Expect the Unexpected
Written by Mathilda, Last updated: Sep 14th, 2023
It’s been two weeks since I returned from my one-week trip to Nepal, yet I am still unsure about what to start with the journal. Not because the memory has passed into oblivion but because words simply fail me to describe the overall fantastic experience in that Himalayan country.
– Mathilda Wu, Marketing Specialist at Odyssey Tours
We did a classic Nepal triangle trip of Kathmandu, Chitwan, and Pokhara. I must admit that all have their own charm that very few places can achieve at the same time. Read on, and you’ll see why I have the nerve to say so.
It is in Kathmandu that the saying “the first impression is a lasting impression” holds true for me. The city is massive, nestled in a green valley surrounded by enormous mountains. A quick drive from the airport to the town left me with amazement at the red-brick houses, people’s smiling faces as well as roaming cattle and busy traffic – yes, it’s like what you saw in a movie or that while things are more sophisticated when you are actually there!
Amid the swirling dust and dark fumes, we spotted a riot of colors on the street walls – murals depicting symbols, people, animals, and creative images for up to a stretch of more than a mile. We were told that street art is on the rise, as local and international artists are setting up projects in Nepal to send out messages of man-made beauty.
Nepal was never colonized. Before the unification in the 18th century, it was ruled by several kings, who built three splendid Durbar Squares as royal palaces, which all are now parts of the seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Kathmandu Valley. The one we visited, Patan Durbar Square, is really impressive.
The peaceful palace courtyards contain various well-preserved pagodas and stone temples. Our private guide Kshitij did a good job explaining the functions of the beautiful wood carving, symbols, and ornaments. With his rich knowledge, the ancient site was brought to life. As we walked through, flocks of pigeons circled above the monuments, making a fascinating picture before us.
Perhaps due to the off-season, Durbar Squares are not so much touristy sites as where the locals watch the time away. We had the chance to interact with a group of college students who were taking a break. What they firmly believe in somewhat blew us: skill is more important than education in today’s Nepal.
Durbar Squares, Kathmandu
I was also struck by the fact that the Nepalis see death as an everyday experience when in Pashupatinath Temple, one of the seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The temple is a place where people bring the dead for outdoor cremation on the Bagmati River. Instead of feeling grisly, I found it rather calm. And most peculiarly, the family didn’t mind our being here.
We ran into a few families holding memorial ceremonies for the deceased, such as making unique offerings and shaving the male relatives’ hair.
Pashupatinath is where you encounter genuine sadhus dressed in colorful yellow and orange robes with ashes, long hair, and a beard. A photo opportunity with them is well worth a dollar spent.
Besides much history and culture, Kathmandu has earned its name for fantastic nightlife in Thamel, an active hub full of life, restaurants, shops, and live houses! The area is as safe as anywhere we went in Nepal. We saw many local people hang out here, so there is no way that you would feel as in a touristy place at all.
So this is where we explored the wild jungle. Here we got close to a number of wildlife, including a single-horned rhino, a couple of deer, wild boars, monkeys, and countless beautiful birds. Unfortunately, tigers haven’t been seen for decades.
Chitwan National Park covers a vast area and was once the royal family’s hunting ground. Today it offers dozens of jungle activities, such as Jeep safari, canoeing, jungle walks, and cycling around the village. We were the only group that did a boat ride that afternoon – what a privilege to enjoy the whole tranquil view of the lake and the surroundings!
In short, Chitwan is a perfect place for physically active travelers to discover the undisturbed vestiges of wild species. The other perfect one we know is probably in South Africa (wink).
Oh boy – is there any place better than Pokhara in the world? It’s not in my dictionary, anyway. Located around 200 km west of Kathmandu, Pokhara offers an entirely different picture from the populated capital: clean streets, snow mountains, a laid-back atmosphere, and adventure choices.
The center of the small city is dominated by the majestically beautiful Phewa Lake, from where we can get a clear view of the snow-capped mountains of the Annapurna range. Many lakeside hotels have rooms that you can see the range even from bed – ask your travel consultant to arrange one!
We stayed at Fishtail Lodge, which sits on a quiet peninsula of Phewa Lake. Getting to the lodge is dreamy as the 24-hour ferries and boats are the only access.
It seems you can’t escape Annapurna no matter where you go in Pokhara, but we couldn’t get enough. An easy walk up to a hill where the World Peace Pagoda was built brought us a gorgeous view of the white ranges and the entire Pokhara. Simply mind-blowing.
Many Tibetans came to live in Nepal in 1959. In Pokhara, we visited one of their settlements to experience the culture, history, and present. A middle-aged monk greeted us, and a few school girls fulfilled our wish for photos. Thanks:-) We didn’t have time to eat lunch with a local Tibetan family, which otherwise could have been one of the best memories.
In addition to trekking, Pokhara is arguably the world’s best paragliding venue, which we don’t doubt after a bold try. Soaring with birds with spectacular scenery is something I will never forget.
We spent the early morning of the last day in Pokhara at Sarangkot, a village known as the best place to watch the breathtaking sunrise across the Annapurna Himalaya. I could never believe sunrise could be that incredible before I went here. The snow-capped mountains were painted purple-pink to gold, and the whole valley downhill awoke as the sun slowly came out.
I almost cried when the departure was due. If possible, I would love to revisit in a heartbeat. Nepal is by no means a place you should avoid because of media hoaxes. And I am sure the Western visitors we stumbled into on the way will see eye to eye with us. “Nepal is so safe and beautiful that we couldn’t enjoy more,” they said.
Glossary of The Text
Achieve /əˈtʃiːv/ (verb) – To successfully reach a goal or desired outcome.
Amazement /əˈmeɪzmənt/ (noun) – A feeling of great surprise or wonder.
Ancient /ˈeɪnʃənt/ (adjective) – Very old or from a long time ago.
Ashes /ˈæʃɪz/ (noun) – The residue of something that has been burned.
Boars /bɔːrz/ (noun) – Wild pigs.
Cattle /ˈkætl/ (noun) – Domesticated animals raised for meat or milk.
Charm /ʧɑːrm/ (noun) – The quality of being attractive or pleasing.
Creative /kriˈeɪtɪv/ (adjective) – Having the ability to produce or think of original ideas.
Culture /ˈkʌltʃər/ (noun) – The beliefs, customs, and practices of a particular society or group.
Cyclone /ˈsaɪkloʊn/ (noun) – A violent storm with strong winds and heavy rain.
Departure /dɪˈpɑːrtʃər/ (noun) – The act of leaving a place or starting a journey.
Durbar /ˈdɜːrbɑːr/ (noun) – A court or royal palace in South Asia.
Experience /ɪkˈspɪəriəns/ (noun) – An event or situation that one has encountered or lived through.
Fumes /fjuːmz/ (noun) – Smoke, vapor, or gas produced by combustion or chemical reactions.
Gorgeous /ˈɡɔːrdʒəs/ (adjective) – Extremely attractive or beautiful.
Grisly /ˈɡrɪzli/ (adjective) – Extremely unpleasant or gruesome.
Impression /ɪmˈprɛʃən/ (noun) – A strong effect or feeling produced on the mind or senses.
Jungle /ˈdʒʌŋɡəl/ (noun) – A dense, tropical forest with thick vegetation.
Laid-back /ˌleɪd ˈbæk/ (adjective) – Relaxed and easygoing in manner or attitude.
Majestically /məˈdʒɛstɪkli/ (adverb) – In a grand or impressive manner.
Memorial /məˈmɔːriəl/ (noun) – A structure or event that honors and remembers a person or event.
Monuments /ˈmɑːnjumənts/ (noun) – Structures or objects built to commemorate a person or event.
Peculiarly /pɪˈkjuːljərli/ (adverb) – In an unusual or distinctive manner.
Phewa /ˈfeɪwə/ (noun) – A lake in Pokhara, Nepal.
Picture /ˈpɪktʃər/ (noun) – A representation or image of something.
Privilege /ˈprɪvəlɪdʒ/ (noun) – A special advantage, right, or opportunity.
River /ˈrɪvər/ (noun) – A large natural flow of water, typically toward the sea.
Robes /roʊbz/ (noun) – Loose-fitting clothing, often worn for religious or ceremonial purposes.
Shaving /ˈʃeɪvɪŋ/ (noun) – The act of removing hair from the body using a razor or similar tool.
Soaring /ˈsɔːrɪŋ/ (adjective) – Flying or rising high in the air.
Splendid /ˈsplɛndɪd/ (adjective) – Extremely impressive or magnificent.
Swirling /ˈswɜːrlɪŋ/ (adjective) – Moving in a twisting or spiraling motion.
Symbol /ˈsɪmbəl/ (noun) – A sign, shape, or object that represents something else.
Touristy /ˈtʊrɪsti/ (adjective) – Related to or characteristic of tourism or tourists.
Tranquil /ˈtræŋkwɪl/ (adjective) – Calm and peaceful, without disturbance.
Undisturbed /ˌʌndɪˈstɜːrbd/ (adjective) – Not interrupted or disrupted.
Unification /ˌjuːnɪfɪˈkeɪʃən/ (noun) – The act or process of joining or bringing together into a single entity.
Vessel /ˈvɛsəl/ (noun) – A ship or boat, often used for transportation.
Vestiges /ˈvɛstɪdʒɪz/ (noun) – Traces or remnants of something that once existed.
Wildlife /ˈwaɪldlaɪf/ (noun) – Animals living in their natural habitat, not domesticated.
World Heritage /wɜːrld ˈhɛrɪtɪdʒ/ (noun) – Sites recognized and protected by UNESCO for their cultural or natural significance.
Worth /wɜːrθ/ (adjective) – Having value or merit.
Annapurna /ˌænəˈpʊrnə/ (noun) – A range of mountains in the Himalayas, located in Nepal.
Consultant /kənˈsʌltənt/ (noun) – A person who provides expert advice or services in a specific field.
Cyclone /ˈsaɪkloʊn/ (noun) – A violent storm with strong winds and heavy rain.
Interaction /ˌɪntərˈækʃən/ (noun) – Communication or mutual action between individuals or groups.
Pagoda /pəˈɡoʊdə/ (noun) – A type of Asian religious building with multiple stories and curved roofs.
Snow-capped /ˈsnoʊˌkæpt/ (adjective) – Covered with a layer of snow at the top.
Sophisticated /səˈfɪstɪˌkeɪtɪd/ (adjective) – Developed or advanced in a complex and refined way.
Tourist /ˈtʊrɪst/ (noun) – A person who travels for leisure or pleasure, often to visit new places.
Exercise of Expect the Unexpected NEB Class 10
Exercise of Expect the Unexpected
A. Complete the sentences below with the correct words from the text.
a. The village nestled comfortably among the hills.
b. The garden was a riot of colour.
c. Sophie liked cooking, gardening, and painting murals.
d. Prita screamed loudly when she saw the gristly spider on her foot.
e. This is our privilege to study in such a resourceful school.
f. He showed no vestige of regret for his crime.
g. We have been the victim of a computer virus hoax.
h. We were never colonized by any foreign country.
B. Read the text again and find where a traveller can do the following things. Then, put a tick mark (√) in the correct table.
a. Cycle around the village: Chitwan (mentioned as an activity in Chitwan National Park)
b. Visit Durbar squares: Kathmandu (mentions the Durbar Squares as UNESCO World Heritage Sites)
c. Go paragliding: Pokhara (mentions Pokhara as the world’s best paragliding venue)
d. Hang out with local people even at night: Kathmandu (mentions the nightlife in Thamel)
e. Meet sadhus and take photos with them: Kathmandu (mentions encountering genuine sadhus in Pashupatinath Temple)
f. Walk up to the hill and view the Himalayan ranges: Pokhara (mentions walking up to a hill with the World Peace Pagoda for a view of the Himalayan ranges)
g. Watch the sunrise: Pokhara (mentions Sarangkot village as the best place to watch the sunrise across the Annapurna Himalaya)
C. Answer these questions.
a. Mention the three things that amazed the writer in Kathmandu.
The three things that amazed the writer in Kathmandu were:
i. The massive size of the city is nestled in a green valley surrounded by enormous mountains.
ii. The riot of colours on the street walls with murals depicting symbols, people, animals, and creative images.
iii. The fantastic nightlife in Thamel, an active hub full of life, restaurants, and shops.
b. What indicates that street art is rising in Kathmandu?
Murals depicting various images on the street walls stretching for more than a mile indicate that street art is rising in Kathmandu.
c. Name the two World Heritage Monuments located in Kathmandu.
The two World Heritage Monuments located in Kathmandu are: Patan Durbar Square and Pashupatinath Temple
d. How do the Nepalis perceive death, according to the writer?
According to the writer, the Nepalis perceive death as an everyday experience. The writer mentions visiting the Pashupatinath Temple, where people bring the dead for outdoor cremation on the Bagmati River. Despite the concept of death, the atmosphere is described as calm, and families holding memorial ceremonies for the deceased perform unique offerings and shaving rituals for male relatives.
e. What two special things does the writer mention about the Pashupatinath Temple?
The two special things mentioned about the Pashupatinath Temple are: Encounter with genuine sadhus dressed in colorful yellow and orange robes with ashes, long hair, and beard. The opportunity to take photographs with the sadhus.
f. What does Chitwan National Park offer to its visitors?
Chitwan National Park offers various jungle activities to its visitors, including Jeep safari, canoeing, jungle walk, cycling around the village, boating and the chance to observe wildlife such as single-horned rhinos, deer, wild boars, monkeys, and countless beautiful birds.
g. Whom does the writer recommend to visit Chitwan?
The writer recommends physically active travelers to visit Chitwan National Park.
h. Write any two things that visitors can do in Pokhara. What is Sarangkot known for?
Two things that visitors can do in Pokhara are: i. Trekking (mentioned in relation to the Annapurna range) ii. Paragliding (mentioned as one of the world’s best paragliding venues) Sarangkot is known for the best place to watch the breathtaking sunrise across the Annapurna Himalay.
i. How did the writer feel when he was leaving Nepal?
The writer felt emotional when leaving Nepal and mentioned that if possible, they would love to revisit in a heartbeat. They also mentioned that Nepal is a place that should not be avoided due to media hoaxes, and the writer believes that other western visitors they encountered on the way would agree with them.
D. If you were given the opportunity to visit one of the places mentioned in the text, which one would it be? Give reasons for your choice.
If I had the chance, I’d definitely pick Pokhara as my destination. The way the text describes its picturesque charm, complete with clean streets, snow-capped mountains, and a laid-back atmosphere, makes it sound like an incredibly inviting and peaceful place to visit. The presence of Phewa Lake and the stunning views of the Annapurna range from places like the World Peace Pagoda only enhance the appeal of the area.
What’s even more exciting about Pokhara are the adventure opportunities it offers, such as paragliding and trekking. These activities promise thrilling experiences surrounded by the breathtaking natural beauty of the region. But the absolute highlight for me would be the chance to witness the mesmerizing sunrise at Sarangkot. There, the snow-capped mountains undergo a breathtaking transformation, displaying a vivid palette of colors that’s truly awe-inspiring.
The combination of Pokhara’s natural beauty, the thrill of adventure, and the opportunity to witness such a captivating sunrise makes it an irresistible choice for me.
A. Match the sentences with their question tags.
a. They don’t need to come this evening, do they?
b. James is working on that, – isn’t he?
c. Punam’s parents have been retired, -haven’t they?
d. It was raining that day,- wasn’t it?
e. You hadn’t met me before, – had you?
f. He never came again, – did he?
g. She can rarely come these days,- can she?
h. You hardly ever came late,- did you?
i. I barely know you, – do I ?
j. You would scarcely expect her to know that, -would you?
k. Nothing will happen, -will it ?
l. I am right, -aren’t I ?
m. You have to go, -don’t you?
n. I have been answering, -haven’t I ?
o. Nothing came in the post, -did it?
B. Supply the correct question tags.
a. This’ll work,..won’t it…?
b. Well, I couldn’t help it, …could I…?
c. But you don’t really love her, …do you….?
d. We’d never have known,…would we…?
e. The weather’s bad,….isn’t it…..?
f. You won’t be late, ….will you….?
g. Nobody knows, ….do they…. ?
h. You have a bath daily,…don’t you……?
i. You couldln’t help me,…..could you…..?
j. Shut up,…..will you….?
k. She’s been working hard the whole day, ….hasn’t she.. ?
l. He’s admitted to Patan Hospital last night, ..wasn’t he….?
m. You can make it, …..can’t you…..?
n. Don’t forget,….will you….?
o. Let’s have some fun,…shall we…..?
p. Let us chat,..will you.. ?
q. Your phone didn’t break down,….did it….?
Write a short travelogue featuring a place thet you have recently visited. Use the clues given below.
Where did you go?
How did you plan it? Who did you travel with?
Did you have any special purpose for this travel?
What are some memorable activities and experiences?
Have you learnt anything important?
Journey to Kyoto, Japan
I recently returned from a fascinating trip to Kyoto, Japan, a city steeped in history, gorgeous scenery, and a strong sense of tradition. The choice to visit Kyoto was methodically planned, and I embarked on this voyage with my wife, Sarah, hoping to immerse ourselves in the fascinating city’s distinct culture and traditions.
Our trip to Kyoto was more than just a holiday; it was an opportunity to learn about and experience Japan’s deeply ingrained culture. For years, we had been attracted by Japanese culture, and Kyoto, renowned as Japan’s cultural hub, drew us with its promise of spiritual enlightenment and tranquil beauty.
Our days in Kyoto were jam-packed with great activities. We visited the city’s most famous temples and shrines, including Kinkaku-ji (the Golden Pavilion), Fushimi Inari Taisha with its innumerable torii gates, and the tranquil Ryoan-ji Zen rock garden. Each of these icons made an unforgettable impression on us, providing periods of introspection and tranquillity in the middle of the bustling metropolis.
Attending a traditional tea ceremony was one of the most memorable experiences. We were escorted through the laborious process of creating and enjoying matcha tea, developing a deep respect for the Japanese tea art. It was a lesson in mindfulness and the value of appreciating life’s small joys.
We also got to see a geisha performance, which has been passed down through the generations. We were awestruck by the grace and ability of the geisha, and we respected the effort and discipline necessary to become a real maiko or geiko.
Our gastronomic experiences were also immersed in culture. We had kaiseki dinners, which are traditional multi-course Japanese feasts, as well as street food, such as exquisite takoyaki and yuba ice cream, a Kyoto speciality. Each meal taught me about the Japanese respect for food and presentation.
One of the most essential lessons we took away from our adventure was the importance of simplicity and awareness. The Japanese people’s devotion to their profession, whether it’s the art of tea, Ikebana flower arrangement, or even calligraphy, reminded us of the importance of making time for what we care about. The tour also underlined the value of traditions and the need for cultural heritage preservation.
Our trip to Kyoto was fascinating and informative, leaving us with a great appreciation for Japan’s history and traditions. It served as a reminder that travelling with an open heart and a curious mind may be a transforming voyage of learning and self-discovery.