Skip to 1:55 to see a goat get it’s head chopped off!
My first time in a developing country (a “real” developing country, not Mexico) opened my eyes to how much of the world lives. Nepal pushed my comfort zone with the immense poverty and over population. From eating with my right hand and wiping with my left to getting fleas and bitten by bedbugs. Lets not forget the open cremations along the river and the dead animals in the streets.
The hustle, bustle, face paced, unorganized, chaotic flowing, energetic, noisy, smelling, yelling, honking, horning, active, vigorous, flurry, scurry, off schedule, full of life city of Katmandu widened my eyes and clogged my lungs. Never in my life have I seen so many people moving so fast along side monkeys, cows, rickshaws and scooters. The smells of Katmandu will make your mouth water or your stomach gag. A mix of life and death, burning trash and human waste blend like a watercolor with the smells of fresh spices and street food. The sights will make you grin or cringe, laugh or cry. You’ll see people bathing in the same water where upstream you saw a dead body. You’ll see kids with deformities begging and you can’t help think of the movie Slum Dog Millionaire. But what stood out most is you’ll see happy people making the best of life in one of the world’s poorest countries.
I spent the following 30 days on a river…. The first trip was on the Sun Koshi River. The river started out a 800CFS and by the 10th day was up to 40,000CFS.
I experienced new things like: when the option was presented, the group was excited and we quickly gathered our rupees and purchased a pig for dinner. After watching it be stabbed in the heart with a bamboo stick then dipped into hot water to remove the hair, we began the slaughter in the river. At the end of the five hour process, as our pork was roasting, we discovered the pig was contaminated with Trichinellosis. The meat was spoiled. We dumped the meat in the river as the villagers shook their heads. Trichinellosis is a disease caused by eating a larvae of a worm (cysts), which shortly after consumption the worm makes its way from your stomach to your lungs and into your bloodstream. After learning this, many people on the expedition decided not to eat anything with eyes while in Nepal. But not me, as I can tell you the Chicken we killed the next night (in exchange for medical supplies) was some of the best I have ever had.
After the Sun Koshi we spent 5 days in the town of Dharan ( near the border of India). Not many tourists visit this town. At this time there were four of us including Photographer Chason Russell. Through some local contacts we were able to sponsor a two kids at a local elementary school.
Then we began on our second adventure…. A 6 day backpack into the Tamur river. Porters hauled rafts, carried from a strap around their heads. CRAZY I know. We finally made it to the Tamur after trekking around the base of Katchenjunga (third highest mountain in the world).
The Tamur river flows into the Sun Koshi so after the eight days on that river we took out once again took out in Dharan. That night we rushed to make out flight back to Kathmandu, it’s worth mentioning that the plane was held together with ducktape and my window had a large crack in it.
The last two days in Kathmandu were consumed by $3 foot massages then a flight to the lady-boy/she-he capital of the world, Bangkock. After happy endings and Hangover II like stories and I flew back to the good old USA.
Check out some Faces from Nepal:
If you are interested in more… check out two blogs I wrote in University:
The First is on the Fast food industry in Nepal.
The second is about “spoiled meat” and tells the pig story in more detail.