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Trip to Nepal!

Malcolm (ACCA)
BIKASH Nepal, Nepal

I arrived with BIKASH in Pokhara on Thursday having left London on Tuesday evening. The journey was trouble free but has already created interesting first impressions and experiences to share. Leaving London Heathrow at 21:30 on Tuesday I arrived with the time difference in Delhi late Wednesday morning. There was a slight queue to get through transit checks and security, Delhi airport is new and very modern “all major currencies accepted”. There is even, rather surprisingly, a WH Smith’s there selling their usual products.

The flight to Kathmandu was on a much smaller plane, and the window seat allowed fantastic views of the Himalayas and the sprawling Kathmandu on the landing approach. The suburbs of Kathmandu consist of lovely new houses with terrace gardens, whilst the centre is something of a contrast. It is a City when the population has grown rapidly over the last few years, it has to be said that it is rather crowded , dusty and the air is quite smoggy.
It reminded me very much of my visit to Delhi rather than perhaps the usual way in which people imagine Nepal to be. The people are very friendly and helpful; practically all of them speak English to at least some degree, so much so that I am told that amongst the young the native language is dying out.

BIKASH work 6 days a week so Sunday was my second day at their offices. A chance to really start to get into the detail of the assignment. Rather different from undertaking an audit somewhere where people are a little circumspect with one’s questioning the staff here are very friendly and happy to tell me things and look for advice.

Lunch is provided at the office and today I had a new experience of beaten rice. Apparently it is rice that is soaked in water overnight (historically at the paddy field) then fried, and then beaten. It results on a flaky consistency (similar I suppose to almond flakes available at Supermarkets for cooking back in the UK). It is served cold; in today’s case with a curry that is slightly more liquid than usual so that the rice takes up the moisture, I dropped a small hint in the hope it will be served again before I leave!!
Yesterday I was given lifts to the office, one as a pillion passenger on a scooter, there’s a fascinating art to driving on the crowded streets, a consistent speed that allows for seamless weaving in between all the various other road users, we didn’t actually come to a halt once. Today I walked, there is a short cut but I missed it this morning, so it took an hour, in the reverse direction and after some help with directions to the footpath bridge coming back took about 45 minutes.

The experience of walking is wonderful, seeing people just going about their lives, in such a different manner to London. It seems not everyone here has a washing machine……………….

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