We don’t get snow here in Kathmandu. We get dust. No one tells you that before you come. It coats anything and everything in a matter of minutes. The leaves which would otherwise be green are a dusty beige. The high-end shop keepers throw water on the streets in front of their shops to keep the dust down. Car wash? Not even. Hence, I have a breathing mask, and have bought them for the children for extended city treks, though I’ve not broken them out just yet. The days, which were clear and mild, are now dusty and windy after lunch, but still not as cold as the east coast of the US. The load shedding (ie power outages) are annoying, yet a generator makes all the difference. We actually have a schedule for each neighborhood, but somehow it manages to happen exactly when one needs power most; breakfast and dinner. I have a single functioning UPS which handles this computer, our WiFi and a couple of other electronic devices.
We’re settling into our new house, very nearly unpacked now I think. (As I sit in front of six massive cardboard boxes I’ve not even touched yet.) We’re donating what we can, and throwing away some more…we have way to much stuff. Books are key here; I think we can shave off 200lbs easily in that department. Probably another 100lbs in clothing, maybe 25lbs in shoes. And that’s not even counting childrens’ clothing. The house is big…probably 2500 square feet at a minimum. Also…interesting. Everything in Nepal seems to be designed by a well intentioned rich businessman who saw something in an airline magazine, started a business about it, and then contracted out, via written instructions, to subcontractors. Imagine asking for a steak and getting steak…tartare….similar taste, same base material, and yet the execution is vastly different.
I’ve given our Didi (housekeeper) and new slimmed down routine that will hopefully keep her from being overwhelmed in this huge place. She still insists on using the mop whose composite wood handle broke the day I bought it, rather than the nice metal one “from the west”. I will be holding a mop-burning party soon. I’ve hired a gardener (who currently navigates around the cardboard mountain outside) who seems to be a capable fellow and has already got a couple orange trees and other flowering plants going. Veggies soon to come, as we can grow many year round here.
The walk to school for the girls, and to work for Jean is a little longer, but still doable. It gives the girls and I more time to chat, identify the different types of dog poop, and work on our traffic navigation skills. Today we took a break in the afternoon and had beer and hot cocoa at Nina & Hagar’s. The girls love Nina.
The holidays are upon us, and events have conspired to prevent us from sending out any Christmas or Yule gifts from Nepal as yet; The Maoists have jumped on what they think is a good thing and are joining in the student protests (or taking them over?) about the petroleum price hikes of late. It means that nothing’s getting out gift wrapped until next week, essentially Christmas and definitely too late.