In my last blog entry I was too overcome by the mountains to use my descriptive powers to the full. So this time I'm going to flex my figurative language muscles and try to describe the effect of Nepal on the senses.
Firstly, what can you see? Well there's absolutely plenty, almost all of which is riotous with colour: jewel bright saris; glittering gems; shops overloaded with merchandise - bed spreads, hippy clothing, bags and beads; lots of people, most of whom will return your grin despite initial reservation and when looking beyond what's in front of your face there's just the wholehearted beauty of the landscape; lush green hills, the green-blue lake, the valleys, rivers and waterfalls... On the other hand, if you catch a slight movement out of the corner of your eye, chances are it's an unwelcome visitor: a cockroach or an army of vicious little ants. I never mind the geckos though, they can stay, and they often do even though I can't get their name right and squeal about the 'cute little iguanas!'
Now for what you hear: all manner of screeching, squawking, belching from the insects, birds and frogs. Hawking and spitting from the humans. "Hello! How are you? What is your name?" from the children. It seems that parents like to teach their children how to do a proper Namaste, with hands pressed together as if in prayer. I've chuckled along with many a proud father as their child accidently slaps themselves in the nose as they try to greet me in the traditional Nepali way! The one noise, however, that I think most people would agree with me is the most prominent is the car horns. In the UK a beep on the car horn usually means just one thing: "What the f*** are you doing you w**ker?!!' Over here, there seem to be many interpretations, as I will try to lay out below:
Beep: "I'm driving my car!"
Beep: "Your driving your car!"
Beep: "I'm about to change direction."
Beep: You're vehicle is in my way and I don't want to change direction, so please move."
Beep: "You're a dog and you're in my way. I'm not that bothered about hitting you but you may dent my bumper, so please move."
Beep: "You're a cow and you're in my way. I definitely don't want to hit you as I could face two years in jail for your slaughter, so please move."
Beep: "You're a pedestrian and you're in my way. I could probably fit a bus in the gap between you and me, but just wanted to make a point, so please move."
Beep: "Ooh, you're not just a pedestrian, you're a tourist! Taxi? I give you good price...? No? Please move."
Now, how does the delicate English nose cope with the smells of Pokhara? You need to give it time, and it gets used to it eventually. A 5 minute walk along the street can see your nose assailed by: fresh cow poo, incense, diesel, fresh dog poo, garlic, more incense, car fumes, overripe mangoes on the fruit trucks (delicious!), fresh human poo, frying meat, yet more incense, fresh pineapple, fried onions...
Power cut imminent, need to go!