The art of waiting

The art of waiting

As a Dutchie, you must have a visa to enter Nepal. You can arrange that upon your arrival at Kathmandu airport, but I would always recommend to go to the Nepalese Consulate in Amsterdam beforehand. Faster and simpler: at the airport you need to wait with the rest of the passengers of your and presumably other flights. And they don’t work fast in Nepal. In Amsterdam it is a lot smoother.

In itself getting a visa for Nepal in the Netherlands is a formality: just go to Amsterdam; bring cash only, because no cards can be used at the consulate; wait, wait, wait; fill in a form with a photo and than you get a sticker and a few stamps in your passport; pay and your done.

On the other hand, it is truly the start of the entire Nepal experience, because it all starts with waiting. And waiting is an art in itself that in Nepal has developed in to a higher art. As a traveler to and in Nepal and you better learn how to wait, because otherwise you’ll experience an uncomfortable trip. Because in Nepal you can wait for anywhere, anytime, and for any length of time.

And waiting begins at the consulate itself. Because you can only go there on working days between 10.30 and 13.00 hour. Very nice and easy for working people from other parts of the country. So you need to take a day off … When you get inside the consulate, the waiting is fun again, because there are more people who go to Nepal and all have their own story. You hear things…

You can learn to master the art of waiting. The secret of good waiting – like so many things – is in good preparation. I have mastered this art as a now experienced traveler to and in Nepal even though I am not the most patient person in the world. I have learned the hard way. In those impromptu cases I was hit hard with boredom, thirst, irritation and other such not very constructive feelings.

And then the penny dropped. For what is it they say? ‘When in Rome, do as the Romans do’. Well, that goes elsewhere in the world also. And after the first less pleasant waiting experiences, I looked how the locals did it. In Nepal you never go out without a bottle of water, something to read, eat, some music, pen and paper and possibly a pack of playing cards. If you unexpectedly have to wait somewhere indefinitely, you have options: eating, drinking, reading, listening to music, writing, and maybe a game of cards with fellow sufferers. Works every time.

In this way, suddenly waiting is a completely different experience. Together watching people, have long conversations, pondering the meaning of life, photo camera cleaning. Almost nervously soothing. I am still not a fan of waiting, but I am better at it. Since I mastered the fine art of waiting I have had many fun experiences. And for a pleasant stay in Nepal that is of crucial importance.

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4 Smiling Faces

Smiling Faces is the abbreviation for the Helping Hands 4 Smiling Faces Foundation, that was started by Tjitske Weersma in 2008. We improve the living conditions of children in children’s homes in developing countries with specific, small-scale projects in which they are central. We also support them when they have to leave those homes at 18 and have no safety net to fall back on. With us they come first. With our help they’ll go so much further, are they able to make their own choices and can they make shape their own lives.