Namaste Nepal, hola Medellín!

It’s been a while since I updated the blog, as I’ve been completely immersed in learning Spanish since arriving in Medellin two weeks ago. But before I start describing experiences in Colombia (all very good), here the final episode of my time in Nepal.

Kathmandu was a strange experience. It’s dusty, noisy, and suffers with horrendous smog. Even with the utterly charming people that you encounter, it’s a tough city, and poverty lives alongside wealth and luxury.

In a good sign that in Nepal, as in the rest of the world, people are waking up to green issues, I came across these young student protesters one day. They were demonstrating for increased environmental awareness. I made the mistake of high-fiving a couple of them after taking the pic, which meant I was stuck high-fiving all of them. It was a long procession. They were the friendliest masked protesters I’ve ever encountered!

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The city has three royal squares, from the time when the Kathmandu valley was three separate kingdoms. These royal squares contain many buildings from the 1600’s, and all are UNESCO world heritage sites.

Sadly, there was a lot of damage to some of the buildings during the earthquake, but remarkably, many were left unscathed. Those that were damaged are being rebuilt and are clearly going to be restored to their former glory.

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DSCF4010Just outside of one of the square, I came across these three gents peering into the shop that sold Gurkha knives (a local shopkeeper told me that they were retired Gurkhas).

DSCF4255Around the squares, life is fascinating to observe. The streets are mostly narrow, crowded, and full of life. Shops are crammed into the tiniest of spaces, and small entrances hide beautiful once glorious courtyards.

Like in other South Asian countries, brick kilns dot the countryside. These kilns often have bonded labour, working in horrendous conditions. On a walk outside of Kathmandu we came across this kiln.

DSCF1114DSCF1112I have no idea what the labour ‘contract’ was, but conditions were clearly tough. Nevertheless, these boys were having a great time on their makeshift football pitch. The game appeared to be secondary to the task of getting as filthy as possible.

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Needless to say, it would have been rude not to join in for a while. Those that know my lack of football prowess will be pleased to hear I retired before embarrassing myself too much (or getting too filthy).

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Once outside of the city the countryside quickly becomes spectacular and there are beautiful walks to be had.

DSCF4275.jpgTucked into the hills was a monastery that I walked through, and I loved this perfect example of letting sleeping dogs lie!

DSCF4318Of course it’s not just sleeping dogs that are allowed to lie, but cows too. These two formed a great obstacle course for the drivers.

DSCF5097Just as I was leaving, the monsoon rains were starting. In true South Asian style, this didn’t stop everyday life, even if it did mean holding an umbrella whilst being a passenger on a motorbike!

After 2 months in Nepal, I returned to the UK very briefly in order to pick up the beast and fly out to Medellin. I’m pleased to report she survived her ordeal of being taken apart and then transported in a giant plastic bag, along with my very posh Ikea travel luggage (it saved having to check in, and pay for, four pannier bags!).

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I’m looking forward to describing this amazing place, which exceeds even the high expectations I already had. I will be sharing my experiences here in future posts. For those that have been worried about my safety, relax. You’re in for a big surprise at just how awesome this place is. Until then, ‘hasta luego’, and take care, wherever you are.

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22 thoughts on “Namaste Nepal, hola Medellín!

  1. Such an interesting post. Now I see what you mean when you said you pack your bicycle in a plastic bag! I look forward to seeing your photos in Medellin! Shira

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  2. Stuart, I am now just up the road from you – in NYC! Launching the UN CT project on Friday and then back to Blightly. Have a great tour and keep us all updated.
    All the best,

    Roger

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  3. Fantastic adventures. Your posts immerse us in your journey.. Great to hear from you, enjoy and look after yourself… Phil

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  4. So you made it to Colombia now! 🙂

    Lieber Stuart,
    ich freue mich immer sehr, wenn ein neuer Eintrag in Deinem Blog erfolgt.
    Hab´ eine unvergesslich tolle und wundervolle Zeit und pass´ gut auf Dich auf!
    Viele liebe Grüße
    Gitti

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    1. Hi Gitti, das freut mich zu hören. Es macht unheimlich Spass sie zu schreiben, und es tut gut die Erlebnisse zu dokumentieren und reflektieren. Hoffe bei Dir und Alfi auch alles gut. Liebe Gruesse zurueck, und hoffe die Stimmung in Deutschland ist nach dem Spiel nicht zu bedrueckt?! Liebe Gruesse, Stuart

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    1. Hi Jan, it was indeed amazing, and Medellin and Colombia are certainly not disappointing either. So far it’s all I hoped for and more. Hope all well in your world too, and sending lots of love, Stuart x

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  5. Amazing experiences! Pretty damn sure you, DIG, have enough street smarts after nearly three decades in the Met to be safe. Have a great time in South America! I am planning a trip there next July. Sue xo

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    1. Hi Sue, good to hear from you. I’m hoping I do, although so far I’ve encountered nothing but charming and friendly people! If you are coming to South America, make sure you leave lots of time for Colombia and Medellin – you won’t regret it! Until then, hope all well in your world, Stuart x

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  6. Hi Stuart, amazing photos which really bring the people and the landscape to life – though I’d expect nothing more from you! Looks like you had an amazing time Nepal, can’t wait to follow your adventures around South America.

    All the best

    Bruce

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    1. Hi Bruce, good to hear from you. Have a feeling that once you start reading about South America, you’ll start looking at airfares. I could do with a bit of project management for the journey! Colombia is incredible so far, and I’m getting itchy feet now to get going. Will be reporting further……. Hope all good your end, Stuart

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  7. Hallo Stuart,
    Gänsehautfeeling bei Deinen Fotos und Texten! Was für ein toller Blog. Ich bin wahnsinnig neidisch auf Deine tollen Erlebnisse in zweien meiner Lieblingsländer! Ich bin glücklich für Dich, dass Du dem Wunsch Deiner Mutter gefolgt bist und in Nepal warst und Dich das so berührt hat. Nun genieße die Zeit in Kolumbien, ich freue mich auf mehr! Petra x

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    1. Hi Petsi! Gut zu hören, dass es dir Spaß macht zu lesen, und freut mich, dass du dabei bist! Kolumbien ist wirklich traumhaft. Ich hatte schon große Erwartungen, aber hätte nie geglaubt, dass es hier so einmalig toll ist! Bis irdendwann in Bayern oder Berlin, Stuart x

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