Mik's Travel Weblog

- personal travel notes (which works as an online backup as well as an e-postcard to friends and relatives)

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Sunday, May 18, 2003

If this is your first time on this page, let me explain.
This page has been some sort of diary to me during my two weeks in Nepal, and as such serves no other purpose than helping me to keep track of names, dates, ideas, and so on, while at the same time it has kept my friends and family at home updated on my whereabouts. But you are of course welcome to check it out.
If you want to read the diary in cronological order, starting at the beginning, you have to jump to the bottom of the page.

Saturday, May 17, 2003

Safely back in Denmark again, after an all-night journey with Austrian Air, I've been running through all my video tapes from Nepal, 18 tapes of 40 minutes, 12 hours of pictures, all together.
So, click here for some more pictures (video screendumps) of people that I have interviewed, and some of the beautiful Nepali people I have met

Thank you so much to all of you for giving me such an extraordinary and beautiful experience visiting Nepal. It has been so intense, so full of thought-provoking events that it is going to take me some time to "land" again here in Denmark. I feel confused, as after a hot love-at-first-sight affair: Nepal... what was this? Was that it, or shall we meet again?

I've already made up my mind: yes, I'll have to find a way to get back to Nepal before this year is over. Preferably in October, when the air is clear in the valleys.

• Here is a little art movie from our trekking in Mustang. I have entitled it: ‘Missing You’

• My dad gave me a link to the home page of Søren Viit, a teacher at VUC in Århus. He often travels to Nepal and India, and also has placed his diary plus photos on the web at http://bluedandelion.net/viit – including a list of recommended Nepal links.
Speaking of links; www.nepal.dk also has a very useful list of Nepal links

Thursday, May 15, 2003

Rounding-up day. And heavy rains. Beginning of the rainy season. Flight is overbooked, they tell me when I call to confirm my ticket. So I am supposed to be in the airport four hours before take-off-time tonight.

Center of the old part of Kathmandu: Durbar Square

Garden of Hotel Yak & Yeti. As any capital, Kathmandu has its aristocrat territories with beautiful colonial style gardens and a pianist playing Mozart. Only to a Western visitor, things are if not dirt-cheap then affordable due to the unfairly low exchange rate of the rupi.

Garden of Kathmandu Guest House: an oasis of bird singing and friendliness in the middle of the hectic tourist bazar area named Thamel.

• Goodbye to the nice waiters at Kathmandu Guest House. They are all excited about having read an article about me in 'The Rising Nepal' - which is Nepal's oldest English-speaking newspaper. A journalist from The Rising Nepal interviewed me yesterday when I went to visit the editor of the magazine, and he managed to do a write-up of the short conversation we had - in a compact form with many figures. You can read the article here.
I'll also be guest in a one-hour programme on Hits FM on Sunday night at 8 PM to 9 PM.

Visit at The Rising Nepal. An informal discussion with General Manager Mr. Lok Deep Thapa, Gorkhapatra Corporation

The Sama Theatre Hall

• An interesting visit at Gurukul Theater Center where Tim Whyte shows me around at the only independent theatre hall in Nepal. Interview with the leader of the theatre, Sunil Pokhrel. Their 'East Is Not East' project will be taking them to Denmark for Images of Asia in August.

• Short meeting with photographer R. K. Manandhar who has been photographing 'development issues' for MS and other NGOs for years. We talk about a project doing the same in Denmark.

• If you are a visitor in Nepal, don't forget to pay Pilgrim's Book House (20 meters from Kathmandu Guest House) a visit on the day you go back home. It is one of the best shops for books and gifts that I have seen in Nepal, with everything from spices to handmade paper to posters, pashmina cloths, and so on. Even a restaurant they have. Spent two hours enjoying myself there today. The strangest things you end up buying when leaving a country. I also DID buy a couple of books there: 'Nepal's Tourism – uncensored facts' and 'Art and Culture of Nepal'.

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

This morning in Baisepati, a few kilometers south of Kathmandu:
Marianne, my wonderful host, and her wonderful cook, Walla, in front of her incredible house. And yes, she has two cars: one for work, and one for leisure time. She also has two dogs and five very cute puppyies. Marianne works in an advisory team at the Ministry of Education and Sports.

Lunch in Nepalese style together with Tara Baral, Bitu K. C., Pradeep Bomjan, and Marianne at The Windbell Restaurant in Naxal Bhagawati. Recommendable place.

In late afternoon, Pradeep has organised a colourful performance of his students at the Madhurima Nepal Culture Centre, entitled ‘Cultural Program 2060’. (2060 in Nepal is equal to the European year 2003)

Among other things, I'm writing on a story about the night life in Kathmandu...

Yesterday, I interviewed Diego from Equador (at the right) who teaches salsa here, together with his Nepali 'salsa disciple', Sujan (at the left).
In the evening, we went to the night club 'Jazz Upstairs' – a rather fantastic atmosphere there, in a "down town neighbourhood" of Kathmandu called Lazimpat. The jazz band Candaza plays some pretty funky latin jazz there, every Wednesday and Saturday night.

Also, last night, I went to a music studio together with Pradeep Bomjan to record one of his new songs on video. He is a gifted singer!

Madhurima Nepal Culture Centre. Apart from his job as a section officer at the Ministry of Education & Sports, Pradeep Bomjan runs this music school in Kathmandu's Kamaladi Mode. I film how they train in the dance room, and make an interview there as well.

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Mandira is on air. Visit at Hits FM where general manager Jeevan Shrestha and program director Tshering Choden are really nice to me. Among other things, they make seven compilation CDs with the best of nepalese music for me to take with me home.
While I film, Mandira, who hosts a lunch-time programme with romantic hindi music, says the following to her listeners: “We don't have to look far to realise that our duties lie within us. Likewise our gods dwell in ourselves but where do we seek them? We just need to reflect for a while and we will be able to discover our creator, but it has to be an inner search for the divine being. In the same way you will also find peace..."
Surely not the kind of comment you'd hear from a Danish commercial radio station at around noon!

In a restaurant in Pokhara, the menu card says: “SNAKES: Vegetarian, Non-vegetarian”.
What they mean is of course: “SNACKS”.
In the mountains you see lots of cute menu card texts like that. How about a “Plane Omelet”, for instance? Or “Sweat and Sour Rice”? Or like Hotel Dream-Home which offers you “Lodging and Fooding” – with the catchy slogan: “Whenever You Room There Is No Place Like Dreamhome”.
The red snake man's name is Kelashnar Meharyana Falidabad, and his flute is called a pungi.


Templer, ayurveda massage,