Nepal is a land of diverse culture and people. Stuck in the middle between India and China, it is the subject of some fairly intense international action, especially since it holds an abundant supply of natural resources, particularly in terms of water.
Although people’s common perception of Nepal is of Sir Edmund Hillary climbing Mt Everest and for Matt, perhaps his grandad being one of only two people to have ever summitted the Chamar, to me, Nepal is full of mountains that hold high volumes of water at altitude, meaning a kayaker’s paradise. The scale of these rivers is sometimes hard to comprehend coming from New Zealand, with some of the rivers having peak flows of around 24,000 cumecs. In comparison, the Waimakariri in the highest ever recorded flood had a flow of 4,000 cumecs and a normal flow of 100 cumecs. Fortunately, we timed our trip outside of these flows, but the power of the rivers was still fairly heavy and it took a while to get used to it all.
With such an abundant supply of water in high places, it is no wonder that Nepal has begun extensive works to dam many of the rivers that it has, including ones that are held sacred by the locals. From local sources, it appears that Nepal is building dams for significantly more power generation than is required for themselves. Interestingly, with as many dams in Nepal being constructed, there seems to be just as many that have fallen prey to the huge monsoons that rip through the rivers during the rainy season. Maybe they need some NZ skill to help build the dams properly, or a design factor for enormous boulders.
From a health and safety point of view, Nepal is probably a picture of what some Kiwi construction workers refer to as the “good ol’ days”, with works being carried out whenever, wherever, in whatever. The main choice of footwear was jandals both in casual form and for work. Surprisingly, we never saw an accident in Nepal, although I think that welding in sunglasses will eventually give some of the guys headaches.
Nepal is a great place to enjoy a slower pace of life, where everything is + or – a couple of hours and no one really seems to care about anything. The weather is warm and the locals are really friendly, although they are pretty keen to get a hold of your money if you slip in your bargaining.
I really enjoyed Nepal and the opportunity to explore a country mostly by rivers and bus, which travelled at about the same pace. I was stoked that Matt and Abby gave me the time off to travel to Nepal and ready now to get back into working with BVT.