It was incredible to come back to Nepal after not having visited here for 27 years.
Here are some observances & tips from my time here:
* The changes in Nepal are dramatic – so many more people in the Kathmandu Valley. And a much stronger focus on materialism & commercialism. It”s also one of the most (2nd I think) corrupt countries in the world – an interestng stat.
* Kopan Monastery is a gloriously serene retreat tucked away on a hill away from all the chaos in the valley – will definitely come back!
* Whatever you do, unless you’re a complete party animal who requires no sleep, DO NOT stay in Thamel!!
* Be prepared to inhabit your room with a variety of animals & insects – & remember, it’s bad karma to kill them, even if they do crawl on or bite you.
* As with India, best to avoid raw salads & unpeelable fruits – I was even a bit unwell after a meal in Boudha.
* Try to get amongst the more authentic village life – much more down-to-earth & real than in the more touristy areas.
* Check if your banana lassi is being made with green bananas – if it is, order a water, tea or soft drink instead.
* Unless you believe you’ll look good almost bald, never ask a monk to cut (read: clip) your hair. Michael did & oh my dear was it short (#3). Although desperate for a haircut after 3 months of unobstructed growth, I resisted asking for a haircut/shave at Kopan – lots of work for my hairdresser at home.
* If you don’t like driving without a seatbelt in traffic pandemonium, bring your own harness system with you to Nepal & strap yourself in. Not only do the taxis not have seatbelts, they are hardly able to get around many of the streets which are more suited to a 4WD vehicle. Best to walk instead.
* Carry hand sanitiser wth you everywhere & use it – the money is filthy & you could pick up anything from it.
* Don’t attempt to convince a monk that Hugging Meditation is a real practice – they will think you’re a bit more than odd.
I’m sure there are many more useful tips, but I can’t think of anything right now…..