Happy New Year 2072!

in daily life, environment, Kathmandu | No Comments »

On the first day of the Nepali New Year 2072 (April 14th, 2015 by the English calendar), the Nepali government imposed a ban on plastic bags within the Kathmandu Valley. This is wonderful news and a great way to ring in the new year — anyone who has been here knows the litter issues that exist. I’m encouraged to see how much this has already been implemented in just one week since it came into effect last Monday, and I hope it spreads to the whole of Nepal.

Happy new year to us all!

What to do in Kathmandu? Japanese Film Festival on 27 & 28 February 2015

in activities, Japan, Nepal | No Comments »

A Japanese Film Festival has been organized by the Embassy of Japan & JALTAN; I’ve included the details below and linked to Wikipedia in the cases where summaries of the movies are available there. Film festivals organized by embassies here in Kathmandu are usually free and subtitled in English, but passes are generally available on a first come-first served basis, so if you’re interested, pick up your tickets soon.

27th February (Friday)
3 pm – The Wife of Gegege

28th February (Saturday)
11 am – Children Who Chase Lost Voices (anime)
1:25 pm – Swing Girls (comedy)
3:15 pm Éclair

I was unable to find any details about The Wife of Gegege and Éclair, so I guess those will be a surprise!

The movies are being screened at the Tribhuvan Army Officer’s Club in Tundikhel, Kathmandu and the passes are available at the Japanese Embassy in Panipokhari or at the JALTAN Office at Bishwo Bhasa Campus, Exhibition Road.

If you’re looking for something fun and free to do in Kathmandu on the 27th and 28th of February, enjoy!

Only in Nepal

in animals, daily life, Nepal | No Comments »

Reading the daily paper here has the potential for so much amusement. I can’t think that you’d find something like this on the front page anywhere else…


The Himalayan Times, Thursday, 12 February 2015

a year ago today

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I awoke this morning to a perfect blue sky flecked with white clouds that the wind was tossing around. Surprisingly—considering how I’ve been feeling in the days leading up to today—I woke up happy.

He died a year ago, today, and my life has been poorer since. But for having had him in my life, for as long as I did, my life has been that much richer, every single day of it. And still is.

For a while, I vacillated: stay at home, cocooned in a comforting warmth of memories and safety if tears should come, or go out, celebrate, after a manner and do something I might have done with him if he was here, if he had ever come here.

Easier – safer to stay home, and yet. I went to Brian’s Grill and ordered a heap of buffalo wings—the best in the city for my money, and something I think he would have enjoyed eating. I also ordered a pitcher of strawberry daiquiri, though that was for me—he was never a drinker.

And I sat on the windy restaurant rooftop and ate and drank in his memory—and read a book, in this case Elizabeth George’s wonderful Write Away.

We used to talk about him visiting me here: If I ever win the lottery, I’m coming to visit you, he’d say; If I ever sell that novel, I’ll buy a ticket for you to fly over here, I’d think.

Neither happened; I think we both knew he would never make it here, and that was okay—he’d done his share of traveling and was enjoying a little stability and the quiet moments of life: fishing in the mountains, playing the drums, a few moments for himself after a life spent for others.

Though he never saw my life here, he once said to me “I carry you in my heart wherever I go: always have, always will.”

These days, I do the same.

Simple, tasty food

in daily life, Food, Kathmandu | No Comments »


The photo above is an example of everything I love about Nepali food: it was served to me as a snack while visiting someone’s home. Everything was simple, but supremely good: a brown flour roti, some black dahl – plain but creamy, and a bowl of mixed beans and vegetables, lightly seasoned. It was all made from scratch, of course, and tasted fresh and bright, despite it all being cooked. I love the way Nepali home cooks can take the humblest of ingredients and a few spices and turn seemingly anything into a feast.

Another kind of mountain

in daily life, Food, Kathmandu, Nepal, Vegetables | No Comments »


These might not be the kind of mountains most people think of when they think of Nepal, but at this time of year, heaps of the white daikon radish, known locally as mula, appear on the side of the road in certain parts of the city. I’m always in awe of the quantities there are. Nepalis love to pickle or ferment mula and serve it as a flavourful accompaniment to their dahl-bhat dinners. There are so many variations of mula achar; the word achar is often translated as pickle, but it is not a pickle in the way we know it–rather it almost serves as a seasoning to the plainer tasting dahl, and can be made with a wide variety of vegetables. A common version of mula achar involves julienning it before drying it in the sun, and then tossing with spices and oil before packing it into jars to mature.

Makes me hungry just thinking about it. I don’t think, however, that this farmer would sell me some in less than gargantuan proportions, so I’ll have to get some from my local vegetable seller. Ah, the local vegetable sellers I buy from–they’re a colorful cast of characters and that’s a whole story in itself!