Trippin' in the Rice

Trip Start Jul 25, 2011
Trip End Sep 01, 2011

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Flag of Nepal  ,
Tuesday, August 30, 2011

As it happens most of the times, the very last night was also the best experience in the country, and in my case, the whole world. Again, it didn't start well after an eight hour bus ride and a scorching hot sun bidding farewell to my days in Pokhara.

Of course it had to rain in the moment I stepped out of the bus. Not rain, an entire army of water drops that decided to come down right in the second I went to get my backpack from the luggage storage. Once again my precious yet useless goretex jacket was somewhere else, leaving me a bewildered wet mess trying to run to a dry side of the parking lot and dribbling the scavangers/taxi drivers taking advantage of the situation and refusing the normal price. As I was about to start screaming a kind soul agreed for the real price and took his 400 rupees to the outer ring of Patan. He even phoned the owner in order to find the building which was hidden behind a construction site, then went through the living monster of Kathmandu traffic and after a while we finally got there. Tipped his polite and friendly soul and finally reached my local homestay. The owner was not there, but her family welcomed me nonetheless. Dumped my stuff on the floor then went to bed (at 5pm) for a 11 hours well-deserved rest.

After waking up in the middle of the night I lighted a nearby switch and found a whole basket full of goodies that my tired eyes didn't notice at all: a tiny keychain doll with a personal room locker, a piece of paper with the passwords of the two local networks, a box of matches and a candle, a roll of toilet paper and a bottle of water. A welcome kit worth of the best hotels, if not for the price at least for the sweetness involved. I connected to the net just to reassure my mom that I wasn't being chopped alive, then used the inspiring candle to light up the atmosphere and inaugurate the beautiful incense burner. The brand proved itself truly RELAXING MADE BY BHUTANESE REFUGEES and I fell asleep again, awakening a couple of hours later at the gentle knocking of Sarita, the owner, inviting me to breakfast and maybe joining a tour to the nearby mountain villages.

Mountain villages! I quickly brushed my teeth using a finger (my poor toothbrush was eaten alive by Pokhara ants, don't ask me what on Earth they found to eat on that) and swallowed half of the toothpaste on my way to the living room, where the other guests had just finished breakfast and ready to go. Two Finnish and an Australian, all girls, introduced themselves and got their stuff together as I gulped milk tea and some roasted potatoes. No time for chewing, the mountains are awaiting!

Sarita took us at first to a tour of the old hidden parts of Patan, including the homes of some of her relatives, which were all very welcoming without being overbearing nor fake. True Nepalese hospitality. Bumped my head a couple of times on the low wooden ceilings but didn't mind at all, since it was like visiting a living museum. Something was even boiling and filling up the air with steam, enhancing the scent of wood and dust that permeated the place.

Later we went to a couple of local temples where we were told about the differences between Indian and Nepalese religions, and how the shrines and votive stones around the town worked. At the end of the citytour we were ready to take the bus from Patan to the nearby hills, where a festival was being held in the area of Bungamati.

The Kumari, living Goddess was nonetheless our ambassador to the mountains! Sarita explained how there are nine of them in the whole of Nepal, and how just the ones living in the mountains had a chance to attend school and have a more normal life in comparison to the one in Kathmandu, sheltered until puberty or a cut in her skin that would make her impure and able to go back to her life. Privileged people aren't so lucky after all.

A Newari lunch later, we were on our way to the Kali temple on the other side of the valley, which meant crossing the rice fields and cultivated hills. What a beautiful yet tiring sight, I fell right into a pool of mud twice (I saved both camera and phone so whatever) while my travelmates just once each. I guess it's a women's thing not to lose balance but every sort of personal item instead.

Reaching the next village, soaked wet with mud and sweat we had the chance to see a sacrifice of the Goddess Kali- and skipped it. Not in the mood to see a duck beheaded, sorry. He's welcome into my plate of momo later when he's just called "meat momo", but not a chance to make me feel a guilty carnivore westerner until then.

A bus jumping all over the dirt track called "road" later, we reached Sarita's home and we said goodbyes. Everybody was pretty devastated by the day but damn happy. See the pictures and you will understand why.

Leaving for Frankfurt via Doha tomorrow, see you there!

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