Friday, December 21, 2012

Nepal's Quirky National Museum

Firstly - I owe an apology for the tardiness of this blog post, about a month since the last one! Partially I've been ill (more on that later), and partially I've been incredibly busy (ditto). But most annoyingly has been Google, which has broken slightly, preventing me uploading to the blog with Picasa and now requiring me to upload each blog post via the web interface - which means I need to resize every picture and still endure about an hour of waiting. Sorry.

So going back to November, I spent the weekend after the moustache post residing in Thamel, doing a lot of (well-planned) Christmas shopping and enjoying being away from it all for a while. I ate lots of momos, chatted to an Olympic skier and wandered from cafe to cafe looking for the best hot chocolate in town.

On the Sunday, Amy joined me in town and we decided to visit Nepal's famously quirky national museum, on the outskirts of the town centre. This required a half-hour walk, during which we put the world to rights while observing our surroundings degrade from the botox'd Thamel to the REAL Kathmandu - lots of dirt, rubbish, and people staring at the crazy westerners. Unfortunately, crossing the river irked one of my biggest disappointments about Nepal, that there is no rubbish disposal system save sending it downstream to India...


We arrived at the museum at 9:30, before it opened, and engaged the guard (who was very chatty - Amy does have that effect on Nepali men, I have found) in light conversation until we were permitted to enter. Inside was a very static display of first stone, then metal, then wood carvings and a more than normal proportion of erotic couplings depicted in these media...

Outside I enjoyed viewing a very decrepit car, someone had attempted to respray the wheels in-situ resulting in silver paint all over the subframe, but otherwise it looked quite authenticly one of the first cars in Nepal. Bizarrely, the notice said that it had been 'carried in by Porters'. Why?!

Another part of the museum held clay sculpture. Including this 'auspicious vessel' (?) and skull shaped cups. And a tiny, tiny chode cannon. And plenty of creepy dolls.

Another part of the museum held clay sculpture. Including this 'auspicious vessel' (?) and skull shaped cups. And a tiny, tiny chode cannon. And plenty of creepy dolls.

And then we came across the room I had been waiting for. The very well-publicised whale jawbones had pride of place in a hallway of badly-stuffed deer which looked more like a hunting trophy room, surrounding by birds that were obviously decaying. None of these exhibits had any explanation, so my query about what whale bones were doing in a landlocked country went unanswered.

Next we saw some more recent cultural artifacts, including cabinet upon cabinet of sets of weapons which were, until quite recently, gifted to every Prime Minister when he enters office. I would love to see the great Dave wield some of these kukris. There was also a painting showing the white man's triumphant slaughtering of the wild tigers. And a room full of coins - I wonder if anyone has told them that in England we no longer use shillings and ha'pennies?


So that was that - we rushed back to Thamel to meet a new acquaintance for lunch, then headed back to Lokanthali. And, as the almost certain consequence of something I ate while spending my weekend in Thamel, I spent the next 5 days rushing from bedroom to toilet with acute gastroenteritis! Only my second episode of the whole trip so I thought I was doing quite well.

1 comment:

  1. Well! Hey! That old car at that time was carried by porters while crossing the river, and other crossings where the car cannot run as at that time there was no wide road in most of the places. That is what i know about it. And about the description given there, it is to vague, that is it!