Walking barefoot (through blood)
If you happen to be in Nepal on the day before New Year’s Eve, you might want to give Gorkha, the old kingdom’s capital, a try;
Chance are there are no tourists around.
The shady hotel owner tries to convince you that there are no busses going on the next day (‘There will be a strike. Stay two nights.’), while everyone else you ask gives his word for the busses to ride. Ha, you snake, not on my watch, I know your type by now, you think.
The area around is gorgeous, so is the view on the way to the temple on top of the hill. Up there, you lock up your shoes and belt and the other leather-containing things you carry on you (bring a lock).
What a wonderful architecture, you think, and those artistically crafted wooden doors and windows, chapeaux! Oh, look at the funny monkeys, haha. Wait, a goat? What is it doing up here? And why are these people carrying around living roosters in plastic bags?
When the monks share their ganja pipe with you and head off to paint the roosters, you slowly realize that the brown marks on the ground are there for a reason—and that you have been wading through blood all along.
So it comes that you find yourself waiting for the holy ceremony of stoned monks chopping off the heads of make-up-wearing chickens.
You peacefully sit in the corner, trying to be invisible to the members of the ceremony. It is an interesting and surprisingly un-frightening act of blood where the chickens are thrown into high air after, well, losing their mind—and when the locals raise their phones to snap pictures, you feel free to do the same.
On the way back, you find the goat neatly stuffed in a green plastic bag, upside down, without a head.
Someone picked your lock, your shoes are gone.
Plus, on the next day, there is a bus strike.
Boris Pink in Gorkha, December 30th, 2011