Posts Tagged With: Nepal

Crazy Kathmandu – with a capital K

Nepal thus far has the strangest history I have yet to come across.

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In 2001 the heir to the Nepal Royal throne, Prince Dipendra, massacred 9 members of his family at the Narayanhity Royal Palace. The victim list included the then King Birendra and Queen Aishwarya (his parents), who reportedly had chosen a wife for Prince Dipendra who he did not want.

Shortly after the massacre, Dipendra shot himself and died a few days later. This left the throne to Nepal open, and thus Prince Gyanendra, brother of the late King Birendra, became king. There are many conspiracy theories as to what actually happened the night of the massacre – and I love a good conspiracy theory.

While doing some research on Prince Gyanendra I found some more crazy history. After his birth, his father was told by a court astrologer not to look at his newborn son because it would bring him bad luck, so Gyanendra was sent to live with his grandmother. He would later reign as King twice in the Nepali history.

His first reign occurred in 1950-1951, during a political plot, which saw both his father and his grandfather King Tribhuvan (amoungst other royals) flee to India. This left the young Prince Gyanendra (age 3) as the only male member of the royal family in Nepal. He was brought back to the capital Kathmandu by the then Prime Minister, Mohan Shamsher, and declared King. Once political stability had been regained in Nepal, his grandfather returned and resumed the throne.

I found the Nepalis history intriguing. After spending 3 months in India, the country north of the Indian boarder could not be anymore different.

Jumping forward from the past – Kathmandu now is a bigger city than you would think. Big, dusty and super busy. A place where face masks are more of a necessity than a fashion accessory. My buff had never come in more useful.

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From the moment I crossed the boarder, I knew that Nepal is vastly different to India. For one their person per capita is far less than that of India and it was awesome seeing the huge open rice paddies growing on the sides of the Himalayan mountain range.

20121109-194120.jpgPrayer flags seen at night

If you ever get to Kathmandu – do go visit the Green Organic Cafe in Thamel, Kathmandu. One of the best grilled tofu and veg dishes I have ever had. Nepal is not as geared for vegetarians as what India was – so it was lovely finding a great cafe, with not only an incredible vibe, but an awesome selection for vegetarians.

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More Nepal adventures to follow soon.

Categories: Nepal | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Hilarious train rides

My very dearest friends, that I travelled to Cyprus with earlier this year, laughed at me when I speak to non-English speaking people. According to them, while speaking to Cypriots, I would put on a pseudo Russian accent and then speak like a social delinquent. Turns out in India, I would catch myself doing the same thing.

This realisation came during one of the funniest train rides I have had thus far in India. I was leaving Varanasi, my last stop during my India tour, and was heading to Nepal. Feeling all big-girl-panty traveller, it never occurred to me that it ain’t over until its over.

I had bought a first class sleeper ticket, because my choice was simply sleeper or a first class sleeper. The only difference between the 2 is that the first class sleeper meant 2 bunks in a closable compartment. Being a solo lady traveller I had decided to go the safer route. I guess it was also because the travel agent had filled me with the fear of god when it comes to men on this train.

My run in with Indian men has been 2 fold: on the one hand – I’ve made incredible new friends and on the other – some rural Indian men have scared me out of my wits. But the agent assured me that I would just need to contact the conductor when I boarded the train and he would pair me up with a female companion (it being illegal to place a strange man with a woman onboard a train). The only problem was that the train was PACKED, with me being not only the only foreigner on the train, but the ONLY female in first class.

To say that I was nervous and afraid of the man in my compartment is an understatement. I am not trying to scare you about solo traveling in India, and looking back I have had a very issue-free trip. Luckily for me, the conductor was a fantastic Indian man who checked in on me multiple times during the night (with an armored guard at one point).

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The train ride was to Gorakhpur, and from there the Nepal boarder was a 3 hour bus ride. I jumped onto a local bus, had my backpack thrown to the roof (along with chickens, goats and other people’s luggage) and set off on a very bumpy, dusty road to my exit to India.

I didn’t mind being stared at. I guess I had become used to it… But it was time to continue with the adventure… And with mixed feelings – I said good bye to India.

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HELLO NEPAL

Note to other travelers crossing the boarder by land – the visa fee is in US Dollars and you need a passport photo. Other than that – it was easy sailing!

Categories: India, Nepal | Tags: , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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