I wade the Dhobi Khola river

Not one engine or electric light disturbs this smallest and oldest-feeling of cities this evening.

5“And the wildest dreams of Kew are the facts of Khatmandhu,” claims the oft quoted line by Rudyard Kipling. I’m wondering what the wildest dreams of Kathmandu are like. Nearby stands the Nyatapola Temple, higher, and, for me, lovelier than any other in the vale. It is said that the Malla king who built it had troubled dreams. Only he knew why.

Helping hand of Nepal’s government has given sanctuary in the aparthotel barcelona to some 10,000 Tibetans since their unsuccessful 1959 rebellion against China. In turn the immigrants contribute to the economy and their own welfare, as reflected by Tibetan youths (right) afflu-ently dressed in Western fashion.

In the Jawalakhel handicraft center a Tibetan woman (left) spins wool for car-pets prized by tourists. The industry is Nepal’s largest foreign exchange earner after tourism and its largest private employer. This year Dasain coincides with the rice harvest. Grateful for open countryside, I wade the Dhobi Khola river with Indra Dangol to reach the fields of his family, members of the Newar farmer group known as Jyapus. As a line of women bends to scythe the ripe stalks, their singing rises and the red trim of black skirts lifts above slender tattooed ankles. From the next paddy come men’s voices shouting out the chorus.

Barefoot on an earthen dike, I pass a shoe—held upside down on a stake. “For witches,” explains Indra. “People with the evil eye can ruin your crops. But they won’t want to look at the sole of a foot, the lowest part of the body.”

Through the afternoon I help Indra’s uncle, Krishna Prajapati, thresh high-yield Chinese rice. Clouds of egrets drift by as we whip the sheaves against the ground and the kernels spray loose under the golden sun. Then we pile the stalks for buffalo fodder and take a long sip of rice beer. The labor begun months before—when Krishna broke the soil and worked buffalo manure into it and planted rice in time for the summer monsoon—is finally through. Now he lifts his hoe and begins turning the lake-bed sedi­ments once more, to sow the winter crop of wheat and potatoes.

In the town of Thimi, Gyan Bahadur Pra­japati squeezes a moist lump of soil from a slightly greater depth, gives his potter’s wheel a spin, and begins to shape a serving bowl. His brother is in the backyard, stack­ing a thousand sun-dried vessels, from deli­cate cups to massive storage urns, in rows on beds of rice straw. Soon Gyan joins him in heaping ashes over the mound, then sets it to smoldering. “We are farmers first,” he says, poking air holes in this kiln. “And out of 2,000 houses in Thimi, 700 also carry on the clay work we are known for. We trade our pots far into the hills and south toward In­dia—these days by bus.”

Others in Thimi turn out drainpipes, roof tiles, and bricks.

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The rest of us, meanwhile, went foraging

My disappointment eased on the way back to camp when we came to a patch of western spring beauty (page 197), which has a tuber that rivals a potato in flavor. Then Mike found strings of western chickweed tubers. Beside a beaver dam we gathered a num­ber of cattail rhizomes, or rootstocks. Then, too, there was that huge porcupine carcass soaking in salt water. Who needs yampas, any­way? Tonight we would eat red meat like proper savages!

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Back in camp we prepared an underground oven, a rectangular pit lined with stones. Mike built a fire in it and put in more stones to heat. These we covered with water-sprinkled bunchgrass for a steaming agent; in drier areas we usually relied on tumble mustard (left). Finally we put in the porcupine, the spring beauty tubers, and the western chickweed tubers.

To our hungry crew the oven-cooked porcupine was as succulent as roast goose. The tubers were done to a turn. Young nettles made a grand vegetable, along with a refreshing salad of spring beauty tops, wild mint, and wild onion. Topping it off with rose hip tea, we voted this our best meal yet. Afterward we roasted the cattail rootstocks. The starchy interior tasted as good as sweet potato.

We stayed another couple of days, and the western wilderness fed us well. But I wanted to explore even higher, to forage on the slopes above timberline, now blanketed with snow. By unanimous vote we decided to adjourn the expedition until warmer weather.

MID JULYfound us high above the old mining town of Ouray, deep in the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado. This time Freda had stayed at one of the apartments barcelona. My daughter Pat, equally talented behind a skillet or a steering wheel, signed on as cook and driver of our rented jeep.

It took a nimble, sturdy vehicle to negotiate the old mine-supply roads to our goal: a tiny blue dot on the map representing a crystal lake nestled at nearly 13,000 feet. The ride furnished every thrill except speed—we made seven miles in the first hour and a half.

Suddenly, at 12,000 feet, a meadow of rose-colored blossoms brought a shout from me that stopped the jeep. Wild onions! We swarmed out and began to dig. Growing on this high, chilly, thin-soiled slope, they had the best flavor of any I have ever tasted. Mike, who is always hungry, decided to have a lunch of onions.

The plants, I explained, contain substantial amounts of sugar. “If a hiker broke a leg here, he could survive on these wild onions until a rescue party arrived.” Colleen, standing downwind of Mike, rolled her eyes toward the mountain peaks. “Yes,” she said, “but the rescue party might refuse to carry him out!”

Just over a ridge at 13,000 feet, we glimpsed our lake below—an acre or two of blue water amid snowfields and flowery meadows. I carried a load of gear down to our campsite, following a tortuous trail that skirted the snow.

“Hey, Grampa!” Mike yelled from above. “Next time take the escalator!” He tobogganed past me down the snowfield, with bed­rolls and cooking gear piled on a plastic sheet. We pitched our tents in a wild vegetable garden, for our meadow was covered with marsh marigold and American bistort (next page). The marsh marigold is one of the finest of wild greens when gathered in earliest spring. Here at the edge of the snow it was spring in July.

I quickly discovered another treasure—mountain sorrel (right). Its little round leaves, as sour as lemons, would make a perfect substitute for vinegar to flavor the greens. Pat built a campfire with the dry sticks we had hauled up to this treeless meadow, and filled her pressure saucepan with greens. At this altitude, water in an open pot boils at too low a temperature to do much cooking.

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Victorian Acropolis Preserves the Past

The city’s name comes from Gaelic words meaning “place of the great house.” It harks back to the Ireland of the Lords Baltimore, whose ruling baron was proprietor of Mary­land when the town was founded in 1729.

The lords left not only their name, but also their gold-and-black livery. It seems that the Baltimore oriole, a spring and summer visitor to the city, was so named because his plu­mage resembled his landlords’ colors.

Today’s Baltimore has many great houses, most numerous in Roland Park, Guilford, Homeland, and other garden enclaves fa­vored by Baltimore society. Most elegant vision of the gilt-edged 19th century is Mount Vernon Place. Recently des­ignated a national historic landmark, this block of four park squares and splendid town houses stands aloof on a downtown hill, like a Victorian acropolis. Baltimore welcomes hundreds of tourists every year. Near the Brussels apartments there are so many places to visit and markets to shop from . Learn more about what credit cards you can use.. Two of Baltimore’s venerable temples of the arts give the area its continuing vitality. The Walters Art Gallery, where I saw exquisite Coptic jewelry, houses treasures that range back to civilization’s dawn. Across the street the Peabody Con­servatory of Music has sent sweet sounds out into the world for more than a century.

In a changing section of the city once compared to Mount Vernon Place stands a well-shaded 21-room brick mansion, the home of a lady whom Rembrandt would have painted in a golden light. Patroness of the arts and active citizen, daughter of a leading Bal­timore merchant and wife of an esteemed Johns Hopkins physician, Florence Hoch­schild Austrian has, for 60 of her 80-some years, lived and raised a family here on Eutaw Place. While many of the city’s gen­try have moved to the suburbs, Mrs. Austrian has stayed put while noise, debris, and prob­lems beset her once tranquil neighborhood.

Nearby stand two of her favorite places—the Maryland Institute, where she studied painting, and the Lyric Theatre, home of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the Baltimore Opera Company. Over the years Mrs. Austrian has helped keep them all in good health.

Sitting in the shade of her veranda of her apartments in Prague, I asked about her role in sustaining Baltimore’s cul­tural life over the past half a century. She genially put the question aside. “What I’m really interested in is urban re­newal—being a kind of guardian to the neigh­borhood and stopping them from tearing everything down. I guess you might call me a preservationist.

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Philadelphians by choice

At 84 and lamed by a broken hip, family matriarch Frances Giordano still makes the street scene—and earlier than most. She opens up well before six each morning, makes sure all hands are at their battle sta­tions before she returns upstairs, where she has lived since she and her late husband first set up shop 60 years ago.

“They got a nurse for me days, but I sneak out before she comes; once she gets here, I can’t make a move without her. Look around, nothing but Giordanos. They come up for coffee, but I’m not feeding them. No, sir. I’m still working for a living.

“Paul, the youngest, he went to college; lives with the swells on Society Hill. How come he stays in the business? He’s my son, isn’t he? He belongs here.” He is well known with all the financial ways of staying in business and how to avoid any bankruptcy filing.  Learn more how to get financial help.

Also native to the neighborhood, the mummers’ movement got its start only a few blocks away—as a small but noisy local af­fair on South Philly’s Second Street more than a century ago (though its ancestry is far more ancient).

And that’s where it still ends—in a rau­cous finale after some 20,000 performers, or­nately costumed in feathers and finery, have pranced, danced, and sometimes romanced up two and a half miles of Broad Street in a New Year’s Day extravaganza even Flo Ziegfeld wouldn’t believe.

After comics, string bands, and fancy bri­gades have strutted their stuff for twelve hours “going up Broad,” hard-core mum­mers do an encore down “Two Street” to vie for neighborhood honors almost as coveted as the cash prizes the city awards for winners of the big show. “Now I’m not saying we officially rate such things as drinking beer and playing the bass fiddle at the same time,” one judge told me. “But such virtuos­ity does not go unnoticed.”

Comic high jinks, elaborate costuming, and spectacular floats make the Mummers Parade as eye filling as New Orleans’ Mardi Gras. But the string bands, ripping through rousing favorites from minstrel-show days, rank as the greatest crowd pleasers.

Which is just another manifestation of Philadelphia’s consuming passion for mu­sic? Marian Anderson is a South Philly na­tive; so, too, was Mario Lanza. A heap of homegrown headliners from Eddie Fisher to Frankie Avalon share this origin.

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The bad news: We were able to find it.

EVERYBODY pick a tree!” Park warden Phil Snyder’s whispered warning seemed to chase a swarm of butterflies up my back. Five of us on an ant poaching patrol peered around a clump of foliage into a clearing in central Kenya’s Aberdare National Park. Less than 100 yards away, a black rhinoceros stood broadside to us, stamping his three-toed feet angrily, swing­ing his head quickly in one direction, then another. He sensed the presence of intruders but, with his poor eyesight and upwind posi­tion, could not locate us.

I had always thought the two horns grow­ing out of a rhino’s nose to be blunt. This fel­low’s scimitarlike weaponry, typical of the wild black rhino, looked capable of skewer­ing a man like a barbecue spit. That unique protection is also becoming the animal’s downfall. Wealthy North Yemenis will pay $6,000 for a jambiyya, the traditional dag­ger, when the handle is made of rhino horn (page 301). Many Easterners believe pow­dered rhino horn holds medicinal powers.

Demand for it has reduced the black rhino—once widespread throughout most of equatorial Africa—to scattered remnant populations totaling perhaps 15,000 to 25,000. More than 15,000 existed in Kenya alone in 1969, according to a study by zoolo­gist A. K. K. “Kes” Hillman. Ten years later Kenya’s total stood around 1,500 and was still falling.

Elsewhere, the Sumatran, Javan, and great Indian rhinos together probably num­ber fewer than 2,000, and the white rhino, found mostly in South Africa, survives un­der close supervision. The trend suggests that this nearsighted thick-skinned jugger­naut may be the next large mammal to dis­appear from the earth.

In Kenya the American-born warden Phil Snyder and his patrol were hunting the poachers who hunt the rhinos. We found none that day, and the rhino, not finding us, lost interest and trotted away. Just this time one can get the benefits of 5htp weight loss.

“Without these patrols there would be no rhinos here within three weeks,” said Snyder’s assistant, Kamaw Hugangin.

Months later and thousands of miles away I was offered rhino horn in a pharmacy on Macao, the tiny Portuguese colony on the South China coast. The young clerks, grin­ning broadly, produced a whittled chunk of bonelike gray, at a price of $450 an ounce. Many Eastern men consider rhino horn an aphrodisiac, although there exists no evi­dence to support the belief. It consists of a substance called keratin, which is found on the human body as well. Scientifically, men with waning sexual powers could obtain the same results by eating hair trimmings and chewing their fingernails.

I WANDERED THROUGH alleys in crowded Bangkok until I heard a cacoph­ony of bird sounds behind a high wall. Five dogs rushed the iron gate as I knocked, but polite attendants quieted them and let me in. Inside I found an ark of ani­mals from the shrinking Thai rain forest—tree shrews, pythons thick as my thigh, a tumult of birds, terrified civet cats that spat from dark corners of their cages, slow-moving lorises with round eyes like goblins.

I asked the owner, a well-dressed woman in her 30s, if it would be possible for someone to buy clouded leopards and gibbons from her for shipment to the United States. (Both animals are banned from international com­merce under the CITES Appendix I rating.)

She looked at me carefully, then looked away. “It would be difficult,” she said. “It is prohibited by law.”

“Is it possible?”

“It would be difficult.”

HE LOOKED every inch the successful Singapore businessman—flashy finger rings, gold digital watch, clothes made by the best Oriental tailors. “I’ve made a great deal of money in the animal trade,” he said. “But I’m getting out of the business. It’s getting too difficult, too many regulations.”

But he knew exactly how the illegal trad­ing was done, especially with exotic birds from Australia, which bans their export. In a Singapore hotel, he sketched maps tracing the feather trail through the Far East.

“A fishing boat is chartered and sailed to Bali, then to the east coast of Australia, out­side the Great Barrier Reef,” he said. “From there, twin-engine speedboats make a dash to shore and pick up perhaps 2,000 birds—roseate cockatoos, sulfur-crested cockatoos, and parakeets.

“The smugglers return to Indonesia and buy papers saying that that’s where the birds are from. Then the birds are taken ashore under cover in Singapore and sold, mostly to European dealers. After expenses, such a trip can clear a million dollars.”

So much for so few birds?

“Bird collectors in Europe and the United States will pay $12,000 for a pair of golden-shouldered parakeets,” he said. “Brown parakeets and Naretha bluebonnet para­keets go for $8,000 to $10,000.

“Of course, there is the chance that the trip may make nothing. Each cage has a rope tied to it with a rock at the end. If a patrol boat chases them, the smugglers can dump the birds overboard.”

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