Writing in the dark, as we have a power cut that is now lasting 24 hrs, here are daily power cuts, and the whole city is divided in 7 zones. The family house where I am staying now is in zone 4, there is an app (see pict) that give you the daily schedule for the power cuts by zone, very 21th century …. lasting this long is a bit unusual, and the house battery that helps with some basic electricity in between the cuts, run out this morning. My first week in Kathmandu went well, I sleep 14 hrs the first 2 evenings, did some sightseeing, and I found a school where to volunteer a few days per week, it is called SERC and it helps kid with physical disabilities. I also visited the offices of Dolma Foundation, http://www.dolmafoundation.org/ where I will provide free consultancy to Dolma Ecotourism, a tour company run by Tsering, my host. He has a nice house near the “monkey Temple”, with three Golden Buda’s and I saw a guy blessing his coca cola at the temple (?). The family is very kind, they are from a small town called Bridim, in the Langtan Valley bordering Tibet, which I hope to visit soon. He has two cute children, chatty Angela and Jimmin.
Oh well, 2 weeks passed since I wrote previous paragrahp. Kathmandu is such a fascinating city, perhaps it is the reason why I am not writing every week as planed. By now I am very familiar with the city, I often go to Thamel, the most touristy part of town, full of colours, hundreds of small shops and street vendors, also where people, dogs and motorbikes miraculously avoid each other in the narrow streets. Normally, after a few hours, I head towards my best discovery (so far), and it is the Kathmandu Guess House, https://ktmgh.com/kathmandu-guest-house/ with its beautiful garden restaurant, a real oasis in this hectic part of the city. Here you can have delicious naan cheese bread and masala tea (I love this black tea and milk, cooked with different spices such as cinnamon, cloves, ground ginger and black peppercorn). The garden is new, and it is located where the previous reception stood, before it was destroyed by the earthquake last April. Everywhere you go, you can still see the damages and people you meet will at one point tell you about it in details, clearly they are still a bit traumatized, it was very scary and it seems they never felt one so strong. Just a few days ago, at 1 am, we had a small one, it was “only” 4.6 and I am glad that I did not notice it, but now as the locals do, I regularly check the site www.seismonepal.gov.np
One of the most difficult parts is to go around the city, as the country is experiencing a serious fuel problem, due to the commercial blockage on the Nepali/Indian border… it is a real mystery, as India is denying they are doing it and the Nepali government is keeping quiet, so the situation is a bit “blurry”, but not so much when a taxi driver ask you for an exaggerating 10$ for a city ride. Bus ride in the other hand only cost 0.15 $, so if you do not want to walk on the dusty roads (most of the roads in the city are unpaved, reason for the mask and the glasses) you need to wait patiently for a bus that isn’t too crowded, which is a mission impossible these days. I was brave enough only one time, I took a mini bus that would normally seat 12 in the back, but we were like 20, including the 3 guys hanging out by the sliding door (they keep it open to allow for the “extra” passengers).
Food is a bit challenging as I am not too incline to test the small restaurants, with not running water, and also the butcher’s shop and fishmongers are a bit different over here. However, I love “momos” specially the vegetarian ones, mushrooms momos were the best so far and I ate it in Shabri, a delicious “Swiss/Nepalese” restaurant in Lalitpur (http://www.theshabri.com/shabri/) Momo´s are like fat raviolis, so I try to avoid eating it too often. Apples, papayas, boiled vegetables, dal/rice and avocados will do for now.
More next week.