Swayambhunath is one of Kathmandu’s many temples. Stunning shrines can be found there, as well as bricks, souvenirs, prayer flags, and immense views of the city. Within those views you can see the city bursting with life at the edges, like ants with the task of expanding their hill, as the tendrils of Kathmandu slowly but surely snake their way into the valley and beyond.

Thamel, Kathmandu: small shop owners spend their days selling tasty treats like hot samosas with sweet sauce.

Enveloped by the heat and humidity of monsoon season, students find a way to cool off without destroying their uniforms.

Or not.

After-swim chill sesh.

Negotiations are more of a social affair.

A mistake in focus turns out quite well.

Don’t you love it when everything just fits together?

Secret garden lined by brick.

Some like to escape the demands of city life with the solace of Buddha.

Others like to rest while foreigners take their picture.

Have what you need and nothing more.

Looking for something? You probably won’t find it. Kathmandu doesn’t really have addresses; signs are lies; word-of-mouth is a somewhat-reliable form of navigation, but beware of hindering self-interests.

Outside of Thamel and the vicinity of each temple, foreigners aren’t too common around the city.

There’s nothing quite like playing chess with your oldest friends.

After-school snacks at the corner store.

Brothers and sisters have to hold on to each other in the big city.

Knowing how and when to take a break is vital.

Nepal’s cities have designated tourist areas, like most cities. It’s good to leave these areas, not once in a while but often.

I like to think that the lassi apprentice will one day make it to Italia.

With places to go and money to make, there’s no slowing down for me.

Rural meets urban without leaving the Kathmandu postal code.

Out of school and out of the eyes and minds of preoccupied adults, this Nepali friendship gang meets to wreak havoc on the microcosm of their neighborhood.

A modern woman with handbag and a timepiece.

Overexposed but underrated, playing with leaky gutters is the best part about everyday rain showers.

 Nepal’s cities are a mix of the ancient, very old, old, and extremely new.

You’ve got to look sleek. Keep your comb and mirror handy while keeping your toothbrush in a nearby brick hole.

A typical, good Nepali restaurant will have a rusty door and momo steam escaping from its many crevasses. These hole-in-the-walls/street-food carts are the types of establishments I eat at while traveling, almost exclusively. We informed a Kathmandu local where we’d been eating and for how much, and apparently we were paying much less for food than any local would pay. He said that where we were eating, we’d almost certainly get severe stomach problems – everyone else does. Urban water sources in the Kathmandu valley can’t be trusted, and general maintenance of these places is less than clean. I didn’t care. I know good food when I see it.

Mischief from the aforementioned friendship gang comes in the form of string, some windows, and a secret message.

“What the fuck are you looking at?”

High-tech. No slow wifi here.

To summarize this photo essay: just go to Nepal. You’ll be better off. I promise.