Thursday, April 17, 2008

More on Nepal... In photos

Here's a little more on my trip to Nepal. There are probably a few more installments to come.

The first few pictures are from a jungle area in the Terai. Just days before I arrived, there was a huge general strike staged by the Madhesi people that went on for about 2 weeks. Their main issues were around autonomy and representation; they were protesting the rather Kathmandu-centric nature of the old Nepal Congress government, especially in terms of economic investment outside of the Kathmandu Valley. Their strike was felt all over Nepal as they were able to shut down the main trade route between India and the capital. Weeks after the strike was over, food prices were still pretty high (not just because of global inflation), and petrol was still so scarce that gas stations in Kathmandu were being guarded by the military and people would queue for a day or two fill up their tanks... Needless to say, this was an area that was swept by Maoists, and some of the more regional parties like the Madhesi Jana Adhikar Forum (MJF) during the elections.

When I was there, however, none of this was really evident and most people were reluctant to talk about (probably because the strikes are bad for tourism and most of the people I came into contact with make all of their money from tourists). And so I give you the tourist photos:

village houses near the entrance to Chitwan National Park.

That's me, "driving" the elephant on the last leg of our elephant safari in Royal Chitwan National Park.

endangered one horned white rhino, Royal Chitwan National Park
(dinosauric, ain't it?)

That's me giving the elephant a "bath."

Elephant Bath Time, Royal Chitwan National Park

Early morning canoe ride, Royal Chitwan National Park

Late afternoon elephant watering, Royal Chitwan National Park

A typical Tibetan monastery, Bodhnath, Nepal

This is a Tibetan stupa just outside of Kathmandu. The day I went there, I remember feeling very at peace with the world. Even if you aren't a spiritual or religious person, you can't deny the energy of a place like this. Pilgrims swing prayer wheels and chant mantras as they walk around the stupa, all in the same direction. Masum and I tried to walk around in the opposite direction, but didn't make it very far before we, too, decided to go with the flow.

1 comment:

BerryBird said...

All the elephant riding looks like great fun!