My Nepal top ten

Well obviously I didn’t trek to Everest basecamp, or spend months living on yakburgers and lentils with rice in remote village areas. I’m just a lazy bum, and too much shit has caught up with me while I’m in Nepal, so this is just a superficial list here that anyone could compile on day two, nevertheless, it is also me.

People

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Sometimes annoying, sometimes overwhelming, sometimes amusing, the people simply refuse to be mere props and extras in our little playground. They want to talk and have fun. Everyone who deals with tourists speaks good English, and it is possible to have a conversation about politics, religion, working abroad, or pretty much anything else. Even if you just drop into a travel agent’s office, and want a ticket to India, which takes some phone calls and printouts and stuff, you might end up talking about your marriage or sex life or travels and in the end added as a facebook friend. Even bus passengers or market vendors who don’t speak English want to relate and communicate and just interact at a level that I had never seen in so many years of travel in any other country.

I wish I had more photos of some of the guesthouse managers and staff, shopkeepers, or random strangers that I have talked to, but the  girl above seems to be the only one.

Colourful clothes

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Colourful clothes – I wish I have always had these long shirts and trousers. And of course I love that beautiful reds and greens and gold go together, absolutely the number one colour combination choice for women here. Purple with light blue and purple with green would be the runner-ups I think. I can’t even imagine the remarks one would get walking down the street in that strictly grey winter coats only city where I grew up. I’m determined to have more clothes made in India, and also wear them! My first one is pink and blue…. By the way, I also like that wearing a scarf doesn’t get me considered a Muslim. Not that there is anything wrong with being a Muslim, but I’m not one.

Food

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Thank god for everything that is not rice. Dumpling heaven, I will miss you. Curries and naans, fresh lassis and curd and yoghurt and milk…. see you in India. Again… I wish I had more photos. There should be a momo platter somewhere that I can’t find.

Little Tibet

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Of course trekkers see all the villages and culture that I miss out on, but I’m so happy that I had a chance to glimpse into this fascinating and powerful world.

Buddhism and Hinduism

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Side by side, like brothers, and a different spin on the teachings and symbols I know from elsewhere. And of course seeing and hearing all the little rituals that fill the lives of people.

Woodcarving

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Out of all the art and architecture I’ve seen, it’s the woodcarving that deserves a special mention. It is simply just out of this world. The museum in Patan has lots of it dating back hundreds and sometimes a thousand years. There are 7 World Heritage sites scattered around the Kathmandu valley, and all of them are really worth seeing not only for the big picture, but also the small details.

Paragliding

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– of course this was experience not to be missed. Flying like an eagle. I wish I could take it up as a hobby 🙂

Other travellers

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This is actually a local boy that we took along for a boat ride with an Aussie guy and Thai woman. –  I was surprised by all the fleeting connections and hours and hours of talk with people we cross paths. In most other countries I know, travellers keep more of a distance. Or I do, not sure.  But here you just stand no chance! There are a lot more long-term travellers, and people who live in Asia. My story and background is nothing out of the ordinary. I talk way too much about all the details of my life to whoever is interested, because I know I will not meet these people again, and they don’t even know my name. Now I think it helps. But never sure. I also love all the opportunities I get to speak proper English. I’m told this support network works really well in India, and is absolutely essential.

Bookshops – oh no I screwed up here. Too many good books. And cheap. And now I’m stuck with some of them that I don’t want to sell, and won’t have the opportunity to send them home (home?!) until I get to India.

Water bottle refills and solar panels for making hot water and electricity backup deserve a special mention. Food for thought that it’s always the poorest communities that go solar – for lack of other options.

There are lots of other things I could talk about – and lots of things I liked, but is it really ok to like goats in the street, or the handmade items, and all the rural vibe in a big city and everything that at the end of the day tells you about struggle and resilience and carving out a living in one of the poorest countries in the world. After observing many similar scenes in Yangon for almost two years, I still have no idea.

I’m still on to Lumbini, this side of the border, the birthplace of Buddha, but no idea about the wifi situation down there. Worst case scenario (well, ok, not absolute worst, because it presumes I survive and get there), I will only be back on the 8th, from Varanasi, India.

 

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