Kathmandu: I Never Said Goodbye

Because I didn’t like it there. It was an extension of India. Even when you take away the spitting and the staring, it wasn’t very nice staying there. Barring Thamel, it wasn’t good; and the people in Thamel were good because obviously, at the end of the day, they want your money.

I started the new year with a police complaint because “boys will be boys.” Worst of all, a man accosted me and my sister that Nepal isn’t India and we shouldn’t make a big deal if a guy was misbehaving with me and my sister. Well, that is what I got from the general sense of how people were, including the fact that the “western notion of manners” seems to be lost when excuse me means nothing and people would rather shove you away even on an empty footpath.

I have the same complaint with India, but Nepal isn’t great to the tourists either. The only people I might have come across could have been not so good, and I shouldn’t be judging the entire demographic on the basis of a small percentage of your people, but the government system wasn’t great either. I was told to not reveal to people that I work with a human rights organisation, one that specifically focuses on torture, because the police don’t like us. I was scared, and later I personally dealt with cases of human rights workers being killed, them being a threat to the regime.

Anyhow, coming back here isn’t great either, but you have better expectations when you’re in a foreign land. Being nice to people ensures they come back.

Gargi

PS – And that’s not what an airport should look like. Or function.

Armchair Travel: South America

Welcome to the new year! I’m planning to start this new year with a place I have been so fascinated with for a very long time: South America. Despite all the Caribbean, Latin America, Central America mumbo-jumbo, I know that I would love to read South American literature. I am planning to visit the continent in an anti-clockwise circle, taking a twist in the middle, starting with French Guiana and ending in Chile.

Although my basic plan is to read one book per country, but if I like a country a lot, I might stay for longer (read more). I expect it in places like Chile since there is a vast amount of great books and I wouldn’t want to stubbornly miss out on them. This is how my journey goes: (I would like it to finish by end of March or the beginning of April)

French Guiana

Suriname

Guyana

Venezuela

Colombia

Ecuador

Peru

Bolivia

Paraguay

Brazil

Uruguay

Argentina

Chile

Kathmandu: The Hot and the Cold

Have you ever woken up in the morning to the sound of the birds, men clearing their throats like its the end of the world, a dog scratching his drawer and the general hum of your dorm room? You might have. Add to it the fact that the water is always too cold and you’re shaking while washing your face. The only respite, run to the common area upstairs and if you’re lucky, you’ll find a place where the sunlight reaches you. 10 to 4, it’s all good and sunny, and then the sky starts to grey. You put on your socks first, and very soon your mittens. Where you were lying down to read, it’s more comfortable drawing your knees to your chest. Bring the candle, and it gets better. Soon more people start joining and it gets comfortable, but dare not sit on the wooden bench or recline on the cold, blue wall.

You look around and there are joints being rolled, and beer mugs clinked. A couple of people just sit and chat, and the rest tire their eyes on their computer screens/Kindles. It’s time you order food here, because you’re too comfortable on the grey mat. You’ll eat on the street tomorrow. It’s getting colder, time for your hat and the woollen socks. Not everyone would agree, you’re just not used to the cold anymore. Maybe order a ginger tea, it will help your slowly receding voice.

Now go to bed, you’ve been here too long, some people want to sleep in the common area, their hormones spilling over. And tomorrow night, sleep earlier, you have work to do in the morning.

Gargi

Kathmandu: I’m here!

Day0/1: I reached Kathmandu one and a half hours back, and it seems nice. I’m planning to just walk around the city tomorrow and the figure out what to do. I’m waiting for Ankit to join me in a week, and Trikuti by Christmas.

Even if I get lazy to write, my Flickr will always be there.

xx
Gargi

PS – I’m posting this for the third time, once it almost went to another blog, and two, where I edited a post from 2012 and now am trying to retrieve it. My ancient words are gold.