Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Nepal - Kathmandu

Our last week in Nepal was spent in the capital city - Kathmandu. It was busy and big with so many people, it took me a while to enjoy it. I was used to being in a tiny village, under mosquito nets, without running water. Now I'm racing across the street to dodge the six lanes of traffic (which is actually only the width of two normal lanes, but somehow they make it into six) and eating American food at touristy restaurants.

I eventually learned to love it. Our guest house was amazing - it was a 3 story house turned into a hotel of sorts. Along every hallway was a never ending bookcase, packed full of books! I am the biggest bookworm, and was going through reading withdrawals, so to have hundreds of books at my fingertips was such a simple joy.

I had so much fun that week. We took taxis, watched movies, played games, took plenty of walks throughout the city, washed our clothes (finally!), and went to a huge marketplace. And after the previous three weeks of constant hiking, we treated ourselves to a much needed massage. And did I mention that the coffee in Kathmandu was great?!

My favorite part about being in Kathmandu was the city tour. Our tour guide took us to both Buddhist and Hindu temples, explaining every statue we passed, explaining every ritual. We went to the old castle, where a royal massacre happened just a little over ten years ago. It was amazing to see how much that effected the people of Nepal, especially those living in Kathmandu at the time. There was one temple named Swayambhuanath, which we climbed 365 stairs to see (as you look through my pictures below, you'll see a view of the city which I took from the top of the staircase, so yes, the climb was worth it). At all of the temples (and especially at the one nicknamed The Monkey Temple) there were the cutest little monkeys running around. I absolutely love monkeys, but as our tour guide said, "You can take pictures. But if you look them in the eye, they will attack you." I had a close call with one monkey as I got a little too excited and broke into his personal space (Can you blame me? He was so cute, I just wanted a closer picture). After both making eye contact and getting hissed at, I'm lucky that there were no monkey attacks. Also, bonus points to whoever can find the monkey in one of my pictures.

But it was most humbling to watch these devoted people coming to pray at the temple, men in business suits giving offerings to their gods, women lying face down in the doorway crying out their prayers, children spinning prayer wheels over and over and over again. I watched as a family burned an old man's body right next to a holy river, in the hopes that he would be reincarnated into a good thing. I watched starving bodies walk past a dozen temple cows, which are too holy to eat.

Out of the whole month of adventures that I had in Nepal, what sticks in my memory the most are the faces of these Nepali people at the temples, waiting for their god to do something. Waiting for their god to save them. Not knowing who the real Savior is.

1 comment:

  1. Jessica!! I love these pictures so much! I am so proud of you and glad you were able to go on this trip. The city tour sounds amazing!