A happy ending

May 10th, 2008

Well in a sense - as this trip is nearing its end, and we have less than an hour of flying to JFK, I’m fondly remembering my first paid-for massage experience. Evan and I had some extra Bhats and lots of extra time at the Bangkok airport, so we decided to get a full body 45-minute Thai massage. It was a bit weird as we were sweaty and smelly, but they do give you one-size-fits-all PJs, wash your feet with a warm towel, and then proceed to beat the crap out of you. These two tiny Thai girls kept giggling while they flipped us around and inflicted pain (the good kind) to each muscle. They thought we were brothers, possibly because of the beards - do all white guys look the same to Asian people?
Yesterday morning, which seems forever ago, and now definitely half the globe away, we had morning tea in the chill back yard of the Pilgrims bookstore, then said goodbye to good old Kathmandu.
I’ve definitely grown fond of Nepal, and shed a tear or two on the plane when leaving it. Nepal and its people will definitely stay in my heart, and I feel differently than when leaving prior destinations I’ve seen as a tourist. Possibly it’s because I spent more time than at any other place outside of Croatia and the U.S., possibly it’s because the way I’ve seen and experienced Nepal - slowly, by foot, accompanied by the locals, actually getting some understanding of their complex society and culture, and seeing firsthand how difficult life is for most Nepali, who yet somehow still appear happy and friendly.
I don’t know when the next time will be when I get a chance to visit it, and under what circumstances. I am fairly sure that it will be quite a bit different though, as witnessed by all the construction in cities and the mountains. All I can say is that I wish Nepali people all the best with coping with political and economic changes (progress?), a rapid boom in tourism that’s inevitable, and all the environmental and social issues that will come along with it.
This concludes this portion of the program, which turned out to be my most valuable travel experience so far, and until next time, NAMASTE…

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