A Walk through Kathmandu and Pokhara

posted in: Chris, Mom's Musings | 0

After we made it out of the trekking region and back to Kathmandu, we took a bus the next morning to Pokhara to spend a week just chilling out.

 

It was incredibly relaxed after our adventures and compared to Kathmandu. We literally just watched Netflix, slept late, ate good food with few stomach issues finally, and did some souvenir shopping for family. We caught up on some school and visited the International Mountain Museum. It wasn’t that bad, but pretty pitiful compared to museums in the developed world.

A section about the Yeti legend included these interesting models.

We learned about the local cultures we had come in contact with and a lot about the effects of climate change on the region. One of the biggest issues locally was black carbon, which unfortunately lead to multiple days of haze blocking the view of the gorgeous mountains surrounding the region.

 

Outside the museum was seriously sketchy climbing wall that we decided to skip and a replica of the Manaslu peak.

Walden had more fun around the back, climbing as he was cheered on by the locals.

The Phewa lakeside area was really pretty, and we enjoyed one of our best meals of the trip here at Deja Vu.

We also went to the local Movie Garden, which was a hillside outdoor movie theater that served pizza too! We watched Inception with the kids there. Chris and I returned for a date a few nights later, while the kids watched netflix in the room. Finally, we took the bus back to Kathmandu, well rested and ready for the next section of our trip. We had one more day in Kathmandu. As the kids and I watched Kong and Beauty and the Beast at the local movie theater (both movies for all of us cost less than $10), Chris took one last stroll around Kathmandu. We also wanted to share some of the interesting things we’ve noticed in India and Nepal. Hope you enjoy.

You must ask for your bill at restaurants, they do not just bring to the table when you look like you’re finished.

Checking in at the airport has an insane amount of pat downs, boarding pass checks, tags, and stamps. You have to prove you have a ticket to enter the airport, and we were checked no less than 10 times before we were allowed on the plane with usually at least 2 pat downs. When we spoke to our new Indian friends, they explained this is primarily about providing jobs for people. We also discovered although you walk through multiple metal detectors in developing countries, they are rarely ever headed or the results noticed.

Hacking, spitting, and snot rockets (sorry, I don’t know what else to call them) seem totally acceptable here. Everyone – men, women, and children do this a lot in public. Of course, the dusty roads are not great for respiratory things.

Traffic rules are just suggestions until the police officer decides to randomly enforce them and then efforts at a bribe ensue.

Most hotels provide flip flops for occupants to wear inside the restroom, since in general the entire bathroom stays wet from the open shower. Often, the toilet area is also wet because they use a bucket and cup or spray water for hygiene, not toilet paper. It is important to remember this, because if you leave toilet paper in there, it will be soaked; and never go into a bathroom with just your socks on.

Lines are practically nonexistent. You just push your way forward and try to be the loudest if ordering. Toilets really caught Ella and I off guard. If a line is unavoidable, they line up in front of each individual toilet, not at the entrance to the toilets. It took us a little while to figure out the system one time, and we were in there forever.

Women in India almost always where a sash or scarf. Nepalese women almost always wear a shawl since it tends to be colder. House work does not deter the Indian women from working in brilliant colors, with very feminine flowing material or veils.

Garbage is usually burned on the side of the road. Trash pick up seems to be an incredibly rare luxury. They do not do paper products much at all. No kleenex, toilet paper, paper towels were found most places, which is good since disposal is much more difficult.

A bindi refers to the red dot worn on the centre of the forehead close to the eyebrows. Bindi in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism is associated with the sixth, the seat of “concealed wisdom.” In meditation, this spot is where one focuses his/her sight, so that it helps concentration. However, the bindi is worn purely for cosmetic or styles purposes without any religious or cultural affiliation. Sometimes, you will also see the sindoor, which is another form used by married women along the parting of their hair. Use of sindoor indicates that a woman is married in Hindu communities, and ceasing to wear it usually implies widowhood.

Modesty for women seems to be focused from the waist down. You will often catch a glimpse of a ladies stomach, shoulders, and back. However, from the waist down they wear nothing form-fitting or revealing. Salwar kameez is very common in the cities of Nepal as well as India. In northwestern India, the lehenga (embroidered, pleated long skirt), choli (midriff-bearing blouse), and dupatta (similar to veil and draped like sari) are more common. Saris are common throughout. In the larger cities, such as Delhi, Mumbai, Kathmandu, women seemed to wear similar western dress as us.

The men are much more affectionate to each other than I’ve noticed at home. They tend to put an arm around each other, hold hands, or just in general drape on each other in camaraderie.

Almost everyone I ask has had a motorbike accident. They seem to be a little disturbed by my scars, especially my foot. They frequently ask me what happened, and I wonder if they are concerned I have a skin disease.

Trying to find a t-shirt to replace the one ripped a part on the motorbike accident!

A lot of us Westerners must look like aliens. Nanny, this is Tyler’s pic 😉

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