Archive for the ‘daily life’ Category

Friday’s Back!

in daily life, fuel crisis, restaurants, writing

After quite a few Friday!-less months due to the fuel shortage and all the domino effects that it caused, Friday! has resumed publication, though at the moment it’s monthly, not weekly as it used to be. It’s still happy news, though; another small sign that life here in Kathmandu is getting back to normal.

 

April 2016 Friday cover

If you live in Kathmandu, you can pick up a copy, or read my review of Bú Kebá Organic cafe here. I’m writing an article for May’s issue as we speak — at least I’m supposed to be – obviously I’m writing this instead 🙂 — and I can’t wait for it to come out. The restaurant featured in May is a new one that I already love!

Truth

in daily life, earthquake, Kathmandu

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Sometimes truth comes via the most unlikely avenues – case in point, the above, seen outside the Kathmandu Guest House, which has recently undergone some post-earthquake renovations. I admit I’m not big on change, being more inclined to love the old, ramshackle things and mourn for what is gone. But it’s true – change is the only constant. I only hope it’s all for the better, as this seems to be.

 

 

Happy Birthday…

in daily life, Uncategorized

My mother, if she were alive, would be sixty-five today. While I wish she had lived to see this age, I admit I cannot honestly imagine her in it. In my mind, she is ageless.

The day before yesterday, I bought this teapot as part of a attempt to complete some of my non-earthshattering new year’s resolutions, one of which is to drink more of the beautiful varieties of Nepali loose-leaf tea that I keep buying. Washing it out for the first time, I remembered a nickname of mom’s was Sunshine.

So here I go, raising a cup to her, poured from this sunshine-y teapot.

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When the fuel runs out, you get a bicycle

in daily life, fuel crisis, Nepal

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I imagine that for many of you who read this, it’s hard to imagine living in a country that is almost completely dependent upon its neighbours for most basic necessities. But that’s Nepal — landlocked, we share borders with only India and China, and that northern border is pretty much the Himalayas, with only one narrow road in. So, much of what we need–and all fuel/petroleum products–come in through the Terai, from India. When the new constitution–years in the making–was finally ratified over a month ago now, it triggered protests in the south and a near complete border closure from India. We kept thinking that things had to get better, any minute now, but they haven’t; they’ve only gotten worse. Gas bottles, petrol, diesel, kerosene–none of this is available to buy, unless you are one of those who can afford to pay the black market prices, which friends tell me run at 5-10 times the normal rate. And of course, the people that suffer the most are the poor, particularly those who have been affected by the earthquake. Any appliances that can be used for electric cooking are flying off the shelves, and even here in Kathmandu I see people cooking on the sidewalk using firewood.

By comparison, I’ve been fortunate, so far just inconvenienced and not suffering, as so many are. I’m pretty used to short-term shortages, so I always keep a little bit of petrol saved for my scooter, but as I want to keep that for emergencies, I just bought a cheap bicycle (possibly too cheap, it already rattles 🙂 ) and, looking on the bright side, it’s helping me get some exercise. I’m not sure how much cooking gas is left in the my cylinder, and my spare is empty, as I changed it right when the shortage first began last month and have been unable to refill it since. But I do have an old but trusty little electric oven and a kettle, and I’m experimenting with how much I can do without having to turn on a gas burner. When I go out, if a restaurant is open, I eat there — the new logic of “eat out, save your gas” overriding the former logic of “eat at home, save money.” And besides, I figure they could use the business. But every day, more and more businesses of all sorts are staying closed when they can’t find the supplies to stay open. And now shops are starting to run out of certain things, too, because the vehicles that usually supply them don’t have petrol to move around, either.

Winter Is Coming, and that means the ubiquitous long power cuts that will rule out the oven and kettle, and no kerosene for heating. I haven’t wanted to write about this, because I feel like there’s been so much bad news out of Nepal lately that I hate to add to it.

As always, I am amazed by the cheerfulness and resilience of those around me. But they deserve better, and I can only hope the end is in sight.

And here’s a picture of a baby goat I saw the other day when visiting a friend, because it’s adorable and makes me smile.

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DIY cooler…

in daily life

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When your fridge has been in the repair shop for nearly two weeks and you really want a cold beer – a sturdy garden bucket sure comes in handy… 🙂

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in daily life, earthquake, Kathmandu

Yesterday morning the house rattled; a small surprise. I haven’t felt an aftershock in some time now. While it was a small tremor–only 4.3–it’s a little worrying that its epicentre was Kalimati, right in the heart of Kathmandu. According to the National Seismological Center, 376 aftershocks measuring above 4 on the Richter scale have been recorded since April 25th. And of course that doesn’t count the hundreds of little ones that come in under 4. I join everyone else in the country in hoping and praying that the worst is well behind us, not still to come. New data released last week, which you can read about in this BBC article here, isn’t exactly cheerful, but everywhere I go I see optimism, hard work, rebuilding. To quote the phrase I’ve seen being used everywhere from street art to billboard advertisements: We Will Rise Again.

And now for something completely different…

in baya weaver, birds of the Kathmandu Valley, daily life, Nepal

Nepal has a crazy amazing variety of birds — nearly a tenth of the known birds in the world are represented in this diminutive strip of land. And while I’ve seen some beautiful birds in my years here, since moving to this house last September, I’ve begun to think I might have landed right in the middle of in a bird sanctuary!

I inherited my trusty guide, Birds of Nepal (Fleming, Fleming, & Bangdel: 2000), from a previous housemate, and it is wonderful. While  some drawings  occasionally don’t resemble the birds quite as much as they could, where it really shines is in the area of providing relevant detail that helps to identify the birds described. The Fleming father-son ornithological team have seen 97% of the birds in the book in the field themselves, and they fill their descriptions with specifics and pointers that make identification easier for a newb like me.

I’ve not been able to get many good pictures of the birds I’ve seen, but earlier this week I spotted a cluster of nests in the bamboo grove just down the road from me.

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They turned out to be baya weavers. Common to Nepal, a first for me!

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Celebrate the moments

in daily life, earthquake

After experiencing the big quake on the 25, plus a nearly-as-big-one two weeks later, not to mention hundreds of aftershocks in between and since (we had a sizeable one just after 10 pm last night), one thing has stuck with me big-time. Enjoy the moments. Take every chance to celebrate life and living, especially opportunities that arise to do this with the people you care about.

Yesterday we celebrated Sadiksha’s birthday, and boy did we have a good time. Hope you enjoy the pictures even a fraction as much as we enjoyed living them, and wherever you are, take time to celebrate and this moment with those you love.

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An extra-special birthday dahl-bhat lunch…

 

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If you’re wondering what we ate, this is my plate (note that it’s smaller than Sadiksha’s, and she’s the baby around here!): Rice with peas topped with mildly curried beans instead of the usual daily lentils, a mixed vegetable curry, a fantastic mushroom curry, alu (potato) achar, and chicken curry – Yum!

 

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Then we spent a couple a couple of hours working on a new puzzle, one of our favourite group activities…

 

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…interrupted by a break for  CUPCAKES, a first for the girls. I’d promised the girls I’d try to find some for them after we finished our last puzzle, which was of thirty-six cupcakes 🙂 and amazingly, I managed to find a bakery that had some yesterday morning!

 

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It was a wonderful, wonderful day–we hope yours is, too!

 

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