When I backpacked with friends around Southeast Asia in 2005, we often heard the phrase "same same but different." Often used to hawk goods (it looks like a Rolex but is not the real thing) or to describe a restaurant dish (it's like bangers and mash but different), this phrase can suggest a range of meanings, but it generally applies to situations when something seems similar but is different in some ways. Makes perfect sense, right?
That phrase has been floating through my mind over the last couple of days because I cannot help but keep a running tally of the things that have remained the same and the things that are different since I was last in Nepal. So this post is the first of a two-part series dedicated to "same same but different." In this post I will cover the things that are same same and in the next post I will write about the things that are different.
On to the same same.
It is likely that on any given day you will see -- among the cars, motorcycles, buses, and pedestrians already crowding the roads -- cows:
Motorcycles still outnumber cars:
Children are overwhelmingly cute:
Women labor just as hard as men:
Monks frequently add individual style to their robes:
Evening circumambulation at the Boudha stupa is a busy scene:
And a musical recording of the Buddhist mantra "om mani padme hum" still plays from every CD store located around the Boudha stupa, creating a song-in-round effect and lending a soundtrack to daily life in Boudha. Check out the little video that I took today in Boudha:
Stay tuned for my post on the things that are different.