Thursday, March 22, 2012

Arrival and other outdated posts

Flight to Kathmandu- not a problem.
Nepal. Amazing, beautiful, perfect. I'm not leaving.
These were the only words I managed to write before it was too dark to continue. I want to start from the beginning but every minute that passes I feel I have something new to rejoice in. Just now, I am sitting outside a cafe drinking milk tea and eating homemade bread but at my side is a large stick to scare away monkeys. I can honestly say this is a first. Right now I can see a bull (male monkey) eyeing my bread but I'm ignoring him as the locals do. Never look a monkey in the eye, never smile at a monkey. Easier said than done. These bouncy little rascals are adorable through a TV screen or when depicted on birthday cards but in real life when you see then screaming at each other, fighting dogs, and robbing little old ladies of their groceries- the cute factor wears off. They're a little like hostile toddlers with super human strength and no conscience. I'm also talking to a group of 3 volunteers with an Israeli organization nearby- 2 Americans, one Israeli. Kathmandu is kind of a melting pot- I've met people from all over.
Just went inside to the back of the bakery which doubles as the owner's home. He saw me typing outside and said I could use the WiFi, a service not offered to most but business is slow this morning. All of this typed up and I'm only describing what is happening now and what has happened in the past 10 minutes - to think I've got 24 hours to recap. Ok, enough with the stream of consciousness, time for some structure.
From where I left off:
New Delhi was nothing special...for me Thatis. Apparently the sleep deprivation caught up with me. I landed at about 11:30 pm (here you will read that as 23:11) and got through the airport no trouble. Since it was a domestic flight I was able to avoid the hang-ups of customs. I got to my hotel around 12:30 am (00:30) and began typing up my blog. It had to be done in pieces because it's based on a 20 page journal entry. I had free internet in my hotel and a lot of people from home were online so I talked to friends and family. I went to bed around 5:00am and woke up the next day at about 6:00pm. Woops. I finished typing my blog post, posted it and then hung around the hotel- it was already getting dark and the part of New Delhi I was in (from what I could see) was a great deal seedier than the part of Mumbai I'd been in the previous night, a lot more urban devoid of little neighborhoods and vegetable carts- in fact it looked a little American, a very dirty New York. These observations come from the taxi ride to and from my hotel. I really cannot speak for nether the city of Mumbai nor Delhi because of what little exposure I had. The only thing I noted in were squatters, make shift homes on the side of the road built from tarps and other materials that aren't exactly house-worthy. It tugged at my heart to see the feet of people sticking out from under the make-shift shelters they called home. Naturally, after sleeping all day, I was up all night mostly watching crazy Bollywood movies and playing on Facebook. Interesting thing that I've never really considered: hulu,netflix, and pandora only cater to the US (maybe Canada too). I assumed the WORLD wide web meant everyone but I suppose not. My yahoo homepage now gives me the latest gossip on bollywoodstars and the articles about dating are pretty funny when translated.
I flew in from Kathmandu into Tribhuvan International airport around 9am. Tribhuvan International is pretty shabby but fully functional and not busy enough to be terribly confusing. We land on the runway and I climb aboard a bus that takes us to the actual airport. Customs is fairly easy.
Nepal is...amazing. I don't want to post the pictures I took because I see the thumbnail and it's just SO frustrating. I simply cannot capture it in a photo. Kathmandu is crowded and dusty but so full of life. Shops line every street, the roads are winding and hilly, and the people are everywhere. I passed through Tamel, the tourist district of Kathmandu. It's incredibly busy, incredibly colorful and incredibly loud. My taxi arrived in Swyambhu , a great deal less intimidating than Tamel and dropped me off. I climbed out of the taxi, so grateful I had packed light and stared at what is around me. I am surrounded. In Georgia they'd be mountains but here they are simply hills but to me they are giants, wonders of nature. A temple is behind me, draped in colorful prayer flags. There are dogs and monkeys and children staring at me. My coordinator met me and gave me the lay of the land. I can't tell you what he said because I was so overwhelmed with my new neighborhood I wasn't listening- I was just gawking at my new life.
From what I see, Kathmandu is beautiful, but it's certainly not perfect. Trash is an ever present. Poverty is also ever present. Luckily for me, Swyambhu (though it is not wealthy) is a tiny close knit area, void of beggars and tragedy. The people of Swyambhu have very little, but they are quite content. (from what I can see.)
After a quick tour, I was taken to the Volunteer House to get settled. This is where i met my fellow volunteers, the people I'd be spending a LOT of time with for the next three months. Call it karma, call it chance, I prefer to blame serendipity- these people are awesome. They are exactly who you'd want to be stuck with in a developing country. There are eight: 2 Americans, 2 French, 4 Irish- 2 men, the rest women. All lovely, just lovely.
I have many more posts to come but I simply can't keep up! Sorry to leave you hanging.This should hold you over for now- know that I am madly in love with life these days.


  1. MOnkeys are not your friends. A friend of mine found that out the hard way in Bali when one walked up to her and bit her. Because it was wild, she had to go through the rabies series which is NOT fun.

    Your trip sounds so wonderful - landing in a completely different culture will teach you a lot about yourself.

  2. my whole perception of monkeys is shattered....but this post makes me want to go. Glad you continue to have a good time, though that appears to be an understatement.

    Hope it continues to get better.