Last time I left you stranded at the Kathmandu airport with me. Let’s see how we made out.

 

Wheeling my baggage cart out of the airport I was immediately swarmed by ‘helpful’ taxi drivers.  I kept saying someone was meeting me but as time kept passing with no Chris, they once again offered ‘help’.  Actually one of them recognized the ‘i to i’ company name I kept saying and offered to phone Chris for me.

 

This was my introduction to the Nepalese mobile phone system.  Most of the conversation consisted of “Hello? Hello? Hello?” only to learn that we were unable to contact Chris. LSS (long story short) I got into a cab which had a slight resemblance to a vehicle, with a driver who insisted he knew where the Student Guest House was and brought his friend to ‘assist’ and off we went.

 

Two minutes into the journey and the words “Whose great idea was THIS?!” reverberated repeatedly in my brain. If you have any romantic notions of the city of Kathmandu nestled in the heart of the majestic Himalayas, I may ruin them for you…..momentarily.

 

Roads:  My head hit the roof of the taxi more than once as we made our way over broken, pot-holed pavement, dirt, rocks, gravel piles, pedestrians, motorcycles, bicycles, cars, buses and rickshaws. No sidewalks make the roads fair game for all.  The honking of horns, considered polite as it is a warning you are getting run into if you don’t move, is a constant cachaphony. Add to that the fact that the average width of a road is about two Smart cars wide.

 

 

 

 

I’m thinking we are driving all the way to Tibet and that I’m at the total mercy of this driver when he stopped dead in the middle of all this chaos, says ‘wait’ and disappears.  Five minutes later, during which I had panicked thoughts gerbil-wheeling in my mind, he reappeared with Chris! Somehow his wife had understood some words through the static of the mobile phone call and he went to the hotel to wait for me.  Suddenly I am a five year old who has lost mommy in the supermarket when she miraculously appears through a throng of people’s legs.  I didn’t realize I had been holding my breath for an hour until I saw him and exhaled!

 

Dust:  It is not chemical pollution that covers the city in a haze that climbs hundreds of feet into the air, its dust.  Most roads are not paved within the city and none outside the city.  Then there is the lack of rain for months.  Many people wear masks. I have yet to see a mountain through this haze!

 

 

 

 

I'll never complain about my electricity bill again!

I'll never complain about my electricity bill again!

 

 

 

 

Smells:  Is there a word to describe the mixed soup of every odor imaginable?  I’ll work on that one.

 

My Accommodation:  Up three flights of marble stairs Chris and I struggle with my luggage. Not much point in elevators in a country that has no electricity half of the time. I walk into a room that is best described by yourself as you watch the attached video. 

 

 

student-guest-house-nepal1

 

 

What you don’t see is my room key, a skeleton key from a couple of centuries ago.  In the ensuing days I learn that it will only work when I use my left hand (??), cross my eyes, bite my tongue and pray.  A last ditch solution is to either run down the three flights to get Suresh on the desk or holler for him down the stairs and ask for help. Either one works and I’ve taken to hollering. I realize I must never have to get into my room in a hurry for the bathroom!

 

I am warned that it takes 3 to 5 minutes for hot water to reach the third floor. Handy tip as I wanted nothing more than a shower. The bathroom IS the shower.  Everything gets cleaned…me and the sink and the toilet and the floor and the walls.  After which I grab my hair dryer and attempt to turn the knob from 110 to 220 volts…no dice.  Now what am I going to do?  I have brought a small screwdriver for another purpose and low and behold it is the right one and the right size to take my blow dryer apart, get the knob in the right place, put it back together again and find it works!  Aren’t you proud of me DB??

 

I try very hard to make it to dinner with some of the other i to i volunteers from Australia, Switzerland, Boston, England and Ireland, but by 4 PM I collapse into bed and sleep for 15 hours.

 

chef-depaak_1_1

 

The next morning the world begins to become upright again, my balance is restored and with it my good old optimism.  As with everything in life, we can make it hard or we can make it easy and it all begins with how we think.  My choice is made and suddenly everything looks different.  See just how different with my next post!

 

Monkey Family

 

Here’s a preview:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lynn

A View of Kathmandu

A View of Kathmandu