(Disclaimer: I wrote this post 2 weeks ago, and then forgot about it. But it’s still relevant…kind of.)
Before we left for Nepal, many people in Sweden would ask us ‘So how is the weather in Nepal?’. On a side note: I have no memory of getting this question that often when I would be in the Netherlands before going somewhere far. Why, Sweden? What’s so interesting about the weather?
Anyhow, usually the conversation would go something like this:
Us: Pretty cold, now that it’s winter!
Them (picturing Sweden in wintertime): Oh, really? Does it snow?
Us: No, it actually doesn’t go below zero where we live.
Them: So what is the average temperature?
Us: Well…in day time it can be up to 20 degrees, in the sun. (we see an eyebrow go up slightly)
Us, quickly: But it gets colder in the evening! And, and, there is no heating! No really…we SUFFER!
We can just see how they quietly judge us….how dare you say it’s cold in Nepal! Sweden in winter, now THAT’S cold!
And while we understand that cold is relative, and that snow and ice would be much worse than what we have to endure, I would like to do an effort to make you, dear reader, understand what it’s like to experience a Nepali winter. Because temperatures don’t say THAT much without central heating.
If you do like to know better what the temperatures are, I got this forecast for Pokhara. Check out those minimum temperatures! It’s ALMOST freezing, at least!
First of all, the houses are made of concrete, often with marble floors. Doesn’t quite give that cozy atmosphere you’re looking for when you can see your own breath coming out in clouds.
Then the windows are single glass, with wooden frames that never fit well. To illustrate this: with all doors and windows closed, we can still see the curtains move back and forth in the draft…
While the sun in the day time is lovely, the moment you step into the concrete house you can feel the cold come up from the floors. It doesn’t hold heat at all. Even when you put a gas heater in the room, you only get warm sitting right in front of it. Because the lack of insulation, all the heat then goes straight through the windows (and the 5cm gap under the front door doesn’t help much either, I suppose).
Cloudy days are the worst. There is nowhere to heat up, so you just wrap yourself in a fleece blanket, while dreaming of the beaches in Thailand.
This is what I wear on a regular winter day (besides underwear, obviously):
– long johns (or just some good old plain leggings from H&M)
– 2 pairs of thin socks
– 1 pair of thick woolen socks (if I’m indoors)
– tank top
– t shirt
– long sleeve (or 2)
– fleece vest
Sometimes indoors I will add one of Jacobs hoodies, or a down vest, and I always walk around on slippers, so my feet stay warmer.
On the motorbike I will wear a soft shell (wind stopper or something) jacket instead of the fleece, although when driving at night I need both.
When walking or cycling I will take of the fleece, but only if I’m moving/in the sun.
But before you start sending us electrical blankets, hot water bottles and down pants: it’s really not that bad, as the temperatures will rise again in February, and then boom, summer comes: 7 months of 30 plus degrees and humidity. We love the marble floors, then. And would be miserable if the houses were actually insulated.
So really. We’ll be fine ;)