Though I am sure you would all love to hear about the exciting errands we’ve run over the past few days and the incredibly stimulating research and computer work that has been going on in our apartment (which is actually very interesting to us), I thought I would take a minute in this post to publicly bid farewell to some things that we’ll miss having in our lives while living in Kathmandu.
1. Presentable Hair – I did break down and buy a small hairdryer the other day, but its small wattage is really no match for the frizzy mess that is on my head. Plus, and many of you may already be aware, but electricity is a real problem in Nepal, even when it is on, and I haven’t had much luck getting the dryer to run for more than 5 consecutive seconds at a time. So, goodbye hair that looks sort of good sometimes! In truth, you were a rarity even at home, but it was nice to have you around now and again. I hope we meet again someday.
2. A Life After Dark – It took us about four hours of living in our apartment to discover that in Kathmandu the night belongs to the dogs, particularly on the roads without streetlamps. Our residential street is lined with stray animals, and, as a big-time dog lover, it breaks my heart to see the condition some of them are in. But when the sun goes down, it can get a little scary. Our first day here, we were at a nearby Internet café until about 6:30 p.m. sending emails. On the walk home, we were followed closely by barking and snarling dogs pretty much all the way to the front door, where our landlord’s dog then started in on us from the other end. I straddled the gate between our driveway and the street and called our landlord from my cell phone in a panic. While the dog at our building has now warmed up to us and is really friendly, the street dogs, I am sure, never will. Lesson: Be home before dark or be prepared to take a cab.
3. The Ability to Control Our Own Means of Transportation – Lots of foreigners living here get around by car, motorbike or scooter. And I am seriously impressed with all of them. Because I really can’t imagine that there will ever be a day when I would willingly put myself in charge of any sort of motorized or pedal-driven vehicle in the craziness of Kathmandu traffic.
4. Breathing While Running – Running in this city is complicated, if not completely impossible in many areas, and while saying that I “really like” running is a stretch, I know I should do it (see previous post about hiking). A couple of times we’ve run on a path in the fields behind our building, and breathing has been a challenge. Dodging cows and motorbikes on these jaunts, we inhale lots of exhaust, dust, and smoke before always arriving at a very fragrant (i.e., gag-inducing) pig farm. We haven’t totally given up yet, but hope to find a better route soon.
5. Mexican Food – This is, obviously, a given. But I couldn’t resist bringing it up because I really miss it! I’ve actually been contemplating a blog series titled “Yak Mex,” where I will chronicle my attempts to recreate Mexican dishes using local dairy products. Thoughts?
I’m sure there are other things, but those are the current stand outs. In the end, though, it’s worth all the trade-offs.