We've now left Nepal and thought it would be fun to dedicate a posting to completely random observations. Below are some arbitrary things that came to mind when we reflect back on our recent travels to one of the world's most diverse countries.
-We noticed that nobody really smokes in Nepal, or at least not in public. We assume that its cost related but still found it odd given that smoking is so prominent in Asian cities.
-Beer is not cheap! Which is odd because most things in the country are inexpensive (it is a poor nation). We can usually just the economics of a country by the price of its beer (in relation to CDN $) but Nepal through us for a loop!
-The tourist buses seem to be worse than the local buses. Yet tourists seem to pay five times as much for the same route? The only difference is that the bus doesn't stop as frequently (which is can often be a huge plus).
- Nepal's flag is totally unique, unlike any other national flag we've come across. It consists of two overlapping red triangles instead of your standard rectangle.
-Cows, goats, donkeys, dogs and pigs roam the streets as if they were humans. Nobody seems to even notice when an oversized cow is eating a plastic bag from the oversized pile of streetside sewage.
- Nepal is in desperate need of a sanitation revolution. The cities and towns are very dirty and the people don't seem to know what to do about it. **Burning it is not the answer!
-Similar to many of our recently visited countries, Nepal drives on the left hand side of the road. Remember, the opposite of right is 'wrong'.
-The cities have little if any traffic lights so every intersection is a leap of faith. It is amusing watching traffic police sit in a booth in the centre of large intersections blowing furiously on their powerful whistles while nobody listens and zigzags all over the place. Throw in a few random cows and goats and you've got yourself a new videogame concept!
-Nepali people are into their politics and are quite educated in this respect. The country has gone through major political changes in the past few decades and many people (at least the people we had conversations with) preferred the way the government was run before democracy took over. We have no opinion.
-Nepali people, like Indians, do not use utensils when eating. They eat most meals with their hands, specifically their right hand… the left is considered dirty. Hmmm… only the left hand is dirty?
-The easiest way to get a leech of you is to flick it... just watch where it lands otherwise it may come back for seconds!
-We wrongly assumed that Nepal would be a mainly Buddhist country with its close proximity to Tibet. Actually, the majority of the country is Hindu, similar to its other large neighbour. Fortunately both religions have fantastic temples!
-Nepali men are very affectionate with one another. It is not uncommon to see men holding hands and sitting on each other's laps. The culture is very affectionate in ways that many Westerners would find uncomfortable.
-Many police officers walk the streets with bamboo shafts instead of guns and public protests seem to be the people's daily exercise. Those that do have guns carry massive shotguns that must have been recycled from WWII.
-It seems like everyone just sits around waiting for something to happen. Street vendors, retail shop owners, restaurant waiters, rickshaw drivers… everyone just sits and hopes for someone to buy.
-Several neighbouring food vendors sell the exact same food but nobody ever seems to be eating or buying? Maybe it's time to differentiate?
-The children run to foreigners wanting to know where they're from... they then put out their hands. I guess that question is worth money? Still not as impressive as the kids in Cambodia though.
-Nepal reminds us of an Asian Peru, but with stronger religious roots and extraordinary Hindu and Buddhist temples. It has the same diverse ecosystems and climate and also boasts incredible outdoor adventures for every type.
-Nepal is an adventurers paradise... put it high on your list of places to visit before you die! We loved our two weeks in Nepal.
We are continually visiting new places and each time we leave behind new memories and experiences. We try hard to capture these moments in a photo or a blog, but it's impossible to fully communicate or document these wonderful experiences. How can we fully capture the chaotic streets of Kathmandu with words? We could take a picture but photographs cannot portray the hot and humid climate, the putrid street smells, the obnoxious sounds of honking motorbikes, the continuous peddling of street vendors, the many foreign languages, the smoggy and suffocating pollution, or the blasting Hindu music?
Hopefully these blogs and photo albums give you a snapshot into our adventure and help you see new and different parts of the world. We're having a great time making them!
August 24, 2009