Kathmandu, April 6, 2016: My flight from Dhaka via Biman Bangladesh lasted an hour and half. When I got out of the terminal building, the first thing I was expecting was to see lots of mountains. I guess Nepal only means to mountains to us- newcomers in contrast to Nepal being globally regarded as a Himalayan Nation.
As soon as I stepped out of Tribhuban International Airport, I found myself in the city buzzing with people, busy motorbikes rushing on the streets trying to get from one place to another. As someone from a small city of Bangladesh, I wasnâ€™t expecting the polluted Kathmandu to pop out of the mountains. But it was a twist in my tale to walk over Bishnumati river on my way to the office in the morning, the overpowering stench and the pitch black sludge reminds me of the polluted Buriganga river. But donâ€™t get me wrong here, Kathmundu makes up for its stench with the hilly ups and downs that creates vistas at every turns and with its very generous people.
And, how can I not mention â€œMoMoâ€. My dear friend and guide told me that the MoMo over the carts on streets are much better than those in expensive restaurants and I couldnâ€™t agree more. Itâ€™s such a mixture of blend of chicken, veggies and sauce and not to mention the soft maida bun cooked to perfection was more than one wants for lunch.
After lunch it was time to meet my hostel mates: brilliant students studying in higher secondary and undergraduate level were all teemed with ideas about society and politics when I asked them questions on these topics. Talking to them about the recent trade embargo imposed by India and understanding how a small country in South Asia is foreshadowed by India gave me the familiarity of Bangladesh.
The women on the streets of Nepal are much freer than other places in South Asia. I think lots of countries can look at Nepalâ€™s treatment towards women and also towards minorities. Nepal celebrates its diversity creating an incredible vibe for the visitors to feel home whether if they are men women or of a third gender. It came to me as a surprise that Nepal has been very early to establish rights for the transsexuals and homosexuals. People here are also very interested about Bangladesh. Nepal had been one of the first countries to recognize Bangladesh as an independent nation just like how it offers everyone their independent way of life without any judgement.
Some tips for the people visiting Nepal for the first time:
- Lunch starts at nine!
- Be quick on the streets. Cross the roads faster. Donâ€™t expect the drivers to slow down, they probably wonâ€™t.
- Talk to people. They love travelers and foreigners and they will show you the Nepali way of life.
- Prepare to be blown away by their awesome hospitality.
Last but not the least, I want to quote a little line from the Nepali National anthem which sums up the Nepali way of life:
Of many races, languages, religions, and cultures of incredible sprawl
This progressive nation of ours, all hail Nepal!
By Sarker Shams Bin Sharif