Being the only girl on the trip is definitely a ‘thing’ and it’s not because I point it out all the time, it seems to be in line with the way society here rolls. Our third day in Kathmandu we joined Hira and his friends to celebrate a local festival in their village and out of 25+ guys at most times, I was the only female.
On our way to the festival, I wobblingly demounted the bike high from the ride, and walked into a small room packed with 15 guys chatting and smoking and preparing for the festival. They all shook my hand and acknowledged me like the other guys and I am pleased and impressed to get the same respect and acknowldgement as everyone else. That doesn’t always happen in Lebanon, fyi.
Hira tells us fights will most likely break out but not to worry, because we’re foreigners and no one would mess with us. He was sure to stress that “Bricks don’t have eyes” so you have to be on the lookout yourself as well. In the case of non-flying-brick violence, the entire gang was dedicated to our personal safety. And on top of all of that: my safety. I felt pretty fucking cool that this all-boy Nepali neighborhood gang led by a former fighting champion had my back.
The festival was mayhem:
I noticed very few women during the festivities, save for the ones passing out Tan and blessing the temples. But it wasn’t until after the festival when we got down and feasted that I was slapped in the face with the reality of the missing sex. On the rooftop of the host of the festival’s house sat about 40 men and boys, Seniors and Juniors of the gang, chatting laughing and smoking.
We chilled on the concrete ground and some boys passed out plates. Then, an older woman and a much younger girl climbed up carrying pots of piping hot food. They set the pots of buffalo and potatoes and dhal down and departed. They were the host’s mother and daughter, whom we did not see again until we descended to leave. As I mushed all my dhal and pounded rice around with some grilled buffalo and fingered it into my mouth (no utensils) I looked around. “I am the only female on top of this roof of 40 people, and probably the only one who is allowed to be up here.” I almost took it for granted and passed over the huge blaring fact. Where are the women? No girls in the gang? Where do they hang out? Are they just cooking and taking care of babies?
Well, I asked Hira about it one day on our balcony in Pokhara. One (of many) answer[s] has been staring me in the face for the past 2+ years: Many of the women in Nepal are off working in the Middle East. In fact I’ve read that 2.5 million Nepalis work in the ME, most of them women, whose salaries they send home are the only support the entire family lives off of. In Nepal, the average income is $1 a day.
Conditions for the women working in the Middle East are worse than rough, they’re deplorable, and it’s such a bummer that their meager salaries of a couple hundred dollars a month is what makes them stay there. Recently, Nepal made the drastic move of banning women under 30 years old to work in the Gulf because of how terribly they are treated and how high the chances for physical and sexual abuse are. Isn’t that insane!?
Also, the ones who aren’t off working abroad are working closer to home, that is, in the home. They are the cleaners, cookers, baby-makers and caretakers whose jobs take up a lot of time. Oh, they’re also the phsycial laborers outside of the home. They don’t seem to be able to hang out with the dudes so much. Nepali women, according to Wikipedia, are generally subordinate in most aspects of life, education, and government representation.
Perhaps there’s one thing we can find beautiful in this blatant inequality. About 95% of the women you do pass on the street are wearing traditional dress, i.e. wildly colorful flowing pants and saris in every bold pigment of the rainbow. They all have kohled eyes — even the baby girls — and they wear a lot of jewelry. They really nailed it when it comes to exhibiting breathtaking beauty. The men only wear jeans or pants with button down shirts or just T-shirts.
Electric Youth, cherished in my heart for their dreamy electro sound and renowned for their song ‘A Real Hero’ on the Drive soundtrack, just released a video for ‘Runaway’ which is directed by Noel Paul and cast and shot in Lebanon.
Noel as you remember, was our [more]
“We’ve had to cut out a lot of shit to get here”-Adrian
Back when Layal and I started our own radio show we broadcast through a spotty Internet source at our favorite local beer joint in Beirut.
While hardly anyone in Lebanon had good enough Internet to stream the show, and those outside Lebanon couldn’t rely on the weak stream to listen either, we were lucky enough to have the space, equipment, and support to try our hands at somethin... [more]
Camping, off-festival events, environtmentalism, and the biggest acts in Lebanon
“It doesn’t get better than Wickerpark.” says Philippe Manasseh, lead singer of last year’s Canadian-Lebanese headliner Wake Island, and recent member of How Sad, also part of the 2014 lineup.
For the fourth year in a row, Junior Daou and his family open their large swath of land for a day of music, art, a... [more]
-But Berlin DJ predictably denied into Lebanon for Israeli stamp
You know what, I’m glad the Middle Eastern Gulf region is taking into account all kinds of sexy when it comes to deporting men.
Because the most recent deportee is a 55-year old German man, Rolf Buccholz, internationally known for holding the Guinness World Record in having the most body piercings.
Buchholz flew to Dubai to party it up at Circque le Soir, a club that pro... [more]
Norwegians are the masters of understatement. When something is gargantuan, they’ll say ‘It’s a bit big’ and when something’s breathtakingly beautiful, they’ll say ‘It’s nice.’ If a friend made a $10 million profit on a business deal, they’d claim he made ‘a bit of money.’
I still don’t understand whether it&... [more]
-I was the only dancer and they noticed