When we think about Nepal, we immediately see following pictures. We see Himalayan peaks covered with snow and endless mountain chains. We see people bathed in sunlight and their smiling faces. We see little villages affected by an earthquake with their destroyed residential and farm buildings. We see touristic squares, market stands and the streets of Thamel teeming with life. We see people carrying impossibly heavy things on their back, and elderly, life tired people working in the fields. We see poverty, illiteracy and acceptance of what life brings and in the same time no complaining or whining and extraordinary modesty. We see natural landscapes far away from industry and plenty of fruits and vegetables. We see our happy breakfast time with Tija and Rizu who invited us to their home i Kathmandu and treated us as if we were a part of their family. We see a tangle of cables which are like constant motif in towns. We see the left-hand traffic, the “sea” of scooters, little buses, bikes and pedestrians squeezing themselves between all of the above in narrow little and busy streets without respecting any traffic rules. Traffic what…? 🙂 We see cows, in Nepal treated as sacred animals, walking on main squares in the city and the busiest streets, completely paralyzing traffic from time to time. We understood perfectly there what the expression a “holy cow” means. We see plenty of Hindu and Buddhist temples, bells and prayer wheels. What we associate the most with Nepal is religion and mysticism. It is a mix of Hinduism and Buddhism. Every day one can witness on the streets ceremonies connected to religion. We see the characteristic red spots on people’s forehead. We see multicolor, ornamented clothes and women at different age with piercing and strong traditional make up. We see Nepali people nodding their heads and us not understanding if it means “yes” or “no”.
We can also hear that “music” of beeping, super colorful and very characteristic trucks, so common on the rather bad roads here. We hear the noise of a town full of people, conversations, shouting at the market, singing which actually is praying. We hear laughter of people having fun, magical singing of birds in the jungle and the weird noise of approaching rhino. We can hear, rhythms known from Bollywood movies in a bus which is way too crowded with people and their luggage. We can hear broken English, the language used by most people living in Nepal, even the oldest ones!
We can smell incense burning in the roadside chapels, houses, shops… everywhere! We can smell the omnipresent dust irritating the throat a bit and disturbing breathing, especially during the rush hour, which is the reason why more and more people tend to wear those special masks. We feel the warm of sunlight on our bodies. The rhythm of the day here is dictated by the sun – when it shines it is time for washing, cleaning and bathing as water is warmer. When the sun goes down one puts warm clothes on because heating system is not very popular here. We feel the shiver of a cold shower as warm running water at home is rather seldom and a sign of luxury. We feel the taste of delicious dal bhatu – typical Nepali dish consisting of rice with herbs, a lentil soup and curry pickled vegetables. We taste a lot of vegetarian dishes which are a big part of Nepali cuisine. We smell the bus which takes 8 hours to cover the distance of 200 km. We feel that Saturday is coming – the only day free of work in Nepal 😉 We feel the modesty or even timidity of people spending time with us.
Nepal has something to offer for everyone. This country has so much to discover that there is no way not to love it. It is a place which one misses and comes back! We miss it already!