional looking simple tool methods and some modern conveniences like a power drill.

a portal to the past

a portal to the past in the form of some french doors off a passageway in historic New Orleans

simple tool

simple tool

simple beauty

simple beauty

craftsman 2 bending the petals

craftsman 2 bending the petals

craftsman 1 drilling the frames

craftsman 1 drilling the frames

not finished yet but already beautiful It was so much fun to watch. The room could accommodate quite an audience but we were the only two there. When we’d seen enough, we walked deeper into the building and discovered their galleries displaying all of the various styles available. So very beautiful.

like a museum

like a museum

bevolo gas and electric lightsThis is a great free cultural activity with a real French Quarter flair.

 In my opinion, it’s likely to please most any age and makes a great travel tip for anyone coming to visit beautiful New Orleans where Southern Hospitality is alive and well.  

Ask the locals where to go

I learned many years ago that when traveling, the most sure fire way to find the best adventures is to talk to locals.

We’ve been here on the coast of Oregon now, working a short-term gig at the Lincoln City KOA, for about a month and a half. We have not seen as much as I thought that we would have. As it turns out, working 30 hours a week at the campground leaves me feeling like using my time off to just relax more than to seek adventure.

But yesterday, I did feel the urge to explore and decided to take the advice of several area locals that I’ve spoken to. They recommended that we take a hike to see Drift Creek Falls. After about the fourth mention of this, I knew it would be worth the bit of effort it took to find it.

As is often the case, natural wonders in our national forests are in areas that are completely off the grid meaning our smart phone’s GPS positioning didn’t even work out there.

It’s times like these when it pays off to be patient and listen closely and ask plenty of questions. Locals will often be very familiar with how to get somewhere so much so that they don’t necessarily remember details like street names.

It took a little bit of doing and a couple of wrong turns but we did eventually find the beautiful heavily forested road that led up to our adventure.

The road is paved, a bit bumpy and narrow. It’s not terribly steep but does go up and occasionally offers a glimpse out to the ocean.

We meandered our way through magical woodland scenes with soaring trees, shaggy green moss, and lush fern beds until abruptly we were at a parking lot with several cars gathered pretty much out in the middle of nowhere.

Summer weather here is amazing, actually just about perfect with moderate temperatures and sunny skies nearly every day.

From what I’m told, the other seasons have considerable rainfall and the wind really likes to blow but it doesn’t get much snow.

The hike to drift Creek Falls is fairly short (1-1.5 mi) and just hilly enough to get you breathing a bit. It winds through the forest and it’s easy to imagine that you could stumble upon a family of elves or leprechauns. As in many areas where we’ve been along the West Coast, the tree stumps are often gargantuan and mind-boggling. You begin to see places where the trail opens up along little rocky . Rather suddenly it opens up to an expansion bridge some 200 feet in the air where you have a nice vista of Drift Creek Falls.

For those who are afraid of heights and unwilling to go out on the bridge, you can see the waterfall before crossing. It’s very sturdy and well supported but quite scary nonetheless.

All waterfalls are beautiful as is this one. I imagine it’s significantly more spectacular other times of the year when there’s greater water flow. You can hike on an additional half mile down to the base of the falls. Which of course we did. If you come to the Central Oregon coast, you will certainly enjoy the dramatic coastline itself but don’t miss a side trip like this up into the surrounding forest. Logging is still the primary industry around here and you’ll see why. Definitely a worthwhile adventure.

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The Creation Station strikes again

When I take a job, I’ve always enjoyed going the extra mile. Here at the KOA when I saw that the primary bulletin board had gotten rather tired, I asked permission to redo it on my off time. The previous focus had been tidbits about many different area attractions but always being marketing minded I saw other opportunity. (Plus that need is already being met with many handouts in the lobby area ) This bulletin board is located right between the men’s and women’s bathrooms. I asked the owners what additional business would they like to attract and they said off-season especially in the fall and spring. I did some research visiting the local Visitors Bureau and speaking to someone from the local Chamber of Commerce and discovered this very innovative promotion that Lincoln City has called “Finders Keepers”. I made that the primary message of the bulletin board and then used novelty and 3-D effects to draw additional attention. The bulletin board encourages current visitors to make reservations for a return trip later on. It was a lot of fun. Everything I used came out of my “Creation Station, our little pull a long trailer. The crabshell is one of several that have been in my art supplies since the late 90s when I picked them up on the beach in Maine. The orange kite was made from a bit of fabric that was a scrap from circus costumes that my girlfriend Heidi Herriott gave me a few years ago. I painted on the back of round glass craft pieces to simulate the floating glass orbs that they hide on the beach here. The owners haven’t seen it yet but I hope that they are happy with it.
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