Nepal, part ii: the bad.

Okay, finally: on to the bad stuff about Nepal.

First: it’s unbelievably dirty. There’s garbage everywhere (I had a lot more pictures than I fit into this post), and there’s not plumbing everywhere, so in addition to the smell of garbage, there are other, equally unpleasant, smells.

The next thing is obvious, but needs explicit noting: the lack of creature comforts. I know that’s supposed to be part of the charm, but I must be immune to it. Somehow, dirty water and spotty electricity just don’t appeal to me. Add to that the constant risk of foodborne illness, the fear of poor medical care, unsafe tap water, having to turn on a big gas tank in the bathroom for hot water…

only at the very end of my trip did someone bag this garbage. before that, it was sprawled out all over the street, just near a row of school outhouses.

SO. MUCH. YELLING. And other noise, too: Every morning at like 6:30 the woman next door would do puja, which involved her sing-chanting and ringing this godawfully shrill bell for several straight minutes. DINGDINGDINGDINGDINGDINGDINGDINGDINGDINGDINGDINGDINGDING. To be fair: I’m not saying I think she shouldn’t have done it (as if my annoyance were more important than her religion), just that I found it really annoying. Definitely something I’d have to get used to if I spent more time there. (Nic seemed to not even register it.)

stray (read: unclean) dogs ... not dead, despite appearances, just sleeping during the day

The next thing is admittedly silly, but the whole time I was there I was afraid there would be an earthquake and whatever building I was in would crash and I would die a sad, hot, dirty death away from my family. Turns out we missed it by only a little while (it happened a couple of weeks ago, and turns out it wasn’t as bad as was predicted).

more garbage

It’s also horrible to be a tourist because there aren’t a whole lot of them, especially not in the area we were staying, and there are no social taboos against staring. Hello Sartre, hello alienation.

a thin layer of grime coats everything (especially you)... and this is with a weekly cleaning lady

A contingent fact about my trip was that Nic’s friends came to visit from India and basically needed a lot of hand-holding, as they’d never left India or really been tourists before. They basically seemed to just want to visit Nic, not Kathmandu. They weren’t really interested in the food or sites. They also had crazy dietary restrictions and were very unclear about their plans, both what they wanted and what they intended to do. (Culture clash: “Let’s meet at 7” meant “Let’s meet sometime after the sun sets, you know, whenever though.”)

munna: the strong, silent type... who wouldn't stop listening to backstreet boys on his phone.

Also, getting ripped off because you’re a tourist. That’s always nice. Even though Nic had been living there for a long time and speaks fluent Tibetan, he’s white. So suck it, us.

manoj: the jovial hindu ewok (<-- come ON, right???)

The streets are scary because in many places, there aren’t sidewalks and people ride by on their loud, fast little motorcycles and don’t really care that you’re in the street. Also the traffic is just insane. There aren’t discernible traffic laws (or anyone to enforce them), and it seems like sides of the road and right of way are more driving heuristics than anything else.

that was a nice motorcycle, but there are lots of fast, mean crotch-rocketeers, too...

Anyway, that’s enough being a downer for now. I can’t leave on that note, so here’s one more picture of a dog – not stray – who was just a fluffy little ball of love and adorbz:

he was chewing on nic's shoelaces a little bit, too.

Next up: the weird!


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