~ by Jackie Jura
written in 2001 in reaction to assassination of Nepal's King and Royal Family
Another fond memory, after AFGHANISTAN REMEMBERED, during my overland trip from Europe to Australia (around 1972 to '74), was the time I spent in Nepal. Many times my mind sees the picture of the restful time spent in Pokhara, rejuvinating from a bug that knocked me flat in New Delhi.
One day when my healthy travelling partner (now my husband) returned to the hotel at the end of his day touring New Delhi I presented him with a pile of coins, paper currency and travellers' cheques representing the money we had to reach our destination - Australia. I proposed the plan that we buy a ticket and fly the rest of the way - abandoning the overland route and just getting there fast so we could eat western food and drink clean water. However, this was not to be the case because our total money would not cover the price of an air ticket. Needing to get out of the heat and not wanting to endure a train ride through India we decided to fly to Nepal, where we'd heard the air was fresh and stories had been told of people resting and recuperating in Pokhara - a town at the foot of the Himalayas.
Fellow passengers on the plane were climbers and trekkers arriving direct from England or North America with merely a stop-over in New Delhi. They had hiking gear and were in robust health - talking excitedly about trekking to the base camps of Mt Everest. I, however, was so dizzy it was all I could do to look out the window when the pilot announced that the mountain looming to the left of us was Mt Everest.
We landed in Katmandu and there to meet us at the airport were the usual representatives of the various hotels shouting out the features of THEIR establishments and promising the best rates and the best location and the best everything. All I was concerned about was finding the best bathtub or shower. I was assured by the guy who was grabbing my backpack and leading us to his wagon that his hotel had lots of water and great showers. So off we went with him and although his establishment was quite a ways out of town the room was cheery and bright and opened onto a sunny warm courtyard where people could gather and socialize with the Nepalese and each other.
After I'd unpacked and organized the room I tracked down my friendly hotel guy and asked him where the showers were. He told me he hadn't forogotten and that he'd show me later in the afternoon. And sure enough, he knocked on our door a little while later and told me I could take a shower now if I wanted. So I grabbed my shampoo and fresh clothes and followed him out of the building and across the courtyard to a big wood door which he opened and pointed to as being the shower-room. He said the sun had been hitting the tank all day and so the water was nice and warm. Then he pointed to a drain in the floor and two wooden pails which were filled with water. There was a sponge and some natural-looking soap and a wooden bench and a hook to hang things and a high window from which the sun was shining through and the birds were singing. As he closed the door he told me to soap up with the first bucket, and rinse with the second, and if there was anything I needed just call.
I must admit that at first I was disappointed, having never had a bath or a shower before with just two buckets. But when I dipped the sponge into the warm water it soaped up beautifully and it was amazing how wet and soothing it was to scrub all over just by continually dipping into the one bucket. Then when I was lathered up head to toe, including hair, I started dipping the sponge into the second bucket for rinsing and it was wonderful. By the time I finished this make-shift shower I felt incredibly clean and refreshed. I became a proselytizer for the two-bucket bath from that time forward - although never since have I been in another establishment that offers this unique form of bathing.
The next few days spent in Katmandu were wonderful because I started feeling better and there was so much to see. My craving for North American food was satisfied as well because there was a restaurant called Aunt Jane's where they made porridge, brownies and pies. The commerce of the town was booming and there were places where you could buy beautiful cotton right off the bolt and have it made up into anything you wanted. I chose material for a long skirt and picked it up the next day.
We eventually set off from Katmandu for Pokhara in a bus that wound along mountainous roads so steep it was terrifying to look down half the time. Just surviving the bus trip was enough to make a person breathe a sigh of relief upon arriving at the destination. The hotel this time was on the grassy edge of a lake on one side and backing the mountains on the other. Our window looked out on the lake and the door opened to the usual courtyard which was the centre of all comings and goings.
I settled into some serious R & R by stretching out and finishing the book I was reading at the time - which I remember to this day was Cancer Ward by Solzhenitsyn. Not your usual reading material but I was beyond the Herman Hesse Sidhartha stuff many people were still dabbling in. One time I was interrupted by a huge water buffalo sticking its head through the open window and chewing its cud while it watched me flip the pages. That evening, while chatting at the dining table, we were told the meat we were eating was water buffalo. I remember hoping it wasn't the one who had been visiting me!
A day or so later we rented a dug-out canoe and paddled off into the lake. The man who rented it out admonished us severely to, whatever we do, NOT BE ON THE LAKE AT 4 O'CLOCK because at that time every day a storm came up. We nodded our heads in agreement but didn't take him too seriously as the day was sunny and glorious and the lake was as smooth as a mirror - and as reflective. It took awhile to master maneuvering the boat as it literally was a dug-out log. It looked like a log, floated like a log and weighed about as much as a log. But the healthy one was the main paddler and as I stretched out to read and watch him paddle we lost all track of time.
All of a sudden the sky started to darken and waves started lapping. We were more or less in the middle of the lake at this point and wondered aloud if perhaps it was four o'clock and maybe we should start heading back. However we didn't have enough time to even get turned around before the lake swelled into an ocean and we were being tossed around like a cork. A huge wave swamped us and we were out of the boat and into the water in no time. Luckily it had a rope attached to its bow and we were able to tow the almost submerged boat to the nearest shore. We felt like castaways as we collapsed on the beach exhausted and cold. While we sat there waiting for things to calm down a group of water buffalo came up from behind scaring us half to death, but they wandered off after sizing us up. Then as fast as it had come, the storm moved on, and the sun came out and the lake smoothed over and we got into the boat and headed back. The boatman suspiciously enquired, "Were you on the lake at four o'clock?" to which we replied, "Naw, just for a moment or two and that's why everything's a little wet." We were too embarassed to tell him we'd ignored his good advice and almost lost his boat.
By the time we left Pokhara a few days later I was feeling 100% better. We flew from Katmandu to Calcutta and commenced the overland journey from there. To this day I regret missing out on the trip across India, but the memories of Nepal have stayed fresh and so too has my love and respect for the nation.
That's why the horror it's presently experiencing weighs heavy on my heart. Last June when Nepal's Royal Family was assassinated I did not believe the party-line about the much-loved and respected Prince being the guilty one. The truth is more Shakespearean than that. It was reminiscent of the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 where the Communists shot the Czar and all his family. Not for nothing was I reading about communism during my respite in Nepal. I know that committing atrocities and blaming it on others is standard practice for the usurpers of nations. I pray the people of Nepal will be helped, not hindered, in their fight for survivial. But in reading the goings on this past year  I have my doubts that will happen.
FREAKY HIPPY DAYS IN KATMANDU (Prabod is creating an exhibit of 60s and 70s travellers' stories and photos about Nepal)
Nepal's PM says anti-China activities not allowed: report, AFP, Dec 29, 2009
Beijing - Nepal's prime minister said Tuesday his government would not tolerate any anti-China demonstrations in the Himalayan nation as he met with his Chinese counterpart in Beijing, state media reported. "The Nepalese government... believes that Taiwan and Tibet are inalienable parts of the Chinese territory," Madhav Kumar Nepal told Wen Jiabao in comments reported on China's state television CCTV. Nepal "will not allow any forces to use Nepalese territory to engage in anti-China activities." The Himalayan nation is home to around 20,000 exiled Tibetans, who began arriving in large numbers in 1959 after their spiritual leader the Dalai Lama fled Tibet following a failed uprising against the Chinese. In recent months the exiles say their lives have become increasingly difficult as Nepal -- reportedly under heavy pressure from Beijing -- has sought to restrict their activities. Nepalese authorities have arrested dozens of exiles who tried to hold protests over Tibet. Nepal's official visit to China is his first since he took office in May, and he is also due to meet with President Hu Jintao on a trip aimed at strengthening ties between the two countries. Officials from both countries signed agreements on trade and exchanges, the CCTV report said. Wen said the two nations should cooperate more closely on trade. "China will adopt active measures to promote the exports of Nepalese products to China and encourage and support businesses to go to Nepal to invest in infrastructure," Wen said, according to the report. "The two sides can expand cooperation in the areas of mountain agriculture, animal and plant quarantine and training," Wen was quoted as saying.
MAOISTS KILLED NEPAL ROYAL FAMILY
World Bank comes to Nepal Communists' aid (money for 19,000-strong geurilla Maoist army who won war against Nepal monarchy). SmashHitNews, Aug 5, 2008
Nepal assembly abolishes monarchy (Mao communists are committed capitalists). AP, May 29, 2008
Nepal's 'fierce one' ballot box victor (inspired by Mao's Communist China). AFP, Apr 13, 2008
VISITING ORWELL'S BIRTHPLACE (in Motihari, Bihar, India, on the road to Nepal)
Nepal nationalizes royal palaces (peace pact with Maoists). BBC, Aug 23, 2007
Maoists in Nepal extorting donations (intimidation & recruitment to militia). BBC, May 21, 2006. Go to 35.Brotherhood & 5.Pyramidal NWO
Katmandu a city of chaos (rickshaw driver "just wants peace") & Soldiers ordered to shoot protesters. AP/CBC, Apr 8, 2006. Go to 7.Systems & 6.Super-States & WHO KILLED ROYAL FAMILY NEPAL? (like Romanovs by Lenin in 1918)
When I look at Bihar on a map I see that I must have flown over it when I flew from Katmandu, Nepal to Calcutta, India back in the early '70s. ~ Jackie Jura
SHRINE TO ORWELL (a reader from India says Orwell's birthplace still exists and should be restored). Mar 1, 2004
Trekkers thrilled by Maoist rebels (because they kill locals not tourists). BBC, Jan 13, 2004
Napalese Maoists get help from India (fighting for communist republic since 1996). Seattle Post, Dec 15, 2003
Maoists using landmines in Nepal (made in China, India & Russia). BBC, Dec 3, 2003. Go to 6.Super-States & 12.Minipax
Police chief shot dead in Nepal (by Maoist rebels waging violence to turn nation into Communist state). BBC, Jan 25, 2003. Go to 7.Systems of Thought
3,000 communists storm Nepal town (use villagers as shields). London Telegraph, Nov 15, 2002. Go to 7.Systems of Thought
Nepali leader says China to help fight Maoists (sheep paying wolves to protect them from wolves). Reuters.com, Jun 9, 2002. Go to LYING WITH WOLVES
Trekkers' paradise mired in war (Maoists & USA committing atrocities). National Post, Jun 8, 2002
TIBET & TIANANMEN TYRANT HU
MAO THE UNKNOWN STORY
WHO KILLED THE ROYAL FAMILY OF NEPAL? (There is something not quite right in the agency reports regarding the mysterious deaths)
Nepal Royal Family Massacred (worst mass killing of royalty since Romanovs put to death by order of Lenin in 1918). BBC, June 2, 2001
Also read ~ AFGHANISTAN REMEMBERED
~ an independent researcher monitoring local, national and international events ~