Trip to Nepal an enjoyable experience for Newton woman

NEWTON (HRT NEWS): Traveling abroad involves experiencing new things. For Colleen Burke, 20, of Newton, a trip to Nepal involved sampling a local treat — water buffalo milk.

The 2010 Lincoln High School graduate ventured to the mountainous country of Nepal in southwest Asia for 2½ months beginning in November 2010 to become immersed in the culture of her aunt Sarita Miller’s homeland.

One of Burke’s most unique memories came during a visit with Miller’s family in their mountain village.“Her family was really great, and I loved seeing where she grew up — it’s really beautiful,” said Burke, who was joined on the trip by her aunt, uncle (Sarita’s husband, Scott Miller, a Manitowoc native) and their young son, Joseph, all of whom now live in Manitowoc.

“One of the things that stands out — one day they milked a water buffalo and gave it to me right there as a warm glass of milk — straight up gave me the glass right from the buffalo. You could see a few grease pools and some specks of dirt in it, but I drank it and it was OK.

“I let them boil it for me first,” Burke added with a smile.

It proved to be an enjoyable, eye-opening trip for a woman who hadn’t traveled beyond the United States and Canada before.

“When I got to the airport (in Katmandu, the capital city), everything was so different than here. I was shocked,” Burke said.

“As soon as I got to the airport, people were putting white scarves around us, like a greeting. Then we all piled into one taxi — eight or nine of us in a four-seater taxi. People were sitting on people’s laps. It was really crowded.

“The whole time on the ride from the airport to their house, my mouth was hanging open. Everything was just so different.”

And congested.

“Nepal is really beautiful with mountains everywhere, but it seems like everyone is crowded into Katmandu (which has a population of about 1 million) so there’s a lot going on there,” Burke said.

“Vehicles were swerving in and out of traffic and going around people in the streets. There were cows and animals walking downs the streets, and a lot of stray dogs.

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