Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Chapter Two: Nepal, the Practical Option

Kathmandu  is best known in the west as the last stop on the fabled “Hippie Trail” of the 1960s and 70s, which saw thousands of  young people hop the Magic Bus to Asia. Imagine a world where you could jump on a bus in London or Amsterdam and get off a  few weeks later in Nepal,  crossing Europe, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India on the way.  

Now, imagine that meeting of cultures, when those hordes of young round-eyed palefaces in floral tunics and granny glasses showed up in Nepal, at that time an isolated and backward country which had been closed to foreigners until 1951.  The hippies came in search of exoticism, spiritual adventure and cannabis, three things Kathmandu had in excess.  Nepalis supplied eastern wisdom and their acclaimed hashish, then quite legal in Nepal, and the hippies supplied foreign currency and recipes for brownies and fettucine alfredo, planting the seeds for what is now one of Asia’s best tourism industries.  Until recently, Kathmandu was the only place in Southwest Asia where you could find a truly good baguette or a proper strudel...

From Chapter Two of Alice of Nepal.  Read Chapter One here. Donate at least $10 to Alice's travel fund and get every episode delivered to your mailbox.