There is so much more I should still write about Nepal, so much more to tell. So much more there is for you to know!
For example, the roads, which can best be compared to a bouncy castle, and they seem to always be working on them but never finish anything. I should also still tell you about how we both got sick just once before we came back to Kathmandu, and than we both became sick twice in a matter of ten days. I should mention that we are called mikalu/mikaru – round eye – as well as about the hastle and the hustlers.
I need to write down the six standardized English sentences all Nepali kids learn as soon as they go to school: Hello sister/brother! What is your name? Where are you from? Do you like Nepal? How are you? I am p-hine! And how it drives you crazy when you hear this all day every day. Nepali people are very friendly though, so you feel guilty when after a long day at work you rudely ignore them when someone shouts the above-mentioned sentences for the millionth time that day.
I also have not yet mentioned the difficulties they have pronouncing the letters D/V and F. It sounds respectively like B or a P-H (the letter P followed by a sigh).
Have I said yet that all the menus are the same? This does however not make deciding what you want to eat any less easy as the quality of the cooking is so different.
I haven’t written about the cow, yak, nak, buffalo or zobkey. Nor have I told you the first is holy, the second only lives over 3,000m, the third is the female version of the second (so it is impossible to have yak cheese, but that is still what it’s called anyway), the fourth can be found all over the country, and the fifth is a cross between the first and the second/third. Yet it is impossible to tell them apart if there are not standing next to each other.
I have also yet to talk about AMS (accute mountain sickness) better known as altitude sickness, and how Annapurna just has a few signs here and there, but in Everest ‘AMS can kill you!‘ Subsequently, I also need to mention that one of the ways to prevent AMS is to ‘recognize the symptoms’, but nowhere in Everest are these displayed. Ofcourse I do know what they are so I will include them here for those of you who aspire to follow in our footsteps. These are the initial symptoms (not to be confused with foodpoisoning):
I had a very mild case of AMS when climbing the last part of the Annapurna Basecamp, resulting in a minor headache that lasted for some eight hours. Stubbornly, I didn’t say a word and made it to the top (so to speak).
I haven’t said how fresh the tourists look in January. Most left before Christmas and started to come back after New Year’s, and you can tell them apart from us, the diehards. Having spend some weeks or months here, we now know the drill. We’ve developed proper bargaining skills and can – emotionally – deal with not showering for a week. The men grow beards for they no longer care; the ladies braid their hair like the Nepali women.
I also need to still talk about the traffic and the Nepali fashion style (or lack thereof). I haven’t even mentioned the time nani carressed my hand and said she wishes her skin was as white as mine. I also neglected to inform you when my brother bought a live chicken for R$350 (roughly €3,50), slaughtered and cooked it, and how delicious it tasted when we ate it. I haven’t mentioned that the only country Nepalis do NOT need a visa for is India, but we almost couldn’t get one for reasons still not entirely clear to either of us.
And still these are just a few of the many, many things I have yet to tell you, I guess. There probably are a hundred more things that we no longer even realize are different, amazing, annoying, weird, crazy, ridiculous and/or all of the above. As my brother put it we’ve now experienced the “Disneyland version of Nepal”: we have seen all the guidebooks tell you Nepal has to offer. We have been in Pokhara for sightseeing and yoga, trekked in Annapurna and Everest (which is officially called Sagarmatha), saw rhinos in Chitwan National Park, volunteered in the Chitwan region, and went around Kathmandu and its valley, but we haven’t seen a third of the country…
Will we be back? Probably. But we will go to the far west or the far east, to where no mikalu has gone before, where there are no guesthouses or motorized vehicles; where Nepal really is.
Now, having said all this, I think it’s safe to conclude that we have succeeded in Nepal. We are prepared to leave the light version behind and are ready to take on its Big Brother: WE HAVE NOW WALKED INTO INDIA!