What’s good around here

After writing many posts on funny things in Nepal, as well as those things that I cannot, ummm how should I put it nicely, stand, I figured it was time for me to write about something I like here. There should be such things, no? After all, I moved here by my own choice.  So here it goes. Things I like about Nepal.

First place, without a doubt, goes to the weather. Let’s face it. Weather in Kathmandu is gorgeous, all year round. Sure, you need to learn how to handle the rain in summer months, but seriously, who minds getting rained on when it’s hot outside. Getting rained on is like a breath of fresh air. For the rest of the year sun is out every day. Every single day. It gets a bit cold in winter. But what’s taking a shower in an 8°C bathroom in comparison with seeing the sun every day for almost 8 months in a year? So yeah, weather, gorgeous.

It might be a total cliche, but I cannot not mention the historical sights. Kathmandu might  be dirty and polluted and crowded and crazy and all kinds of things. But the sights you can see are amazing. If you start from Patan and move through Kathmandu Durbar Square, Swayambhunath and Boudhanath all the way to Bhaktapur, trust me, you’ll be hooked for life. These places are rockin’. And the best part about all of them – they’re not just tourist sights that are there to be photographed and not to be touched. People actually live there, in them , around them and with them. It’s an amazing sight. My favorite? Boudhanath. It’s a place like no other. Not to be missed.

Zagreb might be trying real hard to be a cosmopolitan city, and in many regards it definitely is, but what’s missing there is a diverse restaurant scene. Kathmandu had me amazed with its variety of restaurants and food. It’s a never ending exploring out here. We’ve been to so many places already, but it feels like we haven’t even tackled into a vast restaurant pool in Kathmandu. I love it! Indian, Italian, Korean, Japanese, Nepali, American, Spanish… Anything you wish for can be found in Kathmandu. Isn’t that just perfect?

And last, but not the least, mornings are what I enjoy tremendously in Nepal! Yes, there is an annoying sweeping lady outside my window every day at 6 am. And yes, the dirty pigeons are making horrible cooing sounds, but once I get out of bed, open the curtains and look outside, I am stunned. The sky is of a blue shade that I’ve never seen in my life. Sun is glistening on the surrounding hills, and snow-covered mountain tops are visible in the background. Kids are playing on the rooftops, their laughter carrying across the neighborhood. Bells can be heard in almost every house making everything seem magical. It’s impossible not to love this place!

Ignore neighbor's laundry and focus on the beautiful mountain tops in the distance.

Ignore neighbor’s laundry and focus on the beautiful mountain tops in the distance.

Too beautiful for words

I intended this post to be a hymn to Nepal. One of those posts where I would beautifully and with many poetic and romantic words describe absolutely best places in Nepal that everyone has to visit in a liftime. The truth is I was too lazy to do a lot of research and come up with a whole bunch of educated and informative details on Nepal and its beautiful sites. Maybe I’ll do that some other time. For now, I leave you with some of the great shots I took during my previous trips.

Patan

Patan

Patan

Patan

Pokhara, on the lake

Pokhara, on the lake

Pokhara

Pokhara

On the way to Pokhara

On the way to Pokhara

On the way to Pokhara

On the way to Pokhara

Bhaktapur

Bhaktapur

Durbar Square Kathmandu

Durbar Square Kathmandu

Boudhanath

Things you probably shouldn’t do when in Nepal

1. Eat from a roadside stand

This is a big no-no for me. I understand there are adventurous people who like to try everything, but for me adventure doesn’t really entail getting violently sick while touring Swayambhunath temple and desperately looking for a bathroom while monkeys eye me suspiciously. No matter how inviting those snacks might look, I strongly suggest to pass it up. (tip: don’t try to pet the monkeys while at Swayambhunath – it probably won’t end well, for you)

2. Ride on top of the public bus

When I went to Pokhara I saw this tourist ride on top of the bus heading the same way. The road to Pokhara is a winding 200 km road where trucks stop for no one and nothing. Buses as well. They drive like crazy and not rarely does a bus fly across the cliff and into the river. Riding those buses is a lottery, and riding on the roof of those buses is a suicide, at least for a tourist. Poor girl I saw on top of that bus to Pokhara looked so pale, holding onto her dear life probably thinking “what the hell did I get myself into!?”. I bet she kissed the ground when she finally got off 4 hours later. You don’t wanna do that to yourself.

3. Try to blend in

Let’s face it, unless you’re Indian, you’re probably never ever going to be able to blend in. You can learn Nepali, wear a saree, hop on the bike sitting sideways (if you’re a girl) in your flip-flops in the middle of December, but if you’re white, all your efforts are in vain. You will always stick out like a sore thumb, shining bright in the Nepali sun. And everyone will stare at you. Openly. And you’ll feel awkward. Until you decide to wave to people staring at you. Then they’ll feel awkward. Not that I’ve done that or anything.

4. Get frustrated with traffic

There is just no point. Traffic in Nepal is crazy and don’t try to understand it, or even worse correct it. I honestly think Nepalis enjoy the chaos of traffic in Kathmandu (minus Mr.B. who hates it beyond reason). Most of the time traffic gets so congested and people get so frustrated that only an army guy can settle problems. I found traffic police to be totally useless there. The most annoying thing is how people form gazillion lanes making the traffic even more congested.

Yup, traffic in K-city

Yup, traffic in K-city

5. Assume you’ll be able to eat toast in the morning

One of the great perks of living in Nepal, is having to deal with load shedding. Oh, the infamous load shedding. Be prepared for lots of quiet time sitting in the dark hoping you get sleepy soon. If there’s electricity do everything you possibly can that requires electricity at that time and don’t leave anything for later because the chances of you not being able to have toast for breakfast are high. You better be a fan of cereal with cold milk.

6. Force Nepalis to show up on time

It’s simply not happening. They all operate on Nepali time which is about 45 minutes behind the real time. So don’t expect your friends in Nepal to be there at the exact scheduled time. Well, actually, they are showing up on time, it’s you who’s early. Don’t fret over it because you might as well lose your mind soon. Grab a book and read or just do some good old people watching. Wave to everyone who stares at you. Help the army guy sort out the traffic jam. Or not.