Postcards from Nepal

I visited Nepal in the monsoon season. Each day seemed to follow the same pattern; I’d wake up to a beautiful, clear blue sky, spend the morning in disbelief that the weather could ever change, then spend the afternoon running for cover, marvelling at just how much water could fall from the sky in just a few hours. Somehow, the word ‘rain’ just doesn’t cut it. This is not get-your-umbrella-out-and-carry-on weather, it is all-consuming precipitation that floods the ground, churns the earth into a thick orange paste and then just… stops. Suddenly and without warning, leaving people to dry out, pick up where they left off, and carry on until the same happens tomorrow.

Life in Nepal is chaotic and colourful. Crowds bustle along narrow Kathmandu streets, everyone hurrying, avoiding the insistent calls of vendors advertising their wares. Women chatter animatedly with friends, their clothing a vibrant rainbow of colours and wrist bangles glittering in the sun. The roads are a jumble of tuk tuks, taxis and buses, all jostling for space and blaring their horns in mutual agitation at the animals that sit stubbornly in the middle. Sitting on the pavement, a sadhu, forehead brightly painted and eyes closed in meditation, seemingly unaware of the chaos that surrounds.

Shift to Bhaktapur, the city of devotees. Temples loom over the maze of cobbled streets, each one different yet intricately designed in some kind of architectural showcase. Passers-by leave offerings at shrines that seem to appear on every corner. Clay pots dry out in the sun, families bathe and wash their clothes in communal spaces, while elderly relatives look on from the balconies of the surrounding homes.

And then you leave the city behind. The hills beckon, and all around you the scene unfolds into a panorama of rolling countryside and lush foliage. The road winds through the landscape, taking you through tiny villages where men gather to play cards in the sun, and the only sound is the bleating of goats in the distance. As you climb higher, the air grows colder and the fog descends. The foothills of the Himalayas are dotted with tiny houses, dwarfed by the enormity of the mountains that tower above. And then the clouds break, just for a moment, and you see it. Everest.

These are my postcards from Nepal.

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