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With just days until Queenstown Lakes District Council infrastructure services general manager Martin O'Malley takes on the Everest Marathon, raising money and awareness for Jigsaw Central Lakes and the It's Not OK campaign, the Queenstown Times shares one of his recent updates from Nepal - where he managed to locate the local "treatment plant".
Hi all, or "namaste" as they say here, which literally means "I greet the divine in you", but is used as hello generally.
I promised last time that I'd give an update on Kathmandu, so I will do my best to objectively describe the place, but I'm sure you'll gather it's not on my top 100 cities in the world list.
That said, it has its own unique identity and charm.
When I first got there at night it was late enough and Nepal is very much a country of early to bed, get up once the sun is about, which suits fine as there is not a lot to do.
The city itself is pretty big, but I have not seen much of it, other than the usual tourist trap of Thamel and the square with the temples.
Attached is an attempted picture from a scenic overlook but, alas, owing to the smog and haze, you cannot see too much.
The buildings are very close together, with narrow streets and mainly constructed of red brick on reinforced concrete beams and columns.
Roofing is usually corrugated metal, painted in various colours.
There is nothing architecturally attractive about the place in my opinion, but I'm sure others feel differently.
I'm currently reading a book that was written about Kathmandu and it raves about the architecture.
But presumably then the reinforced concrete and brick buildings were not as plentiful as they are now.
The pagodas and temples are impressive, no doubt there, with some beautiful carvings on wood as part of the structures.
The second picture attached is taken in the area where the most notable structures are.
The third photo I just liked - I guess you can have tourist monks!
The streets are very narrow and people, cyclists, cars, motorbikes and cows all jostle for space to get along. The incessant beeping of horns tends to wear the nerves a bit at the start, but you gradually tune out, which sort of defeats the purpose of all the beeping in the first place.
One really great thing is that the street vendors are not as pushy or threatening as in some places I've seen - one or two no's generally gets the message across.
As you know, wastewater is my thing, but I won't dwell on the city's sewage treatment.
Safe to say that I followed the roads and stumbled upon the "treatment plant" at the lowest part of the city.
Amazingly, the solid waste handling occurs at the same facility, which I believe ultimately ends up in the Ganges River.
Look at the left bank about one-third of the way along and you can also see the pig-fattening facility.
I've read that things are much improved these days - apparently in previous years this also served as the funeral parlour.
What I've read says that when a man died, he was put on a raft of wood, which was set alight after the requisite ceremony and then pushed into the current to take his remains onward to the great gathering place in the sky (hopefully dodging the pigs on the way).
Before the 1950s, if the deceased man happened to have a wife at the time, she was thrown, still alive, on to the burning raft to keep him company into the next space.
No women's lib there.
Overall, I have enjoyed my time in Kathmandu, but as I say, it wouldn't feature in my must-do list.