This is a short video I recorded from the window of our jeep while we drove from the China border to Kathmandu. Nepal is a really great country to observe through the window of a vehicle. All the houses are built right up next to the roads (because the canyons are so steep that there is no level land elsewhere), and everyone keeps their front doors and windows open during the day. People live in their front yards in Nepal.
A few things I noticed in my first few hours in Nepal:
- The Nepalese carry everything on their foreheads. They loop a strap around their load, toss it on their back and tie the whole thing onto their head. Giant loads of hay. Building supplies. Crates of live chickens. All of it is carried on the forehead.
- The HORNS! Trucks and buses here are outfitted with racks of up to a dozen horns, and a single button sets off an extended, merry melody of honks. The novelty of the soon wears off, though. Drivers in Nepal insist on honking their horn at every possible opportunity: every time they pass someone, every time they approach a blind corner, every time someone is going slow (even if there is a clearly visible obstacle impeding them). And sometimes just for the heck of it.
- Vehicles are decorated inside and out with gaudy paint jobs, artificial flowers, banners and figurines, generally as shrines to select Hindu gods or goddesses. They also write various catchphrases on the backs of their trucks. Some that I remember: “No Time For Love”, “Kathmandu Olympics 2012!”
- The villages have one or two communal water sources, delivering a constant stream of mountain water through a spigot into an open concrete structure. This is the sole drinking water source, where women do laundry and everyone bathes.
- Every house has a big open front, and doubles as a little general store. There’s usually food, cigarettes, and a small assortment of clothing, shoes and cheap goods (mostly made in China).
- There are no kitchen utensils. Nepalese people eat everything with their hands. We stopped at a little restaurant on our way through and ordered Dal Bhat — essentially rice and lentil soup — the staple of the traditional Nepalese diet. In some parts of Nepal, this meal is eaten twice a day, every day.
- Hindu dots on the forehead for good luck.
- Men wear traditional caps with patterns representing the region that they come from — especially older gentlemen.
- The women are waaaaaay more attractive in Nepal than in China. This was actually the first thing I noticed. Can you blame me?