A journalist observes life in the far north.
I don’t think it hit me that I am going to a developing—this is the politically correct term for Third World—country until my doctor wrote me a prescription for a medication to stave off Typhoid fever, also known as the plague and the blame for the deaths of Theodore Roosevelt’s mother, John Adams’ wife and Abraham Lincoln’s son.
I decided that I had better do some research on Nepal, and here’s some interesting things that I learned. The list is in no particular order.
1) Nepal is at the same latitude as Miami and Cairo. (Lonely Planet)
2) Nepal is about a tenth the size of Alaska at 55,000 square miles but with nearly the same number of people, 30 million, as California, the U.S.A.’s most populous state. (Various sources)
3) The Nepal Electricity Authority has cut power to eight hours a day. (AFP news service)
4) Nepal is only three years out of a civil war. (International Herald Tribune)
5) Bare legs and public smooching are frowned on in Nepal, especially the rural areas. (Lonely Planet)
6) The Hotel Tibet, www.hotel-tibet.com, where we are staying in Kathmandu, has a roof top terrace garden, a house doctor on call, a meditation center and wireless Internet service.
7) About 78 percent of Nepalis live in rural areas and most are farmers. (Lonely Planet and loneyplanet.com)
8 ) Hill people in Nepal do not appreciate foreigners giving their children money, candy or pens as it encourages begging. (Lonely Planet)
9) Nelapis eat only with their right hand and expect visitors to do the same. They only hand objects to people with their right hand also. (Lonely Planet)
10 ) It is taboo to step over someone’s outstretched legs in Nepal. (Lonely Planet)
11) Half of population in Nepal is considered illiterate and a third of the people live in poverty. (CIA)
12) There is an indigenous ethnic group in Nepal that still practices the custom of selling its daughters into slavery. (a Chinese news service)