Contrary to what my last post showed, I did actually go to Pokhara for reasons beyond the goal of seeing mountains.
I have found that a lot of my time during my first few months here has involved networking and making the contacts I need to make the next 8 months of research run more smoothly. Contacts are everything here. Once you know the right people, you meet more of the right people and it is easier to get to the places you need to go to, etc.
I knew that there was a large handicraft and textile market in Pokhara and the surrounding area, but I didn’t have any contacts there. Rather than exhaust my time trying to make phone calls and find people online (most people here don’t have that much of a web presence) I decided it was better to just go and see what the market was like (and how it differs from Kathmandu) and meet people in person. Actual face time conversation is far more effective than the phone.
I was able to make a great contact with a local handicraft store owner. His store has beautiful textiles and handicrafts and he knows many of the local artisans who’s work is in his shop and others in the area. Jackpot! Now, when I go back to Pokhara I have an in for meeting artisans and to see factories in that part of Nepal! Like I said, contacts are everything here!
It was also interesting to see the difference of the Pokhara market compared to the Kathmandu market. Many of the textiles were similar, but it seemed like they were higher quality and better priced in Pokhara. Not really sure why quite yet, but I guess that will be on the list of things to figure out the next time I am there. I do have to say, going to Pokhara has added to the itch of seeing more of this country and the different textiles it has to offer!
photos (c) Bethany Meuleners