Today marked the first day of the end of my trip. No more work on the classroom would be done and all that remained was 2 days of festival and 2 days in Kathmandu.
The Holi festival was described to me simply as 'the festival of colour'. I don't know the answers to any 'why?' questions but I presume that the Nepali way would be to instead ask 'why not?'. One of the teachers, Ramu, told us that with all the public holidays in Nepal (92 public holidays a year) and all the strikes Nepalese people only work about half of the year!
In the morning I played non-stop table tennis and after a special 'festival edition' daal baht (it came with an omelet!) we wandered into town. Barely halfway into town we were covered in paint and water. Children and adults alike were running around the streets smearing paint on each others' faces and throwing water bombs. Guy and I, looking obviously foreign and unarmed, were perfect targets. It was great fun and a good taste of what was to come with the children the next day.
We walked home feeling as bright and cheery as the kaleidoscope of colour that covered us and anticipating that we would have a whole another day of fun to come. On the way back I vowed that before I left Nepal I would pet a goat. I think goats are great animals. They are great climbers, they can defend themselves, and they produce cashmere, milk and even eventually (*sob*) meat. Plus they look all gangly (something I can relate to) and have great beards (something that I envy). What other creature can boast such an array of pleasing qualities? None? Yeah, that's what I thought. Anyway, long story short is that I like goats and am willing to risk a goat-related ailment (NOTE: The height of an average goats head - and horns - aligns perfectly with my groin) for the pleasure of patting one. Soon..... soon.
After dinner Ramu and Ramesh were keen to show us the cultural dances in celebration of the holi festival. Being a male-only event the dances were predictably fueled on testosterone. The men (myself included) danced and stomped while rotating in a circular motion. most men were also hitting a plastic bottle in one hand with a stick held in the other hand. I was told that this particular dance was a celebration of Newari culture. I'm not a macho type of guy; I don't enjoy going to the gym, don't follow sports, and have little to no interest in typically manly activivies like hunting. It's not that I consciously reject these things, it's just that they tend not to arouse in me any passion. - Tonight was different. The vibe was infectious, contagious, tribal. All that mattered at that time was complete immersion in the dancing, stomping, and chanting. I could have run into battle with these men to slay a wilderbeest - I kid you not. I felt like I'd been taken into a tribe. It was a unique experience.
The rest of the evening was enjoyable but mundane in comparison to the Newari cultural dance. We went to a small Nepalese house-party (sat on the floor, ate dry noodles, drank beer) and then went home.