A Very Different Flag

Trip Start Jan 03, 2012
Trip End May 02, 2013

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Flag of Nepal  ,
Wednesday, November 14, 2012

It was a long, slow, painful bus ride back to the capital. Along the way, women performed the daily rituals of collecting water in large vessels and washing at the taps in front of their homes.  The romance of simple lives, colourful markets and clothing clashed with derelict dwellings and downright disgusting filth.  With India on the horizon, we were a little worried about an even more intense shock to the senses.

From viewing the calendar and talking to locals, it seemed that every other day or week was a festival or holiday and an excuse to party.  Around festival times, astounding amounts of time, energy and money go into cultivating and arranging flowers and lights to decorate every haphazardly built establishment.  Logically, it could all be much better spent cleaning up the country or working together toward a higher living standard.  But logic always takes a back seat, or, more likely, gets dragged behind the bumper of every exhaust-spewing vehicle.  Is it better to celebrate what little you have and toss the leftover garbage outside or plan a better future for coming generations?  Couldn't some sort of balance be struck between the two?

The bus dropped us off in a strange location and our pick up was once again nowhere to be found.  We tried to orient ourselves, but finally broke down and hopped in a taxi to the office of Himalayan Magic.  We expressed our displeasure, then Nirmal apologized and paid us back for the taxi fares we'd incurred due to his miscommunications.  His right hand man Pasan helped us check into the Kathmandu Prince Hotel.

Craving different tastes, we decided to split up for a very late lunch.  Sylvia took her third crack at Yinglang for chicken momos, vegetable thukpa and a papaya lassi for about $3.50.  Jason went back to Thakali Kitchen for his last, and most outstanding, bottomless dal bhat for $2 including a masala tea.

Later on we became extremely frustrated with India's train booking 'system', which only allowed foreigners to book online after registering, sending in passport copies and waiting for them to grant access.  We knew we'd saved the hardest country for last, but the transportation alone appeared impossible to comprehend.  Through another stroke of seemingly unbelievable luck, Sylvia contacted Ted, a Canadian who we'd met in Laos and Thailand, and he helped us out immensely by letting us use the account he'd created earlier in the year.

The Diwali festivities continued into the night with loud music, singing and dancing in the streets.  Jason made two more trips to Hot Breads, our favourite Kathmandu bakery, before leaving town.  Jason's favourite was the 85 rupee ($1) spinach quiche while Sylvia fell for the cinnamon rolls and chocolate croissants.  Jason also picked up another pair of 'Nepali North Face' pants and a couple of other small, irresistibly cheap items.  Sylvia called her parents on the Gmail phone.  They were catching up on the recent blog posts and happy to hear from us.

Pasan got us into a taxi and Sylvia gave him her old mitts, which he appreciated.  At the airport we went through more security checks than we could count.  There were separate lines for ladies and gents, complete with pat-downs by guards of the appropriate gender.  With that we left behind the only nation we know of that doesn't have a rectangular flag.

With over 150 people visiting every day, it was our hottest week on the blog by a wide margin.  Perhaps it was due to our abstention from posting updates during the trek.  It was heartwarming to know that so many were following along from so far away.
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Jinnie on

Wow - 150 readers plus. You have quite the fan base!

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