Travel theme: Brown was Ailsa’s prompt for this week’s theme. It is an interesting theme for me, especially after she mentioned that the color brown usually symbolizes poverty or plainness. It’s true that in Nepal those colors actually do symbolize those things. Walking barefoot and begging for change, young and older alike stand on the dirty brown roads of Kathmandu.
My favorite brown photo though was this “bicycle RV” Very cool and ingenious.
A few other more interesting brown photos that are not all exactly brown in the photos but are definitely brown in real life.
Brown narrow alleys
Brown cafe in Thamel
Though this looks more grey than brown… if you run your hands across the statue you will definitely have to wash browns off of your hands.
This week I’m going to be tackling two different challenges. Height from Ailsa’s Where’s my Backpack and Childlike from the Daily post. Easy peasy after visiting the Monkey Temple in Kathmandu. Between thousands of stairs and hundreds of monkeys, I think I got it covered.
Being new to Nepal, I’m very unsure of getting around. I’ve been taking taxi’s and walking so far. Everything seems very far away from where I live. I’m sure as I am here longer, things will start to feel closer. I went with some friends to Swayambhunath Stupa (स्वयम्भूनाथ स्तुप) also known as the Monkey Temple. I didn’t realize it while in the back of a taxi zipping past cycles, people and cars (sometimes on the left and sometimes on the right side of the road) but this is actually only about a 20 minute walk from Thamel which is located about a 15 minute walk from my apartment. I will try to walk it at some point, but need to get my bearings first.
This temple is a great tourist site as well as a place that many Buddhists and Hindus from around the world visit. It sits above the city with amazing panoramic views that you reach after climbing over 365 uneven steps.
Along the climb you can see dozens of monkeys at play or scavenging food and hoarding it from the many dogs. The monkeys are considered Holy though to me they appeared to be from the same typical mischievous monkey family that I have witnessed the world over. However, there were moments I did in fact wonder if they were not of a higher level.
The complex houses several stupas, temples and shrines and along the route there are active prayer rituals occurring and prayer candles being lit. The colorful prayer flags are everywhere as are several stalls hawking everything from prayer flags to etched stones. Both young and old make this trek and it really is well worth it. After enjoying a light lunch with some fresh juice and Nepali tea we headed back down to the bottom.
It was definitely an amazing place to visit and I will be back as I wasn’t able to visit the other stupas and points of interest that are attached to this one. You can complete the visit to this stupa in less than 1/2 a day or you can spread it out over an entire day if you have the time.
It’s so pleasant!
Sun Smiling For you…
Trees Dancing for you…
Birds singing for you…
Because I requested them All to wish You. HAPPY DASHAIN
Well, It is the only quote I could find and understand for this 15 day festival in Nepal called Dashain. Dashain (Nepali: दशैं) Dashain is celebrated for approximately 15 days and involves prayers (pujas), food offerings, holy bathing, blessings through coconut oil and the sacrifice of thousands of animals including several hundred thousand goats, chickens, buffaloes, ducks and pigeons by almost every Hindu household in order to appease the goddess and hope it will bring good luck and festivity.
There is a movement towards ending the sacrifice of animals for this festival and the numbers have actually dropped over the past few years. However, it is a cultural event that still continues and I was able to attend one such happening at the start of this festival. This particular sacrifice was a puja for automobiles and safe driving.
It was an interesting experience. I was not bothered so much by the slaughter of the goats because after the puja the goats were used to actually feed families. Nothing went to waste and people felt safer driving.
Along with the puja I was able to walk through the city which was nearly empty according to the locals. Apparently during the festival most people travel back to their local villages to visit their families. At the time I walked through the city over 2 million people had already headed home. I am including some photos from the day from sacrifices to parades I hope you enjoy.
The weekly photo challenge this week was “Good Morning“!! This is the first morning I could wake up at a decent hour, look out my window with relatively clear skies and see something quite lovely. I loved the mountains in the distant.
After having my coffee I decided to go for a short stroll through some alleys and down to a market to get some much needed food in my house. I spotted a beautiful rain catcher. I”m not sure if this was a natural water filtration system or just something pretty.
Apparently Saturday morning is laundry day.
I know in my last post (1st impressions – Nepal) I did post a solitary photo of a cow in the market but I still really thought the rumors of cows randomly wandering the streets might be an over-exaggeration. Apparently it’s not. I hope you enjoy my cows ruling the world take for an early morning stroll that turned into an early evening return. Cows, cows everywhere. Have a great day.
Cow napping in front of coffee shop
Brunch with baby
OK babe, time to go home
Get out of my way, I’m on a mission
I don’t know who this guy is
I’m going to pretend I don’t notice you.
This ain’t good
OK now I know who this guy is
OK OK we’re going home.
Evening snack in the middle of the road
Horns are honking but the cow ain’t impressed
Horns are still honking.. whole herd of cows just walking.
Well, here I am in Nepal. Just a quick connection to share some of my first thoughts about life in Nepal. Please understand I have only been from my house to my work and at one small event in between. I hope you enjoy.
I arrived in Nepal about 10:30 pm on a Friday night after spending a week in Hong Kong with a dear friend and her family. Even though I had been in this time zone for almost a week, of course I still felt a little tired. I got dropped off with a notice that I would be picked up at about 10:30 am to do some shopping. My sponsor took me to breakfast and to the grocery and then I came back home. I didn’t get a huge opportunity to take photos on the first day. I was just a little jet lagged and forgot my camera.
On Sunday I awoke to the sound of “We will We will Rock YOU!!” Sung in English and performed by several young children outside my back patio. I found out very quickly that Nepalese people have a 6 day work/school week. I was a bit of a fanatic with some picture-taking at this time from my balcony. Some of the teachers began to quietly talk and look at me and point. I later found out that all of the American’s in the building were standing on the patio snapping photos as well.
Singer of “We will Rock YOU!”
School behind my apartment
Loved these imaged of the students in black and white
Young girl joining Monday morning Karate class.
I was picked up again at about 10:30 to tour a few things that were important to our time in Nepal. On this day after once again going to a local diner I managed to make it to a market. It was a bit dirty with the vegetables strewn on the ground or even on little dirty mats. Apparently during the monsoon season here everyone had been advised not to eat any of the lettuce or leafy greens because there was some sort of parasite in them that even the bleach people commonly wash their veggies and fruits with was not killing it. I’ve chosen to try a more natural method of cleansing by using “grapefruit seed extract”. I used this all through the two years I was in Venezuela and I never got sick. Several people here are also using it and have stated that they have yet to get sick.
Fear not, the fruits and veggies that are not consumable do not go to waste. A random passing cow will stop and nibble on what is there. Cows here have more rights than people and they have the right away in the streets as well. So I’ve been told.
random cow in market
Speaking of right of way…I’m not sure who has it on the streets. You drive on the left side of the road but in reality you drive in the middle of the road and people pass on each side of you coming in each direction. This is exactly the reason I will not be driving but depending on someone else to do that for me.
These final shots are some random ones I took from my rooftop and the rooftop of a neighbors. I hope you have enjoyed this introduction to Nepal. Feel free to stop in any time.
View from roof
Related articles and a bit of a cheat from the weekly challenges that I feel this blog might sort of address