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At altitude in Kathmandu with the backpack 2.0

Felix Groteloh is a guy who's up for nearly any sort of adventure, as long he get's to bring a camera. And we've received some impressions of where he, as he put it in his own words, "dragged our brandnew backpack through the mire all the time". But because we know how much the all-new Hybrid-Canvas technology on the backpack 2.0 can take and it can be cleaned with ease, Felix didn't step on our tie doing so.

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Kathmandu, that sounds mystical and exotic, however it turns out to be "terribly vile city" as Felix' said. But the capital of Nepal still seems to have unexpected tricks up its sleeve. There is no other city we can think of that can match the sheer number of UNESCO World Heritage sites. For any portrait- or streetphotographer this city is an incredible place, too. The people are extremely friendly, welcoming and polite while being wonderful subjects for photography as well. They really treat guests like devine creatures and they want you to feel like you're at home with them.

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We had to learn that the compagnon backpack was not the first piece of culture and craftsmanship from Germany's Black Forest that made it to Kathmandu. Seeing cakes on display that are actually quite typical for our home region is somewhat weird. The backpack on the other hand, taken from the feedback we received from Felix, had been an totally reliable, durable and comfortable travel buddy he wouldn't want to miss looking back.

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The highlight in his trip to Nepal was the Katjazz International festival. This happened because of his ties to Mr Jonas Winterhalter, a man passionate about the nature and people of Nepal, who had been on many trips to the Himalaya region and somehow built a connection to Kathmandu Jazz Conservatory, where he was invited to be a guest lecturer for students. Jonas is a visionary, he will not be held back in his pursuit to start this unique cultural project, not even by the poverty and political shifts this neck of the woods continues to go through.

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The result, the Kathmandu Jazz Conservatory, established in the early 2000s, is an incredibly important project. The school is financed by donations and took over the task of training young Nepalese musicians. This year the first class of students received their diploma after studying for two years. This school also aims to provide musical education to kids from various social backggrounds. Together with the Consevatory the ideal of hosting a guest big band came up in 2017. Bringing in 18 professional musicians from Switzerland, France, the US and Germany for two weeks was unheard of here. Everyone in our group loved the experience.

How Felix put it down in his own words:

I spent 14 days with the Jonas Winterhalter Big Band. It was the first time in Nepal for me and what can I say: Check out the pictures I took, especially if you didn't have the pleasure of going there yet, you might get an idea what I was able to see and experience there.

Pictures talk louder than words, but some information might be helpful, I wouldn't want you to leave the house without a shirt or shoes: The Jazz Conservatory in Kathmandu invited the JWBB (20 musicians and a photographer to give workshops, individual tutoring and play concerts at the KAT JAZZ FESTIVAL 2019. Besides the actual festival we got the chance to perform at Kaalo.101, an independent artist collective, where we gave a concert for children living on the street. This was an incredible experience.

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I appreciate the chance to move my inner horizon for a few inches. I met fabulous people and this is something I don't write without meaning it. Honestly, Nepalese people are very welcoming and even though they endure poverty they love life and compared to this place, I've seen so many more grumpy people in Germany or Europe.

Namaste.

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