I'm writing this from a clean white bed in a guest house in Kathmandu, the light bulbs in the wall sconces giving the room a warm light, rain pouring lightly outside the open window. It has been a wonderful reprieve in Nepal so far -- getting out of overwhelming and exhausting Dhaka after four weeks of crowds and stares. When I first arrived in Dhaka, I was a little annoyed to find that the Grameen Bank internship is really best for three weeks, rather than the six suggested online. After four weeks at the bank and running out of things to do, two other interns and I decided to take our last week in Bangladesh and go to Nepal. We were relatively close after all and when will I be back on this side of the world? ;)
Homero (Mexico), Paola (Italy), and I set off for the airport and made it to Kathmandu around 2:30 pm, after a few hilarious moments of disbelief over the fact that Nepal is 15 minutes ahead of Dhaka... Since when can a time change be 15 minutes?! The Kathmandu airport was basic but pretty, and clean, and it was so rejuvenating to hear beautiful Nepalese people saying "Namaste" (meaning literally 'I bow to you', a respectful greeting and salutation used in India and Nepal).
Our guest house is actually very nice, quaint. The owner got us coffee when we arrived and then was very pushy for us to buy bus tickets and treks from his tour company. It is like that here -- they are much more familiar with tourists because Kathmandu is a starting point for Everest treks. Still, there aren't an overabundance of tourists and we still get stared at a bit. The alleys and streets of Thamel, Kathmandu's tourist district, are packed with colorful shops selling pashmina scarves, woven bags, yak blankets, beads of every size and color, paper lanterns, elephant carvings, and more. It is enough just to feast your eyes. We passed a five foot tall temple tucked into the side of the street and a few steps later got a whiff of the perfumes and incense offered.
Later, it started to rain so we picked our way through the evening streets. It felt like home. Cool, with drizzling rain and the night sky and bright storefronts lining the wet gravel- filled road. We wandered for a while until we found a Thakali kitchen, an authentic Nepalese place our guest house recommended. It was a basic upstairs room with locals and a few tourists gathered, Christmas lights edging the windows open to the streets below. We had fried and steamed vegetable momos, which were spicy as always, and apple cinnamon momos for dessert. So delicious. (Though the vegetable momos did make my eyes water they were so hot). Then we did a little window shopping as we picked our way back home on the quiet streets. Quiet. No hordes of people like Dhaka. And blessedly cool. Tomorrow we head to Pokhara, a city seven hours away that is the starting point for treks in the Annapurna mountains (of the Himalayan range).
I'm a twenty-something from the Pacific NW making home in new places as I follow where God leads.
My intent is to show Christ's love to the world and use business to solve some of the social problems we face: hunger, illiteracy, healthcare, economic hardship. For now, I'm in a stage of learning. A little adventuring, a few books, some good friends, and a whole lot of prayer and life runs on.