• Medium Rare Photography, my food photography business, is launching soon!

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    Hi everyone. Just wanted to give an update on my constantly evolving photographical endeavors. I have been researching, website building, and preparing to launch a local business to offer food photography services to restaurants , cookbook publishers, and caterers. I still need a few things (mainly lighting equipment) before I start trying to attract clients. In the meantime, check out the website @ www.mediumrarephotography.com I learned a  ton making this website, and it took many hours, but it is finally presentable.

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  • Photography Prints Now For Sale Worldwide

    Hello Everyone! Just wanted to let you know that I have a selection of astrophotography prints available for sale on etsy.com. I assure you I am not making more than a few dollars on these , as they are quite expensive to have made. Please have a browse, and if you like it consider springing for a one-of-a-kind decoration for your home! 

    https://www.etsy.com/shop/Astralimages?ele=shop_open

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  • Time Lapse Photography At Goat Rock

     Time Lapse photography has always interested me. It is something that takes supreme patience. I always try to bring a book when I do these types of shoots. 

    This video is comprised of about 1400 photos, taken over the course of an afternoon and evening. I used a mirror to create what I’m calling a “portal effect” which I really like and want to experiment more with.

     

  • Milky Way Photography on the Sonoma Coast

    On the most recent new moon I made a late drive to the Sonoma Coast near Jenner California to do some long exposure photography of the Milky Way. The results were better than I had expected and I am really proud of the photos. I have ordered a print of the panorama, and can’t wait to have it hanging on my wall!

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  • The BET (Bacon Egg Tomato) Breakfast Sandwich

     After an early morning photography drive through the Napa Valley

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    I was ready to cook a substantial and tasty breakfast. This is by no means a fancy recipe, but it was absolutely delicious, and photographed very well! Try it out for brunch sometime

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    BET Breakfast Sandwich
    Serves 1
    Poached eggs and bacon, on sourdough with tomato and fresh dill.
    Write a review
    Print
    Prep Time
    10 min
    Cook Time
    15 min
    Total Time
    25 min
    Prep Time
    10 min
    Cook Time
    15 min
    Total Time
    25 min
    819 calories
    80 g
    437 g
    36 g
    44 g
    14 g
    403 g
    1921 g
    7 g
    0 g
    18 g
    Nutrition Facts
    Serving Size
    403g
    Servings
    1
    Amount Per Serving
    Calories 819
    Calories from Fat 321
    % Daily Value *
    Total Fat 36g
    55%
    Saturated Fat 14g
    70%
    Trans Fat 0g
    Polyunsaturated Fat 5g
    Monounsaturated Fat 13g
    Cholesterol 437mg
    146%
    Sodium 1921mg
    80%
    Total Carbohydrates 80g
    27%
    Dietary Fiber 5g
    21%
    Sugars 7g
    Protein 44g
    Vitamin A
    37%
    Vitamin C
    29%
    Calcium
    14%
    Iron
    42%
    * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
    Ingredients
    1. 1 ripe vine tomato
    2. 5 strips bacon
    3. 2 eggs
    4. 2 large slices sourdough bread
    5. 2 T butter
    6. fresh dill
    7. salt and pepper to taste
    Instructions
    1. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a simmer
    2. fry bacon to desired crispness
    3. Slice tomatoes
    4. pan fry sliced sourdough with butter in a pan on medium high heat
    5. swirl the simmering water with a large spoon to create a whirlpool
    6. drop eggs one at a time and cook for 3-4 minutes until whites solidify
    7. Remove with a slotted spoon and season with salt an pepper
    8. Arrange as pictured and top with chopped dill
    beta
    calories
    819
    fat
    36g
    protein
    44g
    carbs
    80g
    more
    A Taste Of The Road http://tasteoftheroad.com/
     

  • Savory Seared Soy Scallops With Edamame and Pickled Root Vegetables

    I always love visiting the family in Santa Barbara, and I always try to cook up one meal for us all to share. For this visit, I decided to visit the new seafood purveyor in town, where the scallops caught my eye. Wanting to put an East -Asian spin on the dish, I picked up some edamame, which I absolutely love, and often eat as a snack at home.

    I have never marinated scallops and though this would be the perfect time to try it out! I used a mixture of soy, ginger, rice wine vinegar, and sugar, my go to Japanese flavor combo. I only marinated for about 3 hours as the scallops easily absorb liquid. I made an emulsified butter sauce with the same mixture for the edamame, which was outstanding!

    I also pickled some beets and carrots to cut through the salty richness of the scallops and beans. The end result was fantastic and everyone raved about the edamame! Find the recipe below, and if you can’t get (or afford!) fresh scallops, this would work well with anything from chicken to beef.

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    Soy Scallops With Edamame
    Serves 4
    An East Asian spin on seafood
    Write a review
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    Prep Time
    3 hr
    Cook Time
    30 min
    Total Time
    3 hr 30 min
    Prep Time
    3 hr
    Cook Time
    30 min
    Total Time
    3 hr 30 min
    757 calories
    99 g
    38 g
    24 g
    34 g
    9 g
    961 g
    4286 g
    62 g
    0 g
    11 g
    Nutrition Facts
    Serving Size
    961g
    Servings
    4
    Amount Per Serving
    Calories 757
    Calories from Fat 205
    % Daily Value *
    Total Fat 24g
    37%
    Saturated Fat 9g
    44%
    Trans Fat 0g
    Polyunsaturated Fat 6g
    Monounsaturated Fat 5g
    Cholesterol 38mg
    13%
    Sodium 4286mg
    179%
    Total Carbohydrates 99g
    33%
    Dietary Fiber 18g
    74%
    Sugars 62g
    Protein 34g
    Vitamin A
    244%
    Vitamin C
    86%
    Calcium
    45%
    Iron
    49%
    * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
    For the pickling
    1. 2 large beets
    2. 2 large carrots
    3. 2 cups apple cider vinegar
    4. 2 cups rice wine vinegar
    5. 1 cup sugar
    For the dish
    1. 8 large fresh scallops
    2. 4 cups fresh edamame (frozen will work)
    3. 2 small heads belgian endive
    4. 1 T chopped ginger
    5. 1 cup soy sauce
    6. 3/4 cup rice wine vinegar
    7. 5 T sugar
    8. 1/2 stick butter
    9. pepper to taste
    10. chive flowers for garnish (optional)
    For the pickling
    1. Cut beets and carrots into 1 cm cubes.
    2. Mix the vinegars and sugars with a whisk.
    3. Add the mixture equally between two ziploc bags and add beets to one and carrots to the other.
    4. refrigerate overnight.
    5. Cook in liquid until just softened.
    6. Strain and reserve for service.
    For the dish
    1. Combine soy, vinegar, sugar and ginger, whisking well.
    2. Marinate the scallops in 1 cup of the mixture in a ziploc bag for 3-4 hours.
    3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the edamame.
    4. Cook until tender.
    5. While the edamame is cooking bring the remaining soy mixture to a simmer in a saucepan.
    6. Slowly incorporate cubed butter until emuslified, taste and add sugar/vinegar as needed.
    7. Toss cooked edamame in butter sauce and keep warm for service.
    8. Bring a heavy pan to medium high heat, add vegetable, or other high smoke point oil.
    9. Sear scallops 2-3 minutes per side, to maintain a rare center which should be translucent.
    For service
    1. Spoon sauced edamame onto the plate and rest the scallops atop it.
    2. Use endive leaves as cups to hold the pickled vegetables.
    3. Garnish with chive flowers
    beta
    calories
    757
    fat
    24g
    protein
    34g
    carbs
    99g
    more
    A Taste Of The Road http://tasteoftheroad.com/
  • Faux Bone Marrow: An Experiment With Veggies

    Bone Marrow can be a very polarizing dish. Some people will drool at the mere mention, and others are repulsed at even the suggestion. While it is not something I get the chance to enjoy often, I definitely fall into the first category. Seeing how bone marrow is rather hard to come by if one doesn’t have a good butcher in town, I decided for the latest family get together to do a veggie-centric (though decidedly NOT vegetarian) representation of bone marrow.

    The dish centers around daikon, cut into small cylinders and hollowed to resemble a cut of bone. These were then soaked in bacon fat and baked to al dente. I used pureed beets cooked with white wine vinegar and rendered beef fat for the (marrow) filling. This lent the richness and fatty mouthfeel of real marrow, while maintaining a fresh pop from the beets and tangy vinegar.

    I can’t recall how the idea came to me , but there are a number of similar recipes floating around the net. This one however is my own creation, and resulted in a really colorful and eye-popping presentation. Find the recipe below, and try it out for your next dinner party. The animal products CAN be omitted, but where’s the fun in that?

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    Faux Bone Marrow
    Serves 8
    A veggie-centric, but not entirely vegetarian representation.
    Write a review
    Print
    Prep Time
    15 min
    Cook Time
    45 min
    Total Time
    1 hr
    Prep Time
    15 min
    Cook Time
    45 min
    Total Time
    1 hr
    177 calories
    8 g
    22 g
    16 g
    1 g
    7 g
    152 g
    84 g
    5 g
    0 g
    9 g
    Nutrition Facts
    Serving Size
    152g
    Servings
    8
    Amount Per Serving
    Calories 177
    Calories from Fat 141
    % Daily Value *
    Total Fat 16g
    24%
    Saturated Fat 7g
    34%
    Trans Fat 0g
    Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
    Monounsaturated Fat 7g
    Cholesterol 22mg
    7%
    Sodium 84mg
    3%
    Total Carbohydrates 8g
    3%
    Dietary Fiber 2g
    9%
    Sugars 5g
    Protein 1g
    Vitamin A
    3%
    Vitamin C
    35%
    Calcium
    3%
    Iron
    3%
    * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
    Ingredients
    1. 2 medium daikon (~3 inches diameter), peeled
    2. 3 large beets, peeled
    3. 1 handful finely cubed beef fat
    4. 1/2 cup rendered bacon fat
    5. 3 T chopped parsley
    6. 1/4 cup heavy cream
    7. 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
    8. 2 T sugar
    9. salt & pepper to taste
    Instructions
    1. Add cubed beef fat to a small, deep pot. Cook over low heat until rendered and light brown (30-40 minutes)
    2. Cut the daikon into 3-4 inch cylinders and hollow out the middles with an apple corer (a paring knife will work too). Rub with bacon fat until well covered, season with salt and pepper. Put in a preheated 425 degree oven for 25 minutes.
    3. Cube the beets and add the vinegar, cream and sugar to a pot, add water to just cover. Simmer for 20 minutes, or until tender with a fork. Season with salt and pepper. Blend well and keep warm for service.
    4. Check the daikon, it should retain some firmness, while developing some delicious browning on the edges. When done, sprinkle outside with parsley.
    5. Combine the rendered beef fat with the beet puree.
    6. Spoon and swipe puree onto small appetizer plates. Place daikon cylinders on top, and pipe or spoon in the puree.
    beta
    calories
    177
    fat
    16g
    protein
    1g
    carbs
    8g
    more
    A Taste Of The Road http://tasteoftheroad.com/
  • Delhi: Business Class Upgrades and Goat Brain Curry

    Kathmandu had been, for lack of better words, a life affirming experience. Opening the door to the taxi, departing the Suwal Mansion was a difficult decision. I felt so grounded, I truly did not want to leave.

    The airport was predictably chaotic. And the line for immigration was both snakelike in length and snalelike in pace. An hour later I finally made it through immigration and security. I had to run to catch the bus which had thankfully waited for me on the tarmac. I boarded the plane and did the usual routine of showing my boarding pass to the stewardess. I gave her an inquisitive stare when she pointed me to the first, big, cushy chair on the plane. A second look at my boarding pass confirmed I was in fact seat 1A. Many fellow travelers will be aware of the fabled “upgrade”, much discussed, but rarely experienced. Not only had I been upgraded to business class, but I also had the window seat facing the Himalayas on one of the most stunningly gorgeous flights in the world. What had I done right to deserve this?

    So many people think Kathmandu is way up in the mountains, which it's not. Here's a good shot to show perspective.

    So many people think Kathmandu is way up in the mountains, which it’s not. Here’s a good shot to show perspective.

    The view was indescribable.

    The view was indescribable.

    I was acutely aware that India was going to be more chaotic, more dirty, and more frustrating than Kathmandu. I had formulated a rough plan for destinations, but hardly had a set itenerary. I had booked a hotel in new Delhi, without doing much research, aside from a glance at tripadvisor. I would soon learn that this was to be a rather terrible decision.Pahar Ganj, by the quick skimming I had done on the internet, was referred to as the “backpacker area” of New Delhi. I was soon to learn that the term “backpacker area’ held two completely different meanings between Southeast Asia and India. The street was a psychedelic maelstrom of rickshaws, neon, and burnt out hippies sipping tea in darkened alleyways.
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    My hotel was central to this madness. I stepped out of the taxi, as he helped me with my bag from the trunk. I reached for my wallet… “No! don’t show any money here! We must go inside the hotel first.” The words “Welcome to India” were all too apparent in my mind. My time in Delhi was interspersed with frustration, boredom, and thankfully one night of enjoyment. I had reconnected with an old classmate from Le Cordon Bleu Bangkok who was a Delhi native. Arjun and I were not particularly close when studying in Bangkok, but our mutual love for food, along with his hospitality, and willingness to show me another side of Delhi made for a great night.
    After a walk through a park, we headed for a few drinks, and discussed the gastronomic options of the evening. I had read about a famous reataraunt, Karim’s, which was located near the oldest mosque in India.
    We parked in a makeshift parking lot, “fly by night parking” as Arjun referred to it. The restaraunt was a few blocks down the road, and we were soon immersed into a street scene which seemed right out of Pakistan. Aside the largest mosque in India was an Imam bellowing political rhetoric relating to the upcoming elections. If nothing else, i knew this was going to be an extremely authentic meal.
    Karim’s was celebrating it’s hundredth year in business, and as we walked in the dimly lit hallway,

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    Note Karim’s Great Grandson, top left.

    the first thing we saw was Karim’s great grandson overseeing the preparation of an array of various curries in large silver cauldrons.

    Scenes like this let you know you're in for a truly special meal.

    Scenes like this let you know you’re in for a truly special meal.

    Karim’s serves strictly Halal food, and the clientele, hundreds of people on any given night, are predominately strict Muslims. The cover of the menu was a picture from Time magazine, which named Karim’s as one of the best restaraunts in Asia.

    You can read all about it if you click for fullsize.

    You can read all about it if you click for fullsize.

    The menu itself only consisted of 3 simple pages, which in my opinion is always a good sign, as any restaraunt that tries to create too many dishes, often fails in upholding quality. One item that immediately stuck out from the menu was Goat Brain Curry. I jokingly suggested it to Arjun, who said he was a big fan. We ordered a huge array of meats, breads, kababs and of course goat brains. Up until this point I had been quite careful about what I had been eating in India, but considering this restaraunt had been in business over 100 years, I was pretty confident that I would be safe.

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    From Bottom: Mutton curry, Goat Brain curry, and Chicken Biryani.

    The curry itself did not differ in appearnce from any other. The oily orange-brown sauce covered up the real treats within. With the confidence instilled in me by the beer earlier that evening, I scooped a spoonful onto my chapati (indian flat bread) and lifted the previously semi-conscious matter into my mouth…. I had no idea what to expect, aside from the vaguely disconcerting description of “creaminess” which I had previously read about…. I say this without any boastfulness that accompanies eating exotic foods, GOAT BRAIN IS DELICIOUS! I put aside any mental (hehe) associations, and just savored the texture and flavor. I’ve since been trying to find a worthy comparison to relate the texture to. The best I can come up with is…. a mixture between Foie Gras and Ricotta Cheese…. I am so sorry as I know this will not contribute to many of my readers partaking in brain curry in the future. All I can confidently say is, if you are in Delhi, please do not pass up the opportunity to visit Karim’s, and if you are even the least bit adventurous, go for the brain curry. Live a little

  • Kathmandu: A Homecoming. Part 2

    After the first 24 hours in Kathmandu, I was sure of one thing. I would be staying here longer than the ten days  originally planned. Being back at the “Suwal Mansion” and reconnecting with people who had been so far away, but were now so close and welcoming made this choice an easy one. One morning, Swayambhu brought out his guitar and wanted to play a few songs. We were both a little more than hungover, and I honestly just wanted to sip my tea. Once I heard him playing though… I was absolutely astounded. Here is what we recorded on that morning. If you pay close attention, you can see me getting rather emotional in the reflection of the window. This kid can play!

    Awakening to warm tea and smiles became a routine I easily fell into. And the hecitic day to day pace of Kathmandu was easily thwarted with escapes to Barat’s shop in Thamel. Even though Thamel is a bustling tourist/backpacker area, Barat’s shop was tucked away in a quiet arcade square, and provided a perfect respite.

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     During the day Swayambhu and I would sip tea, while debating whether tonight would be a Whiskey night or a Beer night. The days slowly drifted by in the way they only can when one is at peace with their surroundings. On the quieter evenings we would head up to Swayambhu temple (For which my brother received his name) in the hills over Kathmandu. Barat is one of the major benefactors of this ancient temple, and was responsible for overseeing much of the renovation in the past years.

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    Not only has Barat named his son after this beautiful Temple, but he has been arriving every evening without fail for the past 8 years to play devotional Buddhist music with his group of friends . Barat plays the Tambla drums. Sitting and listening to their otherworldly rhythms while observing the slow pace of the Kora (circumambulation of the temple) was simultaneously invigorating and meditative.

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    That’s Barat on the left.

    The slow moving days sped, as they often do, as the end of my visit grew nearer. I was delighted when Carrie, the lovely Chinese girl I had met in Pokhara contacted me and told me she was now in Kathmandu. She had been on my mind, and apparently I on hers. She asked if I knew a nice place to meet in Kathmandu… 

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    Carrie contemplating Kathmandu

    The next few days were a mix of happiness and the sad realization that I was leaving, and Carrie would be headed back to her small hometown in China soon. Anyone who has done a fair amount of traveling will surely become familiar with the inherently shortlived relationships which develop. I knew that I would soon be parting ways with the city i loved, and the girl i was only getting to know.

    There was one thing I needed to do before I left Kathmandu, and that was to arrange a recconnection with the “kids”, now all adults, who my mom had sponsored since they were young refugees from Tibet. I had spent much time with Pasang, Dawa, and Dawa Lhamo when I was living in Kathmandu around 2002. We had been relatively out of touch since then, aside from the occasional facebook like. I was amazed to hear Pasang’s voice on the phone, as last time we had seen each other, she was quite shy and rarely spoke. Now she was a nurse, taking a respite from the rigors of New Delhi to volunteer her time and skills to assist her kinfolk of Nubri, Tibet, at a hospital on the outskirts of Kathmandu. We all met for dinner, the eight of us quickly bridged the temporal, geographical, and least of all to my surprise, linguistic bridges that had separated us for so long. Smiles, stories, and rememberences were shared. Most of these stories and rememberences centered around my Mom, and her all encompassing love, which we all agreed had brought us to this table tonight. To see the true gratitude and happiness which she has introduced into our lives made us all smile contentedly. “Auntie Janet” was crowned the hero of the night.

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    From top clockwise: Pasang Bhuti, Barat Suwal, Dawa Gyalsten Lama, Basker Suwal, Me, Carrie, Dawa Lhamo (Not pictured: Swayambhu the photographer)

    We all left, full of both food and love. I have no idea why or how I am blessed to know such compassionate and happy people. I only know that when one has the chance to be surrounded by such a group, the opportunity to enjoy it should not go unheeded. I think the smile on my face says it all. While this was not my last night in Kathmandu, it was by far the most important and uplifting. My love for this place and the people that send that love back will outlast any struggles and difficulties I might face. Kathmandu will always be home in my heart.

  • Kathmandu: A Homecoming. Part 1

    The  wingtips tilted and straightened as we descended into the sprawling valley. For many this was a destination, but for me it seemed more of a homecoming. The view from the window brought on a flood of memories. The city had most definitely grown, but the sprawling cubelike houses remained. The nearest buildings provided a prismatic palette of varying colors, interspersed by the remaining few fluorescent rice paddies. The farther I looked down the valley, the more the colors merged into a hazy brown representation of urban sprawl.

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     The wheels touched down, and I breathed the increasingly familiar sigh of relief that anyone with a fear of flying can relate to. Tribhuvan Airport had not changed in the 13 years since I had been here. It retained it’s rusty, red brick facade, and decommissioned planes sat idly on the side of the terminal, attracting the ever-present Kathmandu dust. A series of signs espousing the unique natural and cultural aspects of Nepal lined the hallways leading to immigration. As I turned the last corner, a bolder sign read “Things move at a different speed in Nepal, slow down and relax.”. This was the perfect sentiment, as the line I faced for immigration was both snakelike and stationary. I heeded the sign’s advice and wore a somber smile of acceptance.

    After an hour I finally received the blue and yellow sticker in my nearly full passport. I quickly snatched my bag from the luggage carousel and made my way outside. I was greeted by a person I had missed and thought of for years. My little brother Swayambhu was now a grown man, but the smile and soft eyes that greeted me remained the same. We exchanged hugs and greetings and I graciously received the ubiquitous welcome gift of a Kata  (A billowing white cloth  placed around the neck as a sign of welcome and respect). Having not seen eachother in so many years, we were both a bit unsure of what to talk about first. Questions of family and life in our respective countries were discussed, and we were soon making plans to go out and party that night. My brother!

    I had heard that the traffic in Kathmandu had grown exponentially worse. What was previously chaotic, was still chaotic with a few more cars thrown in for good measure. We soon reached our destination in the Sanepa area of Kathmandu. Without delving too much into family history, I’ll suffice to say I received the most sincere and heartfelt welcome to a home I had been absent from for so many years. Barat Suwal, my godfather, how I had missed him. I was quickly ushered to the 5th floor patio, site of so many past Pujas and celebrations. Small talk remained small, and large questions of philosophy and happiness soon dominated our conversation. We both came to the conclusion that our families had been blessed by some unspoken force, and the fact we were again sitting face to face was the best thing that could be occurring at this very moment. The tea let off it’s steam, and while we waited for it to cool, our conversation drifted into a content silence. I was home again, and no words were necessary to affirm this fact.

    Swayambhu came upstairs and asked if I was hungry. I already knew this was code for “let’s go out on the town”. I was tired after the day of travel, but readily agreed. We headed into Thamel, which is the tourist, nightlife hub of Kathmandu. Getting out of the taxi, I immediately remembered my time spent here, and had no trouble finding my sense of direction. Home again. My brother led me up a narrow staircase, into a psychedelic space with huge mural of Jimi Hendrix surrounded by pot leaves. I stopped for a moment to appreciate that this was the exact type of place i would have been hanging out in at 22. The night progressed quickly. Tequila and amazing  live music amplified our already happy mood. I’ll let this picture speak for itself.

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    I awoke blurry eyed to an extremely loud rainstorm. My cognitive senses took a few seconds to register the sunlight beaming onto the carpet below the foot of my bed. The sound of rain was extremely loud, and I was now thoroughly confused. I neandered outside of the 5th floor bedroom door and noticed the sound was confined to a few square meters of rooftop directly above my head. I ascended the next flight of stairs to see Barat feeding hundreds of pigeons on the fiberglass awning above my bedroom. The sound of rain was in fact the pigeons feet on the thin fiberglass. Barat handed me the bowl of dry rice and I began tossing it to the happy pigeons. “I’ve been doing this every morning for many years, now they come from all over the city for breakfast.” As I soon came to learn, the pigeons would gather on the rooftop and wait for Barat’s arrival every morning. 

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    Apologies to my followers for the long gap between updates. For all the magic and enjoyment Kathmandu provided, it proved nigh on impossible to update the site due to very slow internet speeds. That being said