“Namaste!” I was to hear this greeting many, many times in the three and a half months I spent in Nepal. I heard it from taxi drivers, hoteliers, old women carrying firewood on narrow mountain trails, and hundreds of times from students at the school I taught at. Loosely translated, “namaste” means, “I bow to the divine within you.” A bit different from the common “hello” most often heard in English speaking countries. While in cities, “hello” is becoming increasingly widespread, especially in areas frequented by tourists, in the rural areas “Namaste” stills reigns supreme. It is an excellent example of the polite respect Nepalese afford to all visitors to this beautiful country. It also showcases the narrowing bridge between a formerly isolated Himalayan Hindu kingdom and a modern nation.

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