We absolutely love Nepal. The flight into Kathmandu gave us a good view of the landscape from the sky, which was beautiful. A lush green valley surrounded by mountains that eventually lead to the Himalayas. What seemed so peaceful from the sky changed quickly into a bustling, poverty-stricken city. The cab ride to our hotel was wild, dirt roads; small stalls lining the streets, dirty water, trash, the sounds of horns and dust. At first we were completely jetlagged, sleeping during the day and staying up all night. We stayed in Thamel district so we could go apply for our Indian Visa. The visa office was a whole experience in itself; imagine going to the DMV in a foreign country but worse. Thankfully it went fairly well and we were told to come back in a week to drop off our passports.
With some time to spare we hit the road and went about six hours away to Pokhara. Pokhara sits in a valley on a beautiful lake with the Himalayan Mountains towering overhead. We spent three days there hanging out by the lake and drinking the best Nepalese Chai-Tea. After three days we decided it was time to move on and went to a little village up on a hilltop called Bandipur.
Bandipur was hard to get to but we have found throughout our trip that the little remote villages that are off the beaten path always seem to be our favorite places. Bandipur had one single road that weaved through the village with guesthouses, cafes, little shops, and shrines lining the street. The people were very friendly here and we had the chance to hang out with a few locals. There were some school children here that we had the chance to take pictures of, they loved looking at themselves on the camera’s little screen. While we took the pictures they would all do a very serious face and then when we showed them their photo on the back of the camera they would bust up giggling, it was really funny. The evening we spent in Bandipur was one we will never forget. We ate the Nepalese local dinner, which they call, “dhal baht” at a beautiful hotel situated overlooking the hillside and Himalayas beyond. The dhal baht usually consists of rice, vegetable curry, chicken curry, lentil soup, pickled vegetables, more vegetables, and some yogurt to cool your mouth down if it is too spicy for you. We could see into the kitchen as the cute older woman cooked us our meal and it was some of the best food either of us have ever had. The power was out in the whole village during our dinner and this made our meal even more special because we dinned by candlelight. This was one of our favorite moments in Nepal.
We left early the next morning and headed back to Kathmandu to finally get our visas situated for India. Kathmandu is a paradise for the mountaineer. You can buy any knock off mountaineering gear imaginable. Shoes, tents, jackets, vest, water bottles, bag covers, hiking poles, rain jackets, can be found in one of the stores in the Thamel district of Nepal. The last couple days we spent in Kathmandu a large Hindu festival was going on. We were lucky that we were there to experience this amazing event. Hindus from all over Nepal gathered at temples and in squares to celebrate the end of the monsoon season and ask their gods for luck with the upcoming harvest. We visited some of the spots in town where the celebrations were being held. It was unlike anything either of us had ever seen. We were blessed with a red dot on our foreheads and received the special yellow and red string bracelets for good luck. The people at the festival were very friendly and happy to share their culture and religion with us. It was definitely something neither of us will ever forget. It is always interesting how we adapt to our surroundings, what seemed so busy, loud, dirty, and crazy at first now goes by our car windows with a sense of normalcy. Now we are flying to New Delhi, India. We are anxious to see what India will bring. Nepal was a good introduction to this area of the world but India will be something completely different.