Nepal

Namaste
At Sonauli we cross the border to Nepal. The formalities are quite easy and within 30 minutes we are in Nepal. And what a difference compared to India.Much less
horning and traffic. Also the people seems more friendly. A lot of people and children say hello to us with the word "Namaste" and folding their hands in front of their
chest and bowing their head a little forward. Namaste means welcome, hello but also goodbye and have a safe journey.
According to our map the short route to Pokhara is more beautiful but also in poor condition and sensitive to landslides. The other route is 120 km more in distance
so we decide to take the short way. The road meanders through the mountains, following the river. From above we have nice viewings of the valleys with the green
cultivated rice terraces. Only 70 km of the road is in poor condition and once a while there is a little landslide but that gives us no problems.
The same day we arrive in Pokhara. This little touristic town is famous for its trekking in the Annapurna mountain range. We want to do a 5 day trekking but the weather is getting worse. From some showers to real monsoonal thunderstorms. Thus we wait a few days, but there is no weather improvement. We fill our days looking at souvenir shops, see how the men play games on the street and exchange the dynamo on Udo's suzuki.

Every day on our way from the hotel to the city center we pas a hairdresser and the man asks every time if we want a haircut. Maybe tomorrow. On a sunday morning we finally go to the hairdresser for a haircut. The little wooden hut with a tin roof has two chairs and a broken mirror. Udo takes place on the wiggling chair. The man
looks for his scissor and starts to cut. Fast moves the scissor over his head. When he is finished he starts with a massage. Most of the hairdressers are also masseurs
and I can choose from head, neck, shoulder, back or complete body massage. A head massage will do. The man slaps his hands on Udo's bald scull a few times and
than tries to pull his head skin off. Moving my head in all directions and pulling with all his force. It is a strange feeling... And after a half hour Udo steps reborn and 2 inches taller outside...

After four days of continuous rain the sky clears up and we catch a spot of the 6997 m high Machhapuchhare. But after some minutes the view is vanishing behind the
clouds. After one week of rain we decide to go to Kathmandu. This year the monsoon is worse than other years, the people in Pokhara tell us. Yes, we notice...
When we want to go to Kathmandu the rain pours down. We put on our rain gear and leave Pokhara. Parts of the road are flooded and rivers are  formed next to the
road. Because of the water we cannot see the potholes and that makes riding a motorbike more dangerous. A truck driver misjudged the width of the road and the truck tumbled over.  
At midday the sky clears and we can take of our rain gear. At many places there is a lot of mud on the road, fallen from the hill sloops, but luckely the road is not 
locked. Later that day we arrive in Kathmandu. Slowly riding through the crowded traffic we reach the centre and find a nice hotel where we can park our suzuki's
safely.

The name Kathmandu comes from Kasta Mandap and means "wooden temple" in Newari. Dozens of wooden temples are located at Durbar Square and they have
beautiful carvings. We climb on one of the temples and have a nice view. We watch the street life go by. Three old women are cleaning the street, a grocer on a bicycle sells his vegetables and the rickshaws are racing over the square. A Sadhus is posing for some tourists. These eccentric "holy men" are barely dressed or wear colorful clothes and necklaces. Some shave their head and others never cut and wash their hair. They live ascetic, but want a lot of money if a tourist take a picture. No way
dude!



 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Durbar Square, Kathmandu

Sadhus, eccentric holy men

 

Pashupatinath, in the Kathmandu valley, is one of the most sacred places in the country. Here are the burning Ghats along the river. After burning the dead bodies the
ash is thrown in the Bagmati river. This river flows into the Ganges and has therefore the same meaning as Varanasi in India. When we arrive there is a burning going
on. A lot of people, also not relatives, are watching. Respectful we watch from a distance, but it is a strange happening for us.

The Swayambunath temple is one of the oldest buddhist temple in the world. From here we have a nice view over Kathmandu. But much more impressive is the
monotone singing of the monks, Om Mane-Padme-Um. A few monks turn a praying role to let fly the mantra with the wind. After two weeks in Kathmandu itís time
for us to fly also. With the ongoing monsoon and therefore a big chance of flooding in Bangladesh we skip our plans to go to Bangladesh and we will fly from
Kathmandu to Bangkok, Thailand.
Namaste.

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