The horns of Nepal are an ancient way of communicating. They stem back hundreds of years but have been passed on throughout the generations. When we stepped out of the airport they blasted us in the face.
The first thing you see upon leaving the Tribuvhan Airport in Kathmandu are the hungry Nepalese faces; either looking for a loved one or looking for their next cab fare. But before you see faces, you hear horns.
Hundreds of horns blowing away. Long, short, squeaky, deep, they are all varied. You might be tempted to offense, as I was, but quell your wrath and listen closer, for each horn tells a tale. Or at the very least, a brief comment.
Here are 15 different vehicle horns I’ve discerned in my short time here:
- Behind you.
- Beside you.
- I’m cutting you off. Sorry… But not really.
- Namaste (The light in me sees the light in you.)
- I see you. I won’t hit you. Unless you don’t move.
- I see you. I’m going to hit you. There’s nothing you can do… Sorry.
- Watch out! I’m doing something illegal ( U-turn, driving on sidewalk, etc.).
- Slow down. We’re driving at one another because I’m on the wrong side of the road.
- Bus leaves in 5 minutes.
- Bus leaves in 1 minute.
- Put down your Tilka Masala and run. The bus is driving away.
- Watch out, dog!
- Watch out, cow!
- Watch out, chicken!
- Welcome to Nepal. You’re driving on the wrong side of the road.