They refer to India as Incredible India. Nepal is incredible too, as well as mystical, intriguing, and colorful. It was similar to India, but with some stark differences that I noticed. For example, the Nepalese seem to practice both Hinduism and Buddhism. I did not even know that this was a thing until I went there. In fact, it is apparently even a taboo subject to talk about. I was told over dinner by a drunk Nepalese man that “I should not ask this question” (but he was after all drunk, as well as friends with the douche hostel manager that screwed me and another Westerner over-more on that later). I believe when I spoke to my host sister of the family who later took me in (due partially to the actions of the hostel manager, my bank, Visa, and the embassy), that they “worship both”.
If you go there, you will see statues of the Buddha as well as Hindu gods and goddesses like Kali. (See photos below). In fact upon my arrival in Kathmandu via bus, I was greeted with giant statues of the Buddha and what I believe is a Hindu god near a temple. It was quite interesting seeing icons of both religions, sitting in close proximity together.
I was quite stubborn about going to Nepal as I had just been very sick in India, but only had a small window of time to go there then go back to India where I would catch my flight back to the states, so I decided to hack it. While on the bus I got violently ill and threw up all my dinner, then developed a chest cold. I guess this was because I didn’t allow myself enough rest time after I had been so sick with the stomach ailment. The South African woman sitting next to me, who was going to Lumbini, the birth place of the Buddha, was quite kind and even held up a bag for me to vomit in. And before all of this happened this drunk Indian man in the seat across from me kept trying to hit on me by leaning over and staring it me. It was quite the ride.
I had a feeling that things weren’t going to work out for me in Nepal on the bus there, and I was halfway right. But often things not working out in certain aspects lead to other amazing, serendipitous things happening in turn, like when you get stranded and rescued by an amazing Nepalese family that I now consider dear friends and am connected with on Facebook.
Upon first arriving there I banded together with some other Western tourists and we all decided to stay at the same hostel. Beyond locals, there really is nothing like the other Western people you meet when you are traveling and the experiences you share together. I find it very easy to chat with Westerners I meet while traveling, better than I can at home, as there is something about knowing that you are all in the same boat together . While I later got peeved for what I believed was them ignoring me at a dinner we had one evening, the other times with them were great. The first day there we walked through the monkey temple and I’ve never been so up close and personal to these primates in my life. I was a bit scared at one point, haha. We also bonded a bit over dinner and beer that first night and I developed kind of a crush on one of the British guys in our group.
I got part of my hair put into dreads in Nepal at a tattoo shop on Freak street, a cool hippie street and part of what is known as a hippie area of Kathmandu and one of the hippie destinations in the world. I met a cool Spanish woman before I decided to do this and she had her hair in dreads. I had been thinking about doing it for quite some time and seeing her hair inspired me to finally take the plunge. But the first dreads they put in I didn’t like, so I went back and got some more that were thicker. I was too afraid at that point to put all of my hair in dreads so I didn’t which led to me looking like kind of an idiot.
When I think about what led me to being stranded, I reference the title “A Series of Unfortunate Events”. The women who rescued though said it “was one of the God things” and in “God’s script”, which even writing it now sends chills down my spine and makes me tear up, because I believe it is true. Whether or not it was exactly supposed to go down that way, or the divine stepped in, or it was pure luck, it still made my trip the most memorable of my life thus far, along with India.
On the way back to India (which I did by the skin of my teeth), I got to see Mt. Everest on in the distance through the plane ride. I sobbed as I had actually purchased a mountain flight earlier to see it up close, and it had gotten canceled due to weather. Apparently they get canceled all the time and its actually quite dangerous. I was so sad I missed it. Even so, I got to see it on the flight back and it was a very emotional experience for me. At that moment I told myself that my life could end right then and I would be satisfied. It sounds kind of cheesy but something about seeing the tallest, most notorious mountain in the world had me awestruck, dumbfounded and deeply grateful.
In fact, I am grateful for all that happened in my time in Nepal, and I know that there are more incredible times to come for which I will be grateful. I hope to write about them on the Rogue Intrepid.