Saturday, January 19, 2008

Getting out of India and into Nepal

As Clara and I got closer to the Nepal border we braced ourselves for what was to come. The last city in India was a cacophony of 600,000 people, horns, pollution and dust and dirt. We had of course heard about India being such an advancing country, and how poor Nepal was. The last 60 miles to the border became more and more poor, the roads narrower and more broken. I finally had an accident in India, when a guy on 125 saw someone he knew passing him in the other direction on the 10 foot wide road. He decided to immediately stop in the middle of the road, with me about 5 feet behind him. Luckily we were going less than 10 miles an hour, I slammed on my brakes but the crash was inevitable on the loose dirt and stone so I steered directly into his back wheel and just bumped him off to the side of the road. He remained upright. I slowed down and glared, as he looked back with a surprised but knowledgeably guilty look. The point is, that Clara and I were preparing ourselves for even worse, dirt track roads and utter chaos.

What we found shocked and surprised us in such a positive way, that we were singing with Glee as we rode along the wide, well paved highway with well behaved traffic, smiling waving children, and well spoken women unafraid to talk to us giving us directions. We started singing the “What a concept!” game.

Not many Indians have been outside India. If they would take the time to visit their northern neighbor of Nepal they might learn some concepts that would improve their quality of life. The best part is that many of these changes are free of charge and the tools required are readily available. For example:

Turn Signals: What a concept!
Mirrors folded out to see behind you: What a concept!
Everyone driving the correct direction: What a concept!
No cows on the roads: What a concept!
Bikes and pedestrians on the shoulder of the highway: What a concept!
Shoulder of a highway: What a concept!
No trash in the rivers: What a concept!
Which leads to: clear water: What a concept!
Air you can breath: What a concept!
Answering questions, not staring: What a concept!
Forests: what a concept!

Some things might cost some money, but investment reaps rewards:

A tourism office at the border with information about your country: What a concept!
All children going to schools: What a concept!
Clean roads: What a concept!
Limited population: What a concept!
Clean drinking and non-suspicious bottled water: What a concept!

Finally, it is amazing sometimes what a difference a border can make. One side of the border the cow is sacred, on the other it is our dinner. Food for thought.

1 comment:

Alicia said...

Sending you both smiles and hugs from Miami.