Namaste Nepal

In The Himalayas.

Every picture I had from Nepal I lost.
What’s left are my memories and I will recall them.
Nepal is one of the few countries which aren’t an island or archipelago I adore.
After I left Sri Lanka by the end of April I thought it couldn’t get better but then I came to Nepal. My old friend Raj and his relative Nabil (who is around my age) are living in Kathmandu.
As soon as I alight the airplane, it was dry air and I was happy to escape the humid weather in Sri Lanka.
Exchanged money, got my SIM-card I called Raj, attention: the Internet coverage in Nepal is in general low. I bargained with some taxi drivers and since they didn’t want to come down with the price and I started to go away until one of them ran after me and agreed.
My first impression of Kathmandu : ‘Why is this city so dusty!?’.
After every shower I went out I could already take the next shower due to the layers of dust on my skin.
Locals also call Kathmandu, ‘Dustmandu’, but the climate in May agrees with me.
At Raj’s big house I got my own apartment in the second floor and I truly got treated like a princess in his home. Everyday in the evening I saw the sun set down behind the mountains, I had this incredible feeling of happiness again, which is impossible to characterize.
Nepal gave me much inner peace and joy at the same time.

Sunset on the rooftop of Raj’s house.

Raj showed me a lot around and to be honest until today Kathmandu is the only city, in which I wouldn’t know which bus to take.
Whether he went with me, brought me to the bus station or Nabil went out with me. Like I said they treated me like a princess in every way. Dinner was the best to spend time in their apartment above me and most of the time I hang out with Raj and Nabil, even though I got such a big apartment, I only used it for sleeping and taking showers.
Thank you Nabil, for all of your effort to make delicious Nepali Dals for us and the time we had together.
Raj makes so many jokes, that you can’t stop to hold your stomach and laugh all the time. He is one of the most generous persons I have met while traveling and is working for an NGO .
There was a fatal earthquake in Nepal in April 2015. If you can I would love to suggest you to do some volunteering works in Nepal for a while, whether giving children perspective on their life and teaching them English or helping building houses, the NGO’s can be found easily on the Internet or in Kathmandu. Help if you can, like I did.

In a week we went to all the typical tourist attractions I wanted to go in Kathmandu Valley, which includes Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur.
I was lucky again, I never paid for one of any entrance fees due to my Asian looks. By the way, it is very difficult to claim who is Nepali and who is not, since some of them look like Chinese and others appear like Indians and some more or less like Europeans.
The places I went to, but I don’t have pictures anymore:

  • Boudhanath Stupa: One of the largest and most beautiful Stupa in Nepal is a Unesco World Heritage Site. Close by you can combine to visit the Kopan Monastery.
  • Swayambhunath: Located in Kathmandu Valley, the religious complex consists of a stupa, shrines and temples, also one Tibetan monastery and museum. Also known as Monkey Temple, be careful of some naughty monkeys there.
  • Thamel: The hot-spot hipster, hippie and tourist area of Kathmandu
  • Kathmandu Durbar Square: Unesco World Heritage Site, which contains the Royal Palace. If you are lucky enough you can even capture a view of the Kumari, also known as the living goddess. At 4 pm you need to go to her residence and at the point, she may appear at one of the small windows overlooking her courtyard. Make a wish once you see her, people believe it will become true. I myself never saw her.
  • Patan Durbar Square: Unesco World Heritage Site. One of the kings of Lalitpur resided in the royal palace once.
  • Bhaktapur Durbar Square: Unesco World Heritage Site. The whole complex consists of different squares, like Pottery Square (my favourite one), Taumadhi Square, Durbar Square etc.
  • Garden of Dreams: Beautiful atmostphere at nightfall.
  • The Crematoria: Get some goosebumps while people burning their dead relatives in an open-air crematorium in front of you and your eyes are burning from the smoke ascending into the sky.
    Nepali people eat their dinner very early, we usually ate dinner around
    6 pm and would go to bed by 8 or 9pm.
    Also good to know: When I went there in 2016, Kathmandu had an electricity shortage.
    In Kathmandu they have elusively good cakes to sell, grab some :)!
    After an exciting time I left Raj’s house to go to Pokhara.
    Pokhara is the tourism capital of Nepal. At my couchsurfer’s place I met three other CouchSurfers, one girl from Germany and 2 boys from Indonesia in an exchange program of their school to visit one country to  broaden their horizons. With one of the guys I would have a very good friendship which last until today.
    The first day me and my Indonesian friend rent a scooter to explore Pokhara with the Phewa Tal and Barahi temple, Begnas Lake and some other places. Literally everywhere are shops of handicrafts, booking agency, cheap and expensive restaurants etc.
    I saw in Pokhara more tourists than in Kathmandu.
    Due to the proximity to the Annapurna mountain range, the city is  famous as a starting point for trekking to the Himalayas.
    A base for trekkers undertaking Poon Hill or the Annapurna Circuit through the Annapurna Conservation Area region. I decided to do a trek and to consider trekking with my flip-flops.
    It should become more or less unexpectedly the hardest trek in my life ever. I roughly lost 3,3 pounds (1,5 kg) in a week and with no special equipments and a small child rucksack on my back I was freezing and hating myself to do the trek without fitness training beforehand.
    The ascent was painfully hard and at the same time I was overdose with adrenaline and endorphin.
    At this point I have to say a big thank you to my Indonesian friend Alfin,
    I promise you, without you I couldn’t have done it.

    Happy Alfin, Happy Me

    He was there to cherish and motivate my pathetic me, who stopped every 10-15 minutes because I was out of breath.
    He carried even a reflex camera with him, I probably would have died.
    I never undertook such a physical exertions in my life. On the second day I started to regret this trek, but on the other hand the nature empowered me to someone who is able to DO ANYTHING in this beautiful huge world. I took the challenge, there was no escape and it was a win-win-situation for me. I would get fitter and gain in experience and I would tell myself the limit you set yourself is not nearly the actual limit you have.
    I won a huge medal on the top – it was the sunrise itself!
    All the exertions, impatience, coldness and tiredness was worth it.
    I could feel in my bones that my vital energy exploded – one of the best feelings in this world.

    Happiness is everywhere. They were so excited to take a photo with us and screamed all the time ‘Photo, Photo’.

    In my opinion everyone has to do it on their own and the instructive and memorable experience will internalize beyond one’s consciousness and life.
    The descent will let you feel like one of the most joyance you have ever done in your life, while you are still stoked and muzzy from the occurrence.
    I came back to Kathmandu and stayed the first day all day long in my bed, the second and third day I had the worst stiffness. That’s what you get when you go trekking in the Himalayas with none but motivation.
    No warm clothing on me and being a weak person, I still did it and if I can do it, I am sure other people can do it as well.
    Next time, I would love to do it again.

    Thank you Raj and Nabil for taking care of me!
    I will come back to Nepal just to see you two again.
    Thank you Alfin to stay always by my side and to give me motivation,
    even in my dark hours when I already lost hope in myself and started to get annoying. Also for the hilarious and unforgettable nights we spent talking during the trek. I will see you in Jakarta one day!

    Thank you Nepal for being a wonderful country to me with all the beautiful and pure-minded souls living in this country.
    See you, Nepal 🙂

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