Flying into Kathmandu, we got a glimpse of green hills dotted with houses. But Nepal is not a bucolic, South Asian Switzerland. Kathmandu is more polluted than even Delhi -- a local resident explained why. Apparently, in an attempt to make Nepal more environmentally friendly, the government had increased excise taxes to stiff amounts. A Maruti van which sells for 3 lakh rupees in India sells for 13 lakhs in Nepal! Naturally, the people adjusted by simply running their old, inefficient cars for longer. The upshot is that five minutes in Kathmandu, we were all coughing. And things only got worse. By the end of our four days in Kathmandu, we all had got serious colds.
Something that always strikes me whenever I go to Canada is how derivative Canada is, of the USA. Nepal strikes me as the same. Even the ice-cream brand sold by the pushcarts is Indian.