This time I’m going to share a secret without revealing the actual secret. The four of us accidently got off the bus on the right time. The more than five hour during scary bus drive took us to a small villages near Kathmandu, high in the mountains. It may be one of the nicest places on earth. Not because it’s the most beautiful or anything, just because we discovered it.

After almost falling out of the local bus we watch it drive away. One restaurant on top of a mountain and for the rest; a road, some trees and clouds. The lovely Sherpa lady showed us our house about a few hundred meters up the road. A big house with large balconies. Everything was painted in light blue, but worn away by the weather. And the best of all it was quite and cool.

A nation bus strike forced us to stay there much longer than expected. Every day we woke up early, opened the doors and did nothing at all. We survived on cookies, red bull, chips and water. At night we could choose one thing at the only restaurant there; dhal bhaat. Rice, lentil soup and some vegetables. We ate like the locals with our hands and played cards afterwards with a nice cup of masala tea. For once we felt like we lived were we traveled, a home away from home.

Only after three nights the dhal bhaat started to work on our stomachs, the time of our visa is started to run out and the fun of being stuck somewhere nice was al of a sudden not so nice anymore. We needed to go. With a privet jeep we were brought to the heart of Nepal again for our last days of this wonderful country.

–  I like secrets to remain secrets.

Rik

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#008 Choices we make.

May 15, 2011

Once in a while my mind drifts away to the matter of: making choices, or most of the time, choices made for you. If I want to, I can have hours of discussion about this matter with my brother. But, usually I avoid them, cause he’s so fucking stubborn. Well, I guess I’m too. Now I’m traveling with him in my company this discussions can’t always be avoided.

We don’t always have a choice. Whether it’s a matter of life or death or just a choice made for you. Sometimes we make choices which affect other people’s lives. Like here in Nepal. On a trekking through the Himalayas we stayed at some villages to spend a night. The people who live there are fully selfeficend. They grow their own rice and vegetables. Everything they have is made by their own hands. Since we, western people, come to visit them, we bring our ‘problems’ with us. Because we would like to drink that beer and eat that candy bar, they end up having a big garbage problem. Nobody tells them what to do, they just toss it away. So, because we choose to want western products everywhere, we choose for others to polluted their environment.

In a country like the Netherlands, I got a great range of choices to make. Choices I’m happy to make. Do I walk, cycle or go by car to the store? What kind of food will I buy? Which program will I watch on the television tonight? A lot of questions with always an answer. I only never think of the people who only have so less choices to make. No questions at all, just choices to survive. Choices between live and death.

Again shame raised upon me and my brother still doesn’t get it. I’ll hope he’ll learn just as much of it, like I do. My life will never be the same.

–  I choose to choose wisely, from now on.

Rik

As a sort of contrast, there is for every good thing something bad. Is it a need for this world to produce some evil in revenge for the great things in life. Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth? If this is one of the universes we live in, is this the universe where we learn right and wrong?

On this very moment my thoughts are recovering from air pollution. My brain is full of dust and my soul is broken. In one city I’ve seen the best and worst things of my life. But the worse are getting the overhand and broken the love for that city, Kathmandu.

After a 7 hour jeep ride from the border of India we finally saw Kathmandu in its valley with the beautiful Himalayan background. The multicolored houses on the waves of hills tied together with busy streets. Our hunger for culture was beyond everything before. As soon as we arrived in the centre of the town, we realized that is was dirty and dusty, busy and crowed. Every breath you take outside feels like you’re breading sand. Every step you take is another challenge not to get disturbed by hassles.

At first we really liked it. The best food ever and everything was really cheap. It’s easy to walk and the touts are easy to smile away. In a way it felt like home immediately. But, it began to go downwards when we walked to the river to see the water float down de city. The river turned out to be the biggest dumb you’ll ever see. Everything is just thrown in there and everybody is looking the other way, don’t caring about where it might go. It made me sick and sad. Sad because people just don’t know the consequences. They grow their vegetables on the polluted river banks and feed their children with it. Miles away from the city other people are washing themselves in that toxic water where death animals lay in.

It made me sick just because it was disgusting. And because of that it made me feel ashamed. Ashamed of how good my live in the Netherlands is. How angry I get if the garbage men are a day late. How easy I think of garbage, because at home my government knows what to do with it.

We stayed there for a few days. It wasn’t enough time, but we needed to escape. The thick brown layer of smog above the city was taking weeks of the end of our life’s. The shame was too great to see any men from Kathmandu in their eyes. I needed to run away from it. Still there is a dot in my heart to get me back there, in a few weeks.

–  I pollute my soul with shame and anger and clean it with love and desire.

Rik