Experiences of an American woman who was married to a Serb.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Parade in Pokhara Nepal

After I blogged here yesterday I went over to a local cafe for an early supper. Despite it not being an official holiday here, street traffic and foot traffic had exploded, at least quintupling in 24 hours. Which, naturally, was why Pokhara's department of public works decided that the afternoon of Dec 25th was the perfect time to send out a road crew to Lakeside's main street.

Their goal, beyond wreaking traffic havok, was indiscernable. A crew of road workers dug new holes in the street by hand (you almost never see power tools are ever used here for manual labor) by banging the ground with the ends of metal poles. Then a follow-up crew came directly behind them filling in the new holes with gravel mixed with thin black tar-water by the shoveload on the spot (literally.) The finished road was neither worse nor better in any way than it had been to start with ... just a bit blacker in spots.

In the midst of this activity came the most astonishing sight -- first one, and then an entire fleet of small motorcycles bearing Nepali drivers and a passenger dressed as Santa Clause! Including red outfit and plastic face mask with white skin and beard. They neglected padding though, so all the Santas were Nepali-slender.

Next came a slowly jolting along parade of SUVs, buses, and flatbeds bearing various Christian dignitaries and locals, including a priest, dozens of singing school children, and what lookd to be a manger display only instead of the virgin Mary there was a pretty girl in a shiny blue satin dress who looked very much like Miss Nepal. Everyone was waving like the British Queen, with cupped palm.

The only problem was, there was no one conspicously Christian to wave to. No one besides me sitting alone, the first Western customer of the evening at the outdoor cafe. I raised my hand (in the American waving manner) and did my duty as best I could. Was very much surprised to find tears springing to my eyes.

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