Monday, August 26, 2013

Preconcieved ideas about Nepal

I guess many westerners think Nepal would be a nice place to travel to, in order to experience the incredible scenery and much more. But many of them are also skeptical, if not scared, by the idea they have of the Nepalese life. Indeed, it is known that Nepal is among the poorest countries in the world, and one of the least developed. With this fact comes a lot of misconceptions: no water, no hygiene, no electricity… Well, it is partly true. But only partly. And it depends where.

When I was searching for my flat for living here in Katmandu for 5 months, I precised that I was looking for an apartment including a bathroom with shower and toilet. My new Nepalese boss-to-be made fun of me: was I thinking to move in into the jungle? It made me realize how stupid my preconceived ideas were. So yes, Nepalese have showers and go to the toilet the same way as we do. Eventually, it can be Turkish toilets, but anyway, they do not do it outside in the wild. In my flat, the water can even be warm, depending on the sun exposure, since it is a solar warming system. But since Nepalese days are very often sunny (even during the monsoon season! Yet another false preconceived idea), I have been having warm showers each day so far. Note: Nepalese people also use toothpaste, toilet paper, razors and deodorant.                                       

When it comes to electricity, at least in Kathmandu, it works generally well. Except that you experience shortcuts on a daily basis. When it happens, no stress: most of the places (hotels, restaurants) have a generator providing back up electricity. Worst case, you get candles, and a romantic atmosphere. Not bad, uh?

About hygiene, well, I don’t know how your standards are at home. It is certainly going to get a little bit more flexible here. Nepalese only use the right hand in the public life, considered as the cleanest. The left hand is, well, essentially used for less hygienic stuff. So when you shake a hand or eat, please use the right one!
You won’t always be able to wash thoroughly your hands, so the trick is to have a little bottle of antibacterial gel everywhere you go. And to drop a bit the idea of being always super clean. Step by step, day after day, your body will get used to these new bacteria’s and you will come back home better, faster, stronger!

So if I had to sum up, I would say that you should definitely come here as soon as you can. Because many of our preconceived ideas or fears actually are unfounded, or at least a bit exaggerated. And what Nepal is offering (amazing food, extremely nice people, spirituality etc etc etc) is so much more than these purely logistic stuff that it would be a shame to miss it for a matter of shower.


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