Last Days

Saturday 24th May 2008

At last the rains have come.
Wonderful huge thunderstorms pour down and cool off the rising temperatures to a very pleasant state indeed.
The thunder, due to our geographical position, really does roll. It echoes and bounces around the hills surrounding Kathmandu, often going on for minutes at a time, in one long rumbling peal.
It’s utterly fantastic. Deep blue-black clouds that appear out of nowhere and disappear just as fast, leaving blue skies and sun shining behind it.

And, with the rising river levels and replenished wells, Nepal is once again at ease. No more water shortages, and even the regular load-shedding (power cuts) we’ve become so accustomed to appear to have all but vanished – in a single week we’ve gone from 12 hours of blackouts a week to 3! Continue reading

Frantic Dreams and Bollywood Babes

Wednesday 14th May 2008

So, with only a few days left I’ve been frantically rushing about trying to get everything done – and there is SO much to do!

My constant mental lists seem to get endlessly longer and longer, while my subconscious seems determined to get in the way! I’ve been having lots of restless nights, filled with intensely vivid dreams and bizarre quacks from the neighbour’s new ducks! I’ve been waking up suddenly three or four times a night with new things to add to my list, and it’s almost becoming amusing.

Last night went something like this: Continue reading

Goddamn long-haired hippies…

Thursday 8th May 2008

Ok, so I’m over the age-comment, but only by accident!
I had planned to bore people with that story for several years to come (the cheek of it!), but I arrived back at the orphanage (after being away for only a week mind you!) and Durga, a 12-year old, said “Oh Maya! You’re so fat again!”
That helped me get over the age thing, but reminded me I’m a porker again!
Sadly he’s right – I appear to have put on 4 kilos again, so by the time I’m done holidaying, I’ll probably be right back to the weight I was when I left!
I blame all the wining and dining we did before the fundraiser (and the pressure of not smoking) but it’s probably more to do with the huge lack of exercise etc.

We’ve bought loads of stuff with our fundraising money though – lots of furniture, like shelves and cupboards and a new water storage tank. We also had to go out and buy more cups and spoons and bowls, and we got a new electric rice-cooker to save on gas. Continue reading

Young people today…

Wednesday 30th April 2008

Ok, so I recovered from my nasty nasty stomach bug, and after a couple of days of recuperating in Pokhara (where I mostly alleviated my boredom by shopping. I got some very nice lampshades!), I eventually decided to head back up to Kathmandu.
I was a little bit gutted at my aborted attempt at trekking, especially after my Tibet trip got cancelled too, but I now only have three weeks before I set off travelling anyway, so plenty of time for beaches and more shopping instead!

On the bus ride up (8 hours) I was sitting next to a nice English bloke, so we chatted happily most of the journey. Our topics of conversation varied widely, from literature, to travel, and life in general. I told him about living in Korea and Kuwait, and what I was now doing here in Nepal, and he is really keen to go to Korea too, so we mostly discussed that.
He was a really nice guy (called Shaun), and he was terribly sweet, and ever so impressed with the things that I’ve done so far.

And that’s when it happened. Continue reading

The time I went trekking…

Saturday 26th April 2008

Well, I went trekking.
Sort-of.

I had planned to spend my trekking time quietly contemplating stuff and generally moping over Hot German, who left a couple of weeks ago. I was all geared up for a proper sulk and a bit of wallowing in self-pity, but unfortunately during the 8-hour bus ride down to Pokhara I realised I was already over it.
Bit of a shame, as I was hoping all my indignant rage that he didn’t want me might power me up the mountain, but sadly realised I’d have to rely on my poor little legs instead.

I arrived in Pokhara on Wednesday afternoon, where I met the others in our group.
There was a German girl called K, who is also coming to volunteer at our orphanage for a couple of weeks, and a German guy called T. There was a lovely couple called J and K, he’s from the US and she’s from Canada, and a girl from Switzerland called M.

Aside from our guide Dorge, there were also two porters to help carry our bags, although I hardly brought anything and most of the others wanted to carry their own packs.
We set off after breakfast Thursday morning, and took an hour and a half bus-ride up to the starting point of our trek. Myself, K and M were doing a 5-day trek to Poon Hill and Ghorepani, while the other three were continuing on from there to Annapurna Base Camp on a nine-day trek. Continue reading

A Night at the Northfield

Monday 21st April 2008

Well, it’s over.
Thank god!

It was actually a wonderful evening, but soooo stressful beforehand!
We had a rehearsal on Tuesday afternoon, so that the kids could get used to the restaurant, see where the bathrooms are, learn where they can and can’t go etc, and also practice on the actual stage area.
The kids were due to come down at 4pm, and Karla, Amy and I had a meeting planned for 1pm with the manager to go over the sound equipment that he’d assured us they had. We arrived, and waited.

By 1.30pm we started asking around and were informed he wasn’t coming in until 6pm!
So I called him, and he said he’d had an emergency, but I could speak with the day manager instead.
So we duly spoke with him, who informed us that there was no sound equipment! Continue reading

Election, Idiots, and 2065 (and also Carrots)

Monday 14th April 2008
Well, the election went surprisingly smoothly, despite a lot of disruption beforehand. There were lots of bombs going off all over the city the week before, but they were very small and not designed to hurt anyone really, just to scare people.
There was a bit of violence a couple of days beforehand – 5 Maoists got shot by the police in a rural village, which caused a minor stir, but nothing much else.On election day itself we went up the road to take photos of the polling, and it really was very quiet and calm. There were big crowds of people, but they lined up in an orderly fashion, and had separate queues for men and women, and private booths separated by curtains. There were several policemen on the roof of a neighbouring building keeping an eye on things, and clear signs telling people how to vote properly, and reminding everyone that smoking and guns are not permitted inside the voting area.
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Continue reading

The Snowball effect…

Friday 4th April 2008

Hello again you poor sods!
Another mammoth maya-email? Already? It hasn’t even been a week yet!!

Well, tough shit you lazy buggers, I’m insanely busy and have far too much to write about to wait a week!

Our little fundraising event is only two weeks away now, and things seem to have escalated ever so slightly out of my control!

We met with the restaurant again to discuss where to have the dances etc, and were then informed that the band we were going to use (their own house band) have all gone home to their villages already to vote, and won’t be coming back until after the election! That means no rehearsals, and also if there’s any kind of trouble post-election (hmmmm, what do you think?) the bus services will most likely shut down and they may not make it back in time!

Bit of a dilemma, but luckily through our fabulous networking recently we approached Anil Shahi, guitarist and local celebrity who’s also our new best friend and he agreed to help us out. Continue reading