In order to celebrate his 40th birthday with some style and adventure, Client #254 and his friends planned a once-in-a-lifetime adventure in Nepal that culminated in a climb of the Himalayas. On the evening before the hike, my client and his friends were to enjoy an unforgettable 5-course meal served up in a secret location by yours truly.
I had two missions before leaving Nepal: to see the Buddha's birthplace, and to take a few cooking classes. Upon checkout, the young man who worked behind the desk, Dipesh, asked me if I would be willing to come to his hometown and meet his family before leaving for my next destination. Unable to say no to such an honor (and intrigued about seeing "the real Nepal"), I happily obliged.
Dipesh lived perhaps 30 minutes outside of Kathmandu in an area called Jitpur Phedi. The drive out there was gorgeous. I saw the often talked about rice paddies and wondered at the beauty and practicality of their construction. Jitpur Phedi itself was in stark contrast to the open space all around it. The town, set on a hill, has winding paths that take you from one house to the next. Each was quite humble and basic, with no electricity or running water (for the most part). The wealth of the families lay in their livestock, which they kept either just outside the house or inside with them. Every house I walked past had curious eyes looking back at me. Dipesh's family was very kind. The offered me warm chai (Starbucks has nothing on them) and some food before my trip back to Kathmandu. I gladly accepted.
That evening, I boarded a plan for Pokhara, the second largest city in Nepal. Pokhara is naturally beautiful in a way that Kathmandu is not. The Himalayas nearby certainly helps. I was advised to take my morning cup of coffee and climb a small hill to experience sunrise, and it was well worth the early morning alarm. The rising sun lit the Himalayan range up with dusty pinks and bright oranges. It was a sight to be seen.
For the next few days, I indulged in beautiful scenery and enlightening cooking classes. My instructor was a Nepalese grandmother and incredible cook. She was also open to sharing with me etiquette tips. Those I present to you below. After my classes ended, I said goodbye to my instructor and made my way to Lumbini. It was a peaceful town, and the site of the Buddha's birth was memorialized beautifully.
In all, I spent 6 whirlwind days in Nepal. While many tourists come to Nepal to hike the Himalayas, the country still has an unaffected feeling to it. I hope you enjoyed my photos as I enjoyed my time in that beautiful, delicious, and humble country.