And so a final Nepal post and then on to Udaipur tomorrow.
In Nagarkot we stayed at a rather down-to-earth kind of hotel – comfortable and nothing over the top. As usual, we had friendly waiters for breakfast and dinner who joked around with us and asked us what kind of food we liked, where we were from, how long we were traveling. Here’s a view of their dining room – it doesn’t look quite as impressive here as it did there – but Photosynth (the panorama app I used) looks best when you view it in the application. Still, you get a bit of an impression.
The waiter there in the yellow shirt was a funny guy. I had brought an avocado with me from Singapore. It had been sitting in my refrigerator and rather than throwing it away before leaving the apartment for the last time, I simply threw it into my bag. The second morning at the hotel, I took it out and brought it to breakfast, intending to eat it with some toast as I normally do for breakfast. Andreas was still getting dressed, so I waited for him, drinking a cup of coffee, the avocado placed simply on the table. But the fruit caused quite a comotion. The waiters started circling, asking what it was and where I had gotten it. I explained to them – only one of them had even heard of avocados. So when Andreas came, I cut it open and spread it onto toast, giving them most of it to try. Mixed reviews, some liked it and others didn’t. But even funnier was that they asked for the seed to plant it. We laughed and drew them a little diagram showing them how to hang it over a cup of water to grow the plant. Hopefully about 7 years from now I can go back and eat avocados there.
Day 3 in Nepal was more of the “nature day.” A two hour walk in between villages where we trotted along with cows, looking at the beautiful and simple farm houses there, the corn and chilies drying under the hot sun, chickens pecking away at corn. And of course the requisite patches of marijuana everywhere growing wild.
We also visited the famous city of Bhaktapur, enjoying how neat and clean it was. Walked around, grabbing some fried sweets along the way – fresh, hot jalebis, which I love to eat once in awhile. We were introduced to one of the village “Kumari Divas” – there are 9 living Kumaris in Nepal so this was one of them, if not *the* Kumari. We saw a potter about to fire up the most massive number of pots. Rather than doing it in a kiln, he had set up a huge space to fire them all at once. We were told that the guy was a bit of a local celebrity. He had appeared in a National Geographic some years back.
Yes, looking a little melted and frazzled with sunburned arms here. I think this will be the ONLY photo of me on this trip…maybe one more.
We weren’t even sure if we would be able to venture out on this third day. There had been warnings of a strike – people in Nepal are dissatisfied that they have no constitution. The rather new government has been writing one for the past two years but hasn’t been able to finish. To protest, many workers were going on strike. Our guide explained to us that the strike might be very violent – people throwing rocks at cars, etc. He said if that was happening, they wouldn’t be able to come. But they did in the end, and our car, similar to other cars we passed on the road was well labled – we were just tourists, and therefore a major source of revenue for the country. So we were safe even if we toured around during a strike. In the end, it didn’t affect us at all.
As the days in Nepal drew to a close, Andreas got more and more anxious about actually seeing some mountains. I mean, we *were* in Nepal. And we hadn’t trekked. Almost sacriligious…
So we cheated. On the last morning, we bought tickets to a mountain flight – a one hour flight in a tiny airplane to get a bit closer to the major mountains of Nepal. Unfortunately, because of the monsoon, most of the mountains were covered with clouds. But…we did manage to see Everest. Next time I guess the trick will be to do it on foot…meanwhile, we used the power of the Gods to get us there…
But do observe…we were in a PLANE. And there is Everest – eye to eye with us – same altitude. Quite impressive.