Nepal

Most people when they think of Nepal, which is probably not very often, will only think of Mount Everest, earthquakes and Gurkhas. Those of us who can remember the Sixties (yes, we all know what John Lennon said about that) will remember the hippie invasion which brought Nepal to the attention of the twentieth century.

But, to me Nepal is about the most wonderful people, incredible scenery and a world so different from my own Wales.  Nepal was once the very poorest nation on Earth.  It is now about nineteenth poorest which is an improvement. It is about half the size of the UK and has about half of the population mostly concentrated in the Kathmandu Valley and the southern region bordering India. With the Himalayan region in the north these three comprise the basic divisions of Nepal.

The real complication to me is its ethnic and linguistic mix.  Nepali is the main language but it is spoken by less than half of the population with another dozen or more languages spoken by the rest.  But this is easy to comprehend compared to the number of ethnic groups.  There are approximately 125 of these, many linked directly to the caste system for 80% of the people are Hindu, the remainder being mostly Buddhist.

But, do you know what?  Apropros of none of this I love their attitude to their dogs.  Wherever you are in Nepal, there will small families of dogs every couple of hundred yards or so.  They serve as sentries, barking at strangers entering their territory at night.  As one Nepali said to me, “You can follow the progress of somebody walking down the street by the gradual reduction in volume as the barking of the dogs receded into the distance”.  These are not the mangy, starving dogs of India.  They are well fed and well looked after generally.  Quite surprising to me in such a poor country.  There, now that was far more important than the names of the rivers and the heights of the mountains but, just in case that’s what you expected here is some real information:

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