Different people, different faces, different eyes, a very different language. You don't understand a word that somebody said to you and whoever has landed in Nepal can usually not even read what is written on signs along the road and on the menus of the restaurants.
Everything is new, everything is unknown. The stranger who is a stranger in a foreign country cannot recognize the emotions of the people better than his own. An invisible wall stands between him and the passers-by, the waiters, the salesmen in the shops.
Of course, you can speak English with everyone and some of them will hear what you say. But this kind of understanding is only a thin bridge over which only short sentences make it across. What you're feeling remains untold, at least until the new, unknown country opens up to the eye of the guest.
The Sahdis and the real monks, the Sherpas, the cooks in the simple kitchens, the porters with the huge refrigerators on their backs and the honey merchants, who are so reserved in advertising their goods as if they would prefer to keep them for themselves, they then get faces that can be read.
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There are the old women in an old people's home, sitting on a wall in silent dignity and looking so wise as if they really knew every secret the entire cosmos has to offer. The men next to them, who are not the men of these women, are smiling mischievously during a mysterious game of dice, they have small tea cups in front of their faces and when they talk, they all talk in disarray.
There are no chairs in this country, everything happens on earth. And there is no business, no hidden agenda. It has doves, many doves. And apes who are stealing food. And much more humans of all colors. Policemens. Busdrivers. Beggars. Those who beg, beg openly, because it is their profession. Young soldiers who stand guard to guard a shrine do so with a display of boredom and weariness.
"Strangers on this road we are on / we are not two, we are one", rhymed Ray Davis of the Kinks in 1970, when some of the faces the visitor sees in Kathmandu of today were as young as those of the two cute girls, who are sitting in a niche and licking ice cream. Time has passed like a day, the city has grown bigger, the king has disappeared, more cars drive through the streets, more noise, more exhaust fumes. But the faces are the same and they are the same as everywhere.
This ist the last one of my posts from Nepal - look for more here
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