Archive | July, 2012

First day of work

30 Jul

I arrived at work today and was told that every employee is on leave for one reason or another so I’m to just read the pamphlets and familiarize myself with the organization. The program officer was there to meet me, and after about an hour, went home sick and left me with only one other employee in the office, the accountant.

People will be on leave till at least Wednesday and as I have 2 days of language class to catch up on, I am not going to work till Thursday in order to make them up then Friday is an optional holiday. I’ll take it! Apparently there will be people around Durbar square in Kathmandu with masks and all sorts of picture-worthy stuff. I don’t know what for, but I will be there!

Fair Trade Group is really neat. I think that once I figure out what exactly it does…it will be a good place to work. I am to make a new product catalog, fix and fancify the website (I have NO web skills whatsoever) and other similar things. Should be interesting.


Today there were ants crawling all around though because my window is near plants outdoors. Even now I can’t stop itching all over. Sigh…

Downstairs from the office is a store that sells products from many of the 17 FTG member organizations, as well as some fair trade products from other parts of South Asia including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. One must walk through the store to get to the office which I am sure will prove extremely difficult for me.

Next to the office is a really interesting restaurant called the Village Cafe. They hire marginalized women as the cooks and it’s only traditional Newari food. It was very spicy.

The Village Cafe in Patan, Lalitpur


My lunch. Omlette on a bread type thing (I don’t remember the name), roasted black soynuts with spices, and a really spicy soup with bamboo, potato and other good stuff.

Tomorrow, back to Thamel for class then I will try and bargain for another leather bag as I am so in love with the one I got. Then, meeting another volunteer nearby to get some Kurtis or Shalwar kameez from the expensive stores nearby (I hate paying so damn much now, I don’t know how I will manage when I get back to Canada).

A demain (I will ask my instructor how to say that in Nepali!)





You miss those lovin’ arms…

30 Jul

This isn’t exactly about Nepal, but to me, it’s relevant. Being that the thing I miss the absolute most is my Zak, the lyrics to this song seems so perfectly fitting to our little situation.

I discovered this song a few months ago playing in the background of a movie (but I can’t remember which!) and I instantly became obsessed. I can’t find the album version anywhere on youtube, though, so here’s the live version (still amazing):

The Wood Brothers – Lovin’ Arms 

Riding a big jet plane 
Crying into your sleeve 
‘Cause you miss those lovin’ arms 

A lullaby keeps on playing 
You thinking it’s a dream 
‘Cause you miss those lovin’ arms 

And you got a good mind to pray 
They say somebody’s playing, but what if he’s got a slippery hand 

Well, it’s a sad face you wear 
Like a burned out sun 
‘Cause you miss those lovin’ arms 

Think a grown man will care 
About his boot lace undone 
But you just miss those lovin’ arms 
Yeah, you miss those lovin’ arms 

And you got a good mind to pray 
They say somebody playing but what if he’s got slippery hands 

God damn 
You’re a boy not a man 
When you miss those lovin’ arms 

Well, some day 
When you’re up there flyin’ 
And you miss those lovin’ arms 

It isn’t so far away 
The sweet lullaby 
When you miss those lovin’ arms



KTM Street art

29 Jul

I was surprised to see all the street art and graffiti around Kathmandu.

Some of it is actually really, really good. Others are hilarious.

Here is a taste of some of my favourites:



Sunday & Work tomorrow

29 Jul

I start working tomorrow at Fair Trade Group Nepal.

From what I’ve heard they are a good, stable, legit organization, which you can’t always be sure of in international development. So, I’m glad.

I’ll be moving to Kupondole on August 10, and that’s walking distance from the office. Kathmandu traffic is so insane, that even though we are paying a ridiculous sum, I tend to think it’s worth it getting to avoid traffic jams and buses and tuktuks (rickshaws), etc.

TukTuks or rickshaws

Today, I went to the dentist for the first time in 4 years. I got a check up and a cleaning and it cost me $43. I will be going back to fix up several cavities that forced me to avoid the dentist in Canada. I am quite happy about being able to afford dental care here.

My new dentist

Then, I meandered on to Mongal Bazaar which, supposedly, is a local market. It must have been as I saw only about 3 white people while there, and I gasped loudly at them. But, to my disappointment, the gorgeous arts and crafts and silks weren’t there. Even the practical things that I need for the new apartment weren’t particularly cheap. I left having spent only $3 (proud of myself) on a cotton wrap skirt.

Every single shop here has knockoff Angry Birds shirts…sometimes hats, plushies, backpacks, flipflops, raincoats. I want one really badly.
This is one particularly “stylish” and blingy shirt….

I then went to an area where there is a Tibetan Refugee camp and looked at Tibetan Tiger rugs, but didn’t find any cheap enough – so far I found them for anywhere between $70 and $90 for the tiny ones. 

Finally, I went to pay my landlord the remaining deposit and then waited an hour for the correct TukTuk back to Baluwatar which never came, so instead I took a microbus to one place, changed onto a different TukTuk to Lazimpat then walked about 15 minutes home. I’m beat.



Cabin Fever

27 Jul

Being cooped up in bed gets very boring very quick. I feel a bit better today but still running to the washroom, just much, much less often. Which is good.

I left a  Sons of Anarchy disc in Canada at my cousin’s place so I have been trying to load 3 episodes online. Extremely frustrating in the best of situations, in Nepal with a shared wifi connection, you can only imagine.

After eating crackers for 2 days straight finally today I decided I wanted a chicken burrito. Can’t be good for my belly but it’s worth the risk. I strapped on my newly cobbled Converse (mostly okay a little uneven) and walked over to Buzz restaurant a few blocks away as I know they sell them and got one. It hit the spot. It was quite Nepali style, but it did the job.

Chicken wrap

Buzz restaurant

I read my book in the sun then meandered back home on a full tummy. Now I sit here waiting still for my episode to load.

Some things I’ve learned

26 Jul

The last two days of language class I have taken off as I’ve been practically bed-ridden.

I spent my day yesterday on an IV and today watching Sons of Anarchy (so good!). I did manage to bring my broken Converse to a cobbler who sits on the side of the road though. I was told to expect to pay about 50Rs to 100Rs max. He is covering half of my soles for 250RS. I am being sorely ripped off and I know that. I have gotten to a point where I hate being taken advantage of. But, I’m still getting new, crappy, cheap rubber put on my Converse for $3. So I guess I can’t really complain.

I got visa pictures printed. Taking a picture in studio and 6 printed cost me 150Rs then I got another 6 printed for 50Rs. That’s 12 visa size photos for about $3.

I got my eyebrows, upper lip and chin threaded, wax wouldn’t work on my underarms so I got them threaded, too. Plus tip, I paid $1.10.

I do love Asia for many reasons.

Sometimes during Nepali language class when my brain was overloaded I would ask my teacher about herself and the culture. She was great. Told me things without hesitation. She had an arranged marriage. She wears a red dot on her forehead to show she is married. Married men wear nothing. Most Nepalis don’t wear wedding rings. Last year, her husband’s father died so they are in a year of mourning, that means no prayers, no parties, no celebrations, no fasting, nothing. If a family member on her side dies, her husband does not need to mourn in the same way. When you get married as a woman, you are no longer part of your family. Meaning, you now have a new family: your husband and kids, but a man who gets married remains part of his family of upbringing for life, and the wife and kids become part of that family.

When a parent dies, their son must cremate them by the river. However, if the son has not had his ‘first head shaving ceremony’ then he cannot cremate them. A hindu son must have his head shaved in a ceremony while he is an odd age – 3. 5. 7. 9 etc and is not permitted to ever shave his head until after that ceremony. If for some reason he doesn’t have that ceremony before his parents die, he must then have the ceremony if he wishes to cremate them.

She was unable, however, to give any reason, other than that it’s the culture.

I find it all very fascinating but oh so complicated and want to learn more!



A Nepali Welcome

26 Jul

I knew that it was pretty much inevitable to get sick in Nepal. I knew that. But there is still nothing one can do to prepare oneself for it, really.

I spent all day yesterday hooked up to an IV drip because of dehydration after being sick for only a day! I am now back at the passage house, still sick, taking Cirpo, waiting and waiting to get better. I’m staying bed-ridden for a few days as that’s the only activity that doesn’t force me to run to the facilities, but even then I somehow find some…shit to dispose of 🙂

My diet consists mainly of crackers, then when I got home from the clinic there was some Nepali style chicken noodle soup waiting for me. By the time I had eaten half I had run to a particular room in the house 6 times so I gave up and slept.

That’s what I’ll do today, too.

I regret not taking photos of my hospital room, but it was literally a regular hospital room with a hospital bed, a tv and a washroom. I have never been hooked up to an IV before, although having visited hospitals way more times in my life than I’d like as the loved one of a patient, I know all about them.

As I lay down there, I kept thinking of how much more pleasant my patient experience would have been if my Mommy could be there with me, rubbing my legs while I slept. The way things are supposed to be. Although I must say that if I had the option to be the patient or the loved one of a patient I would choose being the patient without hesitation. Even though what I have is not serious, just a well-expected Nepali Welcome, it would still be hard, I’m sure for any of my loved ones to see me hooked up to a leash.

I don’t know if the IV made me hallucinate or if for some reason I just managed to remember my dreams there, but I had some really weird, interesting dreams of the clinic, including one where I ditched in the middle of my time there to find dinner with my Mom, brother and mom’ s friend.  The clinic was located somewhere near Sheppard and Leslie and I kept asking ‘what about my IV and the meds?’ So finally I went back alone and when I got there, all the doctors had left and the nurses were students and invited me into the ceilings to  learn about how the building operates. But no one would give me meds!!  Thank goodness I woke up from that nightmare!