as nepal is the country with the most prominent share of the himalayan mountains, we had great expectations. when we heard that they also had fantastic jungles in the south with elephants, tigers and rhinos we were even more excited.
thomas schrom made us a map and off we went on a hired motorbike. stephan was very brave, sitting in the back although i had not been on a bike in years and although the streets did not always sport any surface that seemed rideable. the trip was fantastic and we did not mind at all that the mountains hid constantly behind thick fog, we also did not mind that the tigers and rhinos and the wild elephants had better things to do than to hang out in front of our eyes and cameras. we saw a spider and a lizzard though.
instead we did spent some time talking with nepalis. we got to explain that there is neither an emperor nor a relevant maoist party in austria, we had a lively discussion on the merits of arranged marriages (our conversational partners, a couple that was living in an arranged marriage, loved the mutual respect and understanding, that supposedly is the advantageous result of arrangement rather than love).
thanks to thomas we got to spend the holiday of divali at the home of a local family. there we witnessed the slaughtering of a chicken (which we ate right after) and listened to the children of the village as they performed songs, which is a divali tradition. in the end of the evening we all slept in their house, which is mostly one room on three floors. great experience.
the father of the family frequently has to walk to work (whenever public transport is not working), which takes him via a dirt path down the mountain and through the kathmandu valley for four and a half hours. talking about his work he had a laid back attitude explaining that his wife made more money than he did last month by making raksi (the traditional home made liquor) and selling a goat on the market…
finally we got our energy together and started on a little trek into the mountains. again, for the first two days there was the fog we were used to in the meanwhile. while hiking over a 5000 meter mountain pass the fog even turned into quite a snowstorm and into icy cold. and finally, the next day, we got up early into clear and sunny weather, walked over a little ridge and suddenly right in front of us there were all the mountains one can ask for, the annapurnas, the manaslu, the himal ganesh, the whole tibetan himalayas, the lang tang mountain range and for sure a lot of other mountains we cannot name out of ignorance.
off the mountains and wanting to get back to kathmandu, a general strike had stopped all traffic (one maoist fraction is not so happy with the upcoming election). finally we found space in a jeep and were taken over the mountains back into the valley. on the way, the driver hit a motorbike which was transporting two gigantic sacks of freshly harvested peanuts. while our driver and the motorcylist discussed agitatedly whose fault the accident had been, our driver picked up peanuts that had fallen out of the sack and was happily snacking away. once he had realised we were watching all this, he started collecting more and handing them into the jeep for all his passengers. the argument ended in a friendly enough nod. nepalis seem to be the most relaxed people i have ever come by.
for seeing the good photos as usual go to nikoundstephan.wordpress.com