Friday, May 5, 2017

Nepal, with a nasty companion - an adventure for the Wandering Writer

As I promised you last week, here is the place where we continued our journey from India; Nepal.
It was far from the earthquake that devastated the area around Kathmandu, so nobody was thinking about it and everything seemed to be OK.
We crossed the border between India and Nepal and we reached Birgunj, where we looked for the bus station to get the night bus to Kathmandu.
It was a few hours after the sunset, when we got out from the travel agency with the bus tickets in our hands, and we were assured that the trip would have been in a very comfortable bus.
Now something that I have to warn you about is never to believe what they tell you, and be prepared for something that goes even beyond the worst case scenario you can figure out in your mind. It is not a question of scam, but you must keep in mind that people living in different countries might have different concept about what is comfortable.
The ride to Kathmandu, by bus takes 10 hours, so choosing the night bus, we believed we would have some chance to fall asleep and pass the time in a more comfortable way.
Well, we couldn't be more wrong, because the windows of the bus couldn't close properly, and I can assure you, that meanwhile, India has a hot climate even in December, Nepal, can become very cold as you start to climb to reach Kathmandu, particularly at night time.
I can tell you, I was freezing.
In the morning, we finally reached the city and the hotel, but instead of getting immediately out to discover the city, we felt so exhausted that we fell asleep.

One great piece of advice that can save you not only your holiday, giving you great memories to share with your friends, is: AVOID STREET FOOD.
This is to introduce the next adventure; street food, can be exciting, tasty, and can tell you a lot about the culture of the place, but it is also not safe hygienically speaking.
Useless my warning to my husband, who wanted absolutely to try it, he woke up the morning after, with an extremely sick feeling.
His body temperature raised in the following two days to 42C and despite I asked for some doctor or ambulance, nobody at the hotel did anything.
It has been for four days in the bed, delirious with the fever, eating almost nothing, making me fear that this time I couldn't save him.
I walked the street and asked some locals about a hospital for my husband, explaining the situation without any result until one old man said:
"Look, I think I know who can help your husband, walk for a couple of blocks in that direction," he said pointing at his right. "Turn to a small street, where there are a lot of small shops, like a market. On the right side, there is a sort of pharmacy, I am sure that if you bring your husband there and explain the situation, they can help. They speak english."
Very thankful, and hopeful, I greeted the man and ran to the hotel.
Bringing my husband outside the hotel was something extremely difficult, as he could barely stand on his feet (and I am a small lady).
Nevertheless, we reached the "pharmacy" which was just a sort of permanent market stand where all sorts of medicines were sold.
I explained the situation to the seller, and he nodded with the same expression of someone who deals constantly with those cases, like "Holy cow again another foreigner who eats whatever he finds."
He gave me a blister with eight pills, there wasn't any recognizable medicine name or any instruction, but since the case was desperate, I decided to trust him.
"Give him one in the morning and one in the evening, NOT more," he warned.
Would you believe it? In two days he was as good as new, even if we finished the four day cure.
We found out later that probably my husband got Salmonella, and the medicine was a strong antibiotic given generally to the horses... Oh well, it worked!!!

Kathmandu, to the tourist might resemble, in many ways India, and somehow it really does, having mostly the same religion and similar cultural heritage. Nevertheless, it surely keeps its own identity, both in the architecture, food and lifestyle.
Unfortunately, we had very short time after my husband's recovery to really visit the city and on that occasion even my camera decided that life wasn't anymore worth and died. For this reason I have to use also images I could find on the internet of those places I visited.

The streets are generally very crowded at any time of the day
  But this makes the city more colorful, and believe me, whenever you need help, it is easier to find it in a crowded street than in an isolated one. The economy is mostly based on tourism and there are handicraft shops wherever, but differently than in India, the merchants tend to be less pushy.
The main animal you will be able to find in the streets is the monkey,
   Particularly, you can find them around the Monkey Temple, where human's cousins are venerated, protected and kept well fed. However, the growth of the ape's population can be seen also as a danger to the animals, who might find death or serious injuries when daring the street traffic.
Talking about the Monkey Temple, it is something I heartily suggest to visit, but be prepared as there are quite many steps to be climbed to reach it,
   Nevetheless, the view from there is amazing, and I presume there are very few places that can offer such a view over the city.
 The city is full of shrines and small temples; almost at every corner of the city you might find one, so you really do not need to go far or to walk for kilometers to appreciate the religious culture of Nepal.

Life is a real adventure on its own, but if you do not dare to go out of your comfort zone, to get in touch with other cultures, people, and climates, you might miss the understanding of this magnificent place which is our planet, in its own diversity and complexity.
I am thankful for the chance given to travel and gather those experiences that not only shaped my character, but also gave me inspiration for my novels, and enriched me with a wider understanding of human nature.
We all are the same in this world, yet, we are so different, and this difference makes our richness. For this reason, I suggest to you all, to get out of your comfort zone, and whether you can travel in first class, or on the cargo; on a five star hotel or as a backpacker, grab any chance that comes to your way.
There is only one life, and that doesn't last forever.

No comments:

Post a Comment

The long road of writing a book.

Publishing a book is a journey on a rocky path that involves several stages, from writing and pre-editing to editing, formatting, selecting ...