A month traveling in a new country is a long time – It was the first time either of us had experienced this (without working). The month at times seemed like 8 weeks and there were several times we both had mini meltdowns out of frustration with the poor organization or ‘island time mentality’. We swung between wanting to make it work with *uck it, lets fly to another country as this is s*itshow. In the end we found the right balance, I think, and we did much more than originally planned.
In the last days of our stay in the country we hopped from one part of Pokhara to another more touristy part, and then finished up in dusty Kathmandu, all of which we will document in another post (with pics). In the meantime, as we sit in the lounge at Singapore Airport (thanks Trey for all your excess work travel to allow for such luxuries), these are some witty and not so witty observations that we made about Nepal and the things we discovered about ourselves in the process:
- Cold showers and squat toilets are fine on occasion but they lose their novelty after a while.
- Great vegetarian/vegan food means we didn’t miss meat.
- It’s hard to sit upright whilst being cross legged (at least for us)
- Not having coffee for a month feels great.
- Not having booze for a month also feels great.
- Cleaning your nose with salt water feels amazing (no, really).
- Having no hairdryer and no hair product for a month is what you imagine it would be. Fluffy.
- Nepal is not on our list of places to move to.
- I will no longer take running water in my home for granted.
- I could eat daal Bhat everyday and never get bored of it (rice and lentils).
- Poor organisation still gets on my tits. Being here for a month didn’t make it any more ‘charming’
- Our experience of volunteering through a local organization was not isolated. We heard similar examples of arriving and then being told that October was a dead month for teaching. My suggestion is to use an international organization vs small/local.
- Being a foreign woman in Nepal was better than I thought it would be but not as good as it should be. The man is king here.
- Traveling by bus here is miserable. It’s not exotic or ‘should be tried as part of the whole experience’- it’s a truly shitty experience. Bus journeys take 4 hours longer than advertised (4 hours takes 7, 6 hours takes 10), you get leaned on, sat on, coughed on and people throwing up in the aisle is not uncommon.
- They chew up the bones with their meet (fish, chicken, goat). We’re told it’s a good source of calcium. My preference is to eat a yogurt or leafy greens rather than have my insides ripped by splintering bones, but then again, I am old fashioned.
- There are very cute kids everywhere, but I don’t think that this is because there are more kids. Instead, I think it is because kids (even as young as 5?) walk down the road between houses on there own. Village life feels extremely safe with everyone looking out for each other.
- Basically no one uses the internet, but there is now 3G wireless everywhere so I’m guessing this will change?
- In villages, No credit cards, ATMs. If you want money from the bank, go to the bank (old school).
- They shop at local stores on credit and can pay it back up to a year later.
- The Nepalese are hands down the most welcoming people. Everyone treats you like an honored family member. Sit here, eat this, let us make you something. Have some of (fill in the blank with a food item).
16/14 year old girls we stayed with:
- Don’t have phones
- Don’t have email
- Can’t swim
- Can’t imagine driving
- No bank accounts
- Don’t have access to social media (but they *LOVE* Snapchat lenses once introduced)
- Work unbelievablely hard at studies – literally 14 hour days, 6 days a week
Rubbish (Trash if you’re from America)
- Rubbish is just dropped on the road. e.g. Candy wrappers
- Concept of don’t litter just doesn’t exist
- The home we stayed in created maybe one bucket of rubbish in 3 weeks
- Near complete self-sufficiency with produce
- Rice is purchased in reusable 50 lb bags
- Soda bottles are reused to carry water
Nepal Fun Score
S – 1.5
T – 1.5