Mittwoch, 27. April 2016

Holy shit - it's Holi! - Hello Nepal!

Hours spent at the airport: 26
Imagine this: you have a great Goodbyparty in Sri Lanka (thanks guys, that night was awesome!) and sleep for 1,5 hours. Then spend the day (6 hours) in a bus to the airport just to find out that you've missed your flight (I don't wanna hear anything that this happend again! At least it was cheap this time), spend 12 hours at the airport, then fly to KL for 5 hours and then spend some more (like 10) hours at that airport. After another 3 hours flight you arrive in Nepal at 1 a.m.
To those who are as bad I am in Math: that means more or less 36 hours of bittersweet travelling after 1,5 hours of sleep.

Working hard in my "airport office"
Tired is one word for that. Anyway, after getting my backpack back (and after getting over the fact that the front pocket was open and my beloved knife was gone..) and getting to Kathmandu Center, it only took me one hour to find my hostel. But since Nepalis are the most friendly people on earth (I could write a whole post about it and probably I will....) I was in good company with this young Nepali, who helped me looking for one hour, using his phone, my map and lots of other Nepalis we met on the way.
Finally we did find the right place and the tired-to-hell-Leonie was welcomed with the words: "Hey there, you better go to sleep, we'll wake you up in about 5 hours, you know, it's Holi tomorrow...?!"

You do not wanna hear this after almost 40 hours with no sleep (or 50something with 1,5 hours sleep). But yes, I had no idea that it was Holi and even with dark shades under my eyes it turned out to one of the most amazing welcome days I've ever had in a country!

Most of you guys know about Holi, for those who don't: it is a traditional hindu festival, coming from India. Basically you get very (!) colorful that day ;) Holi is held the day after the first fullmoon in the Phalgun (February or March) and lasts 2-5 days. Depending on country or city the festival itself and it's meaning can variate a little but they all have in common that lots of people are on the street, throwing water(-bombs) and colored pulver at each other and themselves. They sing and dance, welcome the spring, bless each other and celebrate the victory of the good over the bad. Social status, age or nationality are unimportant that day - everyone (but widows) can and should join the festival.

Fireflies Hostel staff and guest going crazy
That's the theory. The truth is: it's even more beautiful. Tourists, locals, old, young, men, women, rich and poor were dancing together on the streets of Kathmandu. You definitely shouldn't be afraid of body contact, as everyone you meet will rub color in your face with a huge smile and a "Happy Holiiiii!" and I have to say as a woman it can get a little uncomfortable, being total surrounded by people, since some men just take the chance and grab your boobs or behind. But in the end... That was 2 minutes and the rest of that day was full of love and community. I really never saw this before. It didn't matter where someone was coming from or which language was spoken. Everyone shared a good time. Without any borders.

What a warm welcome!

Meanwhile - we heard about this in the evening of Holi - the Brussel's attacks took place. The difference couldn't have  been any bigger. At one end of the world people are inviting strangers to dance to their holy festival. On the other side people get killed because of cultural and religious differences. Once more I felt the need of this world and it's citizens to open their hearts to the unknown. And I mean both sides. The side who were actually attack and the side who got scared after and wanted to close all borders. 
Yes. There are and will always be people who are (or act) badly. But this shouldn't keep us away to share love and wisdom. To open our hearts without fear for the unknown and learn from it instead of fighting it. 
The Holi in Nepal and the wonderful Nepali people showed me once more that this is actually possible.

I know. I sound like the worst Hippie on earth. Maybe I am. But just because I seen this happening and I see other things happening which are going in the wrong direction. So... start today!


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