beads: more than just a marriage statement

For a long time I have been meaning to post about one of my favorite places in Nepal: the Kathmandu Bead Market.

What’s a better time than now, on the day that I wrote an article about the very same thing for my Himalayan Times column, Style Watch.  Check out an excerpt from that article:

One of my favorite places in Kathmandu as of late is the bead market in Indra Chowk.

I realize that traditionally women flock to this market (and other bead sellers) to purchase marriage beads.  So as an unmarried foreigner it might seem strange that this is on my list of favorite places.

I have been making frequent visits there recently for my fashion research and development—both work related and personal (I can’t resist a few new pieces of jewelry every once and a while).  I have found this market to be incredibly inspirational with the colorful array of beads, the hustle and bustle of the customers and stall owners, and the wide variety of pre-made jewelry that is laid out before me.  To say the very least, these things have been working their way into my designing.

The jewelry and beads that are available are incredibly stylish and are a great way to add to any jewelry collection…whether you are married or not.  Plus, in certain situations, it can be highly convenient to give the impression that you are.  Girls, you know what I’m talking about!

One of the (many) great things about the bead market is that there are endless possibilities.  If you are a quick shopper, you can look through the pre-made jewelry; with the beautiful options that are available you know you will find something great.  If customizing and designing is more your thing, then you have every color and quality of bead to choose from.  The best part is that they will make it for you while you wait, and you know the craftsmanship will be impeccable.

Catch a glimpse of what the market is like:

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uniformly uniform

One of the things that I love in this country are the school uniforms.  Every single child (no matter where they live or how wealthy their family is) wears a uniform to school.

I know in the US a lot of private schools have uniforms, but there is just something different about the uniforms here.  I never looked at uniforms in the US and went, wow, those are pretty awesome (certainly not when I was at an age to be wearing them at least).  However, here I constantly do.  There is just something about them that makes the kids look so well put together and, well, stylish.  Maybe it’s the socks.  Or maybe it’s the fact that the length of the skirt is not becoming creepily short (though there are still the teenage girls who push the limits).  Or it’s the color combinations (and in every neighborhood and every school, the colors are different).  I really can’t pinpoint it.

I have been thinking this since I first arrived in Nepal, but just never blogged about it.  Then, while I was in the mountains on my trek I started noticing that even there, the uniforms were out in full force and it rekindled my want to blog about it.  I unfortunately, was not able to get a good shot of people in the mountains.  Though I will include my one attempt.  Clearly, climbing stairs with a pole in one hand and trying to take a photo in the other (which happened to be my left, and i’m definitely a righty) does not work so well!

attempt at fashion photography in the mountains
some school kids in Lazimpat (my neighborhood)
school children in Boudha
attempt at fashion photography while driving through Chitwan