Kathmandu, April 2017. The small alleys of Thamel, the tourist quarter of Kathmandu, are crowded with travelers. Most of them have come a long way, some have been on a journey for months. They have stories to tell - about quit jobs, untangled relationships and their personal reasons for a trip to seek enlightenment or enjoy the beauty of the Himalayas. Nepal is a place of longing.
"Traffic in Kathmandu is worse than in Bagkok", a local says. People wear masks to protect themselves from all the dust. Taxi drivers have golden prayer wheels made of plastic on their dashboards. „There are three religions in Nepal“, a rickshaw driver says. „Hinduism, buddhism and tourism“. A clothing retailer finally convices two men from the USA to buy a scarf „made of pure Yak-wool“. It will go well with their loose cut clothes, the retailer assures. „Buying a scarf on a saturday morning brings good luck!“
Outside of Thamel thousands of people celebrate the day of democracy. Young Nepalese are chanting euphorically, older men in traditional clothes give speeches through megaphones, music ensembles attract a huge crowd of spectators. Police officers wear riot gear, dozens of women sell water bottles which will get thrown into the gutters later. A group of young women protest for „education and gender equality“, one of them tells. Just a stone‘s throw away a young couple from Chile poses in front of a camera with a Sadhu. „Everytime you look at the picture, you will feel great satisfaction“, one of the seated men guarantees and blows his conch shell for a last picture.