I sit in my room on a Wednesday night listening to the sounds of Kathmandu. The gentle gentle sounds of taxis playing douff douff (YouTube – Safe for work) as they drive over pot holes of roads destroyed by the Earth Quake of 2015, about 15 dogs alternating turns at barking sometimes skipping turns and joining in together. The beautiful vibrant city is going off at 3:53 am.
The first chance I get to travel “properly” as described by snobs of travel. Yes, believe it or not even the free spirited traveler’s have a structured hierarchy. Traveling is NOT going to Thailand for three weeks, it is NOT going on a drunken Contiki Bus Tour, it’s living off of very little bartering hard and not staying in anything other than a hostel. I must say it truly is an adventure and a life decision of mine to never live normal again.
On my travels, I have been to quite a few places all of which seem to be modernized and hot on the trail of America’s lead like the rest of us. Every where I go there is masses of people in small groups not talking to each other, instead, they are either walking to the nearest WiFi hot spot or they are already at one with there head bowed watching their favourite YouTuber. Even some of the unsuspected tourist areas like Thailand’s floating market’s where it is there job to give an authentic Thai experience. Still, while they wait for customers to take for a joy ride in the traditional Thai boats they again have their heads bowed busily entertaining themselves with what they can find on their phone.
I decide to travel to Cambodia, to the city of Phnom Penh! As I arrive same again. No sign of tradition, just a city in need of better infrastructure budget and management. The smells and the trip hazards of rubbish covering the side walk but as I’m told recently by A German fella to which I forget the name he tells me that I got the worst experience as other cities are better. To be honest I should have guessed Capital cities are renowned for being terrible. I was not able to explore further as I was called back to Australia for my aunty Lynn’s funeral.
I return to Asia through Singapore, which to no surprise is the worst of them all. The money laundering capital of the world…so I’m told by an Indian entrepreneur who tells me he is making somewhere in the realm of 10,000 euro’s per month doing undisclosed activities. I hope he is helping his poverty stricken country by paying tax but then again he just told me I’m in the money laundering capital of the world!
I spend 3 months in a Thailand again before I’m off to the Himalayas to visit the Nepalese out by Mount Everest. Kathmandu out in the Himalayas. If you’re coming from Australia just a quick 8-10 hour flight if you go through Singapore or Kuala Lumpur and you’re living hard in Kathmandu. To which you are greeted by an army of Taxi driver’s and then ambushed by Adventure Trekking company consultants…great just what I want after hours of flying…to talk to a very bad salesman.
I have spent about 2 weeks in Kathmandu working on my projects, seeing the sights and testing out my Samsung S6 Edge Photography skills. No sales on Foap just yet…
The first thing that springs to mind is the old movie Aladdin as it is all dusty roads and very old building. It is actually quite breath Taking. I’m staying in the touristy location of Thamel. Which, even for Asia’s standards is the loudest suburb in the world 24 hours a day but it’s still really cool to be looking at the Himalayas every day from the rooftops.
I finally I know why Arabs in movies are always wearing a scarf around their faces in the movies, to keep the dust out of their mouths. I have also learned very quickly to not stand in front of doorways of buildings and look for directions on my phone as you are in the direct line of fire of having a flem filled loogie fired at your groin area at the speed of sound, followed by a nostril missile. It’s very Ready, Fire and Aim around here if you know what I mean. I have been lucky so far but I feel it’s only a matter of time.
There are mystical markets, women walking around In traditional religious attire, bartering going on at every corner and non-gay men holding hands. That is until you exit the district of Thamel also it’s tourist areas and see that it is business as usual with people on their phones FaceBooking, Skyping, Instagramming and Nepalese women pouting for selfies. Hmmm, it seems that escape from the western world will only be possible for a short amount of time as even developing countries such as Nepal take on the modern, vain, self-destructive western culture has its final death grip of the once diverse cultured world. At the end of the day, social media platforms, search engines and anything in between has to make money from advertisements…and there is plenty of untapped world population to convert!
Don’t get me wrong there is still plenty of religion and culture in these countries which is what us Westerner’s come to see especially once you get out of the tourist areas and visit the towns. What I am getting at is that even the poorest of countries are slowly following the Western lead of neck and thumb joint problems from the new world epidemic named the smart phone. This will not happen in the next ten to twenty years but who knows what happens after that. If you suffer from FOMO then I would go to the nearest culture packed country and before they sell out!!!