As an illustrator, Philip Cassirer recreates the place from memory, from sketches or even with the help of photographs. He believes that people with an untrained eye will find it much easier to recognise an illustrator by his style than a photographer. In addition to "What does a yak cost", the Hamburg native has published an illustrated book "Technology for Children".
Swayambhunath is a temple complex, on the west of Kathmandu on a legendary hill. More than 2000 years old, the sanctuary is considered to be one of the oldest Buddhist temple complexes in the world alongside Borobudur in Indonesia.
Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, is located at an altitude of around 1300 meters in a wide valley in the middle of the Himalayas. Once a place of longing full of poetry, today Kathmandu is just a stopover on the way to the mountains for many tourists.
Pokhara is the second largest city in Nepal, located on Lake Phewa. In addition to the loud and stuffy Kathmandu with its crowded streets, Pokhara appears almost idyllic. Mountain lovers appreciate the city as the starting point for the Annapurna Circuit, a popular trekking tour in the Himalayas.
There are few countries in the world in which as many different people with different cultures and different origins live together in a confined space as in Nepal. Almost every valley has its own ethnic group with its own language, a total of 124 languages and dialects.
Varanasi is one of the oldest permanently inhabited cities in the world. It lies halfway between Delhi and Kolkata and, due to its unfiltered impressions, is as exotic as it is disturbing for many: thousands of small shops, crowds of beggars, pilgrims and flying traders as well as crowds of people in the narrow dark alleys determine the cityscape.
In holy Varanasi, Hindus seek redemption. Whoever wants to die or burn relatives on the banks of the Ganges comes here. In Hinduism, it is believed to escape the eternal cycle of rebirth and to go straight to nirvana. Cremation takes place practically around the clock at the two burning ghats.
The Red Fort in the north Indian city of Delhi is a fortress and palace complex from the Mughal Empire. It was built between 1639 and 1648 for the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2007.
Traffic chaos prevails in every metropolis, especially in Asia. It is particularly bad in Dhaka. The capital of Bangladesh is one big traffic jam. It paralyzes the city every day. It takes drivers an hour and a half to drive eight kilometers.
Thomas Hummitzsch in conversation about "Was kostet ein Yak"
There are many self-deprecating references in the novel, for instance when you describe the position of travellers in overland buses in Asia, address the problems of constipation and drug use or simply illustrate their bewilderment when faced with cultural differences."