Holi 2017

I can’t believe it’s been one whole year since I last celebrated Holi in Kathmandu. This time round we all (every volunteer and staff member) rented a few busses to take us straight from project to Kathmandu for our 3 day holiday. The journey was horrible, torrential rain, crazy bus driver and what felt like endless traffic. However these 2 old AHV faced popped up out of nowhere and hitchhiked their way on to our bus!

Old AHV Faces

I spent a few nights at Ronni’s house which was cool as she lives right next to the monkey temple and has 2 adorable little cousins.

On the actual Holi day it was just like last year. I had forgotten how much I hated walking the streets of Thamel. If I ever do it again a private party like last year is defiantly the way to go. However, I still enjoyed it and we had loads of fun heading out that evening.

Holi

Holi

Shradha’s Wedding

Shradha is a wonderful lady who works for All Hands and I was lucky enough to be invited to her wedding. I was only able to attend one of her wedding events, but I had a great time and it was a nice insight into the world of Kathmandu weddings.

I started the day by getting ready at Roni’s house, where her mum helped dress me in my new saree.

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The wedding was held in a big venue, with lots of food, seats, drink and dancing going on. When we arrived we greeting Shradah before joining in the festivities.

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My 7 Day Break – First Stop Kathmandu

I’ve been on project for almost 3 months now, which means I can take a 7 day break. Which is more like 9 days when you add in the weekend. I had a rough idea of what I wanted to but not how I wanted to do it or how long it would take! So as always I made my first stop Kathmandu.

I met up with Sanjeev in the evening and he took me to Durbar Square where there was a pretty cool ceremony taking place. Called rato machhindranath jatraI it is a religious festival celebrated by the Newar community. I’m not 100% on the details but it was beautiful!

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Holi

Colour StallHoli is a Hindu festival celebrated in both India and Nepal during the spring time. It is also known as the festival of colours where everybody decorates each other with bright colour powder and water. It’s probably every travellers dream experience and I got to celebrate it in Kathmandu Nepal with both my international and local friends.

At the start of the day it’s quite quiet and a little daunting, then all of a sudden it becomes exciting and then soon turns into a manic mess! I sort of wanted to go and tuck myself up in bed after about 3h, but I stuck it out and I’m so glad I did.

To start the day we wondered the streets of Kathmandu greeting friends and strangers with colour, either by throwing or rubbing it onto their faces. What I didn’t realise was that people would also be walking around with water guns and that I’d get soaking wet! If you weren’t careful it was very easy to get a mouthful of powder from a passer by… Yuk!

We spent most of our time in Durbar Square where it was absolutely jam packed with people, there was some music and an absolutely amazing atmosphere. After a while we started to get a little bored, frustrated and hungry. There is only so much powder and yuky water you can tolerate in your mouth!

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So we set off for some food and a different experience. Our local friends invited us to Tusara for a Holi party. This was a much nicer atmosphere, where everyone had got over the powder throwing and instead just enjoyed the party. It had an outside DJ, water blasters, alcohol and was completely different from what we had just experienced in central Kathmandu.

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After about a 3h shower I still wasn’t clean. It turned out that my body wouldn’t be fully clean of the colour stains for another 3 days and my hair was pink for about 3months following Holi! However it didn’t stop me finished the amazing day in the usual pub followed by the touristy nightclub in Thamel.

Kathmandu

I spent the majority of my time in Kathmandu shopping for some warm clothes!

Things are so cheap here, for example I bought….

  • A -15 sleeping bag for £12
  • Soft shell NorthFake jacket for £9 (amazing quality too)
  • Some amazing scarfs for like £1
  • The tiger game (like chess) £2.40

When I wasn’t shopping I met up with Rosie, a travel friend from South East Asia, and we did some momo eating and some sight seeing.

Oh and I taught Rosie to eat with her hands! The restaurant we went to was owned by the funniest Gurkha who had worked for the British for over 20years! He was so sweet and told us all sorts of lovely things about his time spent surving the British. 

   
  

 

Nepal

I loved Nepal, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it turned out to be my favourite of all the destinations I’m visiting.

I was lucky enough to have a window seat on my flight over and I can honestly say I’ve never seen such a beautiful view on a flight. Our plane circled the airport for about 30mins and I had full view of all the mountain ranges including the tip of Everest in the clear sky. The terrain below was just as pretty, although it looked so hilly I didn’t have a clue how my plane was going to land!

Having come from India I wasn’t expecting too much difference, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. The streets were much cleaner, driving style more relaxed and the people were less harassy.

There seemed to be less poverty and a lot of development happening. Although unlike India the cities don’t seem to me making westernised leaps in their developments. They seem to have a nice balance that is working towards bettering the country as a whole.

Saying that I spent most of my time there in candle light and without electronics. The country had government enforced powercuts, there was a timetable for the cities but they can really happen at anytime.

When speaking to our guides they said that no one in Nepal is ever happy with the government, I think they said that they had over 45 political parties. Which means not one party is ever voted in by majority. Because their government is so fragmented the external relations the country has with others including the oil supplying countries are very poor, hence the fuel/power shortage.

We even encountered a national strike on our first day and had to be police escorted to our destination.

I’m so glad I did my trek as I saw some amazing things but I really wish I’d spent more time exploring the country. I went to pokhara which is beautiful and spent about 5 days in Kathmandu. I saw the sights and even did a cooking class on how to make momos, (yummy dumplings).

The people here are happy and there is a lot to be learnt from their way of life, by the end of my stay I quite enjoyed not relying on my electronics even if I did crave wifi every now and then.

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