Kathmandu, April 2017. The small alleys of Thamel, the tourist quarter of Kathmandu, are crowded with travellers. Most of them come from far away and have been on a journey for months. They tell about day jobs being quit and relationships that suddenly ended. Everyone has his or her own reason to hit the road, seek enlightenment, hope for new spiritual insights during a sabbatical or is just on the way into the thin air of the Himalayas. Nepal is a place of longing, people usually come here to broaden one‘s horizon and make a clean sweep.
Traffic in Kathmandu is worse than in Bagkok, a local says. You have to cover your face or wear a mask to protect from all the dust. Taxi drivers have golden prayer wheels made of plastic on their dashboards. „There are three religions in Nepal“, a rickshaw driver says. „Hinduism, buddhism and tourism“. A clothing retailer finally convices two men from the USA to buy a scarf „made of pure Yak-wool“, she says. It will go well with their loose cut clothes, the retailer assures. „Buying a scarf on a saturday morning brings good luck!“
Outside of Thamel thousands of people celebrate the day of democracy. Young Nepalese are chanting euphorically, older men in traditional fashion give speeches through megaphones, music ensembles attract a huge crowd of spectators. Police officers wear riot gear, dozens of women sell water bottles that get emptied and thrown into the gutters quickly. A group of young women protest for „education and gender equality“, one of them tells. Just a stone‘s throw away a young couple from Chile poses in front of a camera with a Sadhu. „Everytime you look at the picture, you will feel great satisfaction“, one of the seated men guarantees and blows his conch shell for a last picture.