With Nepal still fresh in my mind, I thought I'd get a post written before I forget what it was that I loved about the country so much. I encountered many "interesting" people; got myself into some random situations; and, all in all, had a blast. Here are some of the lessons I learnt on the road in Nepal.
1. Masala Milk Tea is the greatest invention of mankind.
2. Want Free Accommodation? Stay at a Korean Monastery in Nepal.
3. Make sure, please make sure, that when you eat with your hands, as practiced in Hindi countries, you only use your right hand. I, in one instance, absent-mindedly forget this cultural practice, resulting in local Nepalese looking at me in horror. The left hand is for purposes, which I won't divulge into...take a guess.
4. When you are a country surrounding by two of the biggest superpowers in the world- China to the North; India to the south - you really have to be friendly. Well, that is my theory anyway.
5. If you ever want to learn the art of good sales, get a lesson from a Tibetan refugee. They know how its done. First, evoke sympathy about your people; proceed to ask questions; then make them feel guilty for not looking at your jewellery as you are a "poor Tibetan"
6. The best Japanese food outside Japan is in Kathmandu. I kid you not.
7. If you want to meet locals, go ahead. But make sure you are clear on your personal boundaries. We, in the west, have this thing called personal space. (ie: One local who keep ringing me at 7am at my hotel, asking me to come to his home and meet all his family. Far out!)
8. If you want to engage in a heated conversion with a Nepalise, bring up one of these topics: cricket, politics - especially the November 22nd election; or why Nepal is better than India. You will be received well.
9. Watch where you step in Nepal, especially in the monsoon season. I accidentally stepped in some sewerage one day- wasn't pretty.
10. Bus times are always wrong. Add 3 or 4 hours to every number and you will get the actual number.
11. If you are fall into a mid-life crisis, go to Nepal. You will be cured in no time.
12. Nepal is the only country that doesn't have a square flag. Instead it consists of two triangles - the bottom slightly bigger than the other. The theory behind it is that if you turn it horizontally, it is shaped like two mountains - a symbol for the Himalayas which dominates the skyline whenever you go.
I know I have said this about every country, but Nepal is definitely one I will be returning too in the near future. Its scenery, its people, its food are second to none. And extremely easy for a traveller- amenities galore, English everywhere, the only task which you will have to perform is to sit back. And enjoy the ride.