Nepal, a summary: Hard pillows, wonderful people, awful roads, dust everywhere.
Nepal, in detail: I say this with full knowledge of what shook the country to it’s core nearly two years ago to the day, but Nepal looks like a place that is recovering from a disaster that occurred only a fews month ago. I’m not sure what it looked like before the earthquake hit, so I don’t have a real point of comparison, but I think it’s safe to say that they are still recovering. Piles of bricks litter the streets ready to be used for future buildings, bamboo is used to support homes from falling over and heaps of debris are extraordinarily commonplace wherever you walk.
Driving through the country feels like going through the middle of a construction zone at 10 miles an hour for hours on end with dust spewing in every direction. This dust adds much hardship to an already challenging life for the locals as it makes it impossible to breathe without covering your face with whatever is handy: a surgical mask if you’re prepared, your shirt if it’s big enough, or your hand if it’s all you have. Not only are the roads hard to walk on, as they are completely uneven, but the dirt and dust makes it nearly unbearable.
Nepal is one of the poorest country that I have personally visited.
Getting to Nepal was an ordeal in itself and I never need to set foot in Bangladesh again in my life. My flight started in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (home to one of my favorite airports) with a 4 hour layover in Bangladesh (home to the worst airport ever). 4 hours turned into 8 and in the end it was an 11 hour stay. There is quite literally NOTHING to do in the airport there; many broken benches, no WiFi, extremely rude people and only one restaurant (where they did give us complimentary meals of bad pastries with juice boxes and later a heaping pile of rice, which I was surprised happened at all). The Bangladesh airport is partially bathed in florescent lights and feels very much like sitting at the DMV or in a really crappy doctor’s office that hasn’t been remodeled since 1954, while other areas have flickering lights, or no none at all, and it feels more like the film set for a zombie apocalypse movie than a place for passengers in transit. My main form of entertainment was in playing with a stray cat and it’s kitten, because yes, this airport obviously is home to stray animals.
But I finally made it!
Originally, we planned to spend a month here but quickly learned that unless you are doing a 3 week trek or an uber-long meditation retreat, there isn’t a whole lot to sustain you for that amount of time. Instead, we hopped around the main cities, embraced the outdoor activities, came to be very well-acquainted with the cafes of Kathmandu, took in the sights of the Himalayas, met many furry friends, became all too familiar with bumpy bus rides, spoke with the locals to hear their stories, and, of course, inhaled a lot of dust. Seriously, whenever I blew my nose dirt came out.
To be honest, I thought I’d love Nepal far more than I actually did, though it’s possible I hyped it up so much in my head prior to arriving that I more or less set myself up to be let down. (How often I am guilty of this, I am downtrodden to admit.) This isn’t to say that I didn’t enjoy my travels here, because let it be known that I absolutely did. I enjoyed my two weeks there immensly! Plus, the people were right up my alley; funny, not pushy, interesting, and not consumed by tourism. I would happily return to Nepal in the future and hike to Everest Base Camp, however, I think that would be the extent of the trip.
So what is there to do in Nepal you may be wondering. Well, more than trekking I assure you. I will eventually make a post for each of the areas we visited (Kathmandu, Pokhara and Chitwan), but in the meantime, here are a few pictures from the trip!
More to come soon!