Saturday, 15 November 2008

Interesting Observations

I am now more than half way through my time in Nepal. I only have one more week in the hospital before I finish on next friday, then to be followed by a week of pure indulgence in a 5 star hotel when John joins me on 23/11 .

We all (kids as well ) went out celebrating last evening.We went to a modern shopping mall where it has a food court with a children's play area.We had momo (like chinese dumplings), pizza, black lentil omelette (yum ), chicken byriani and so on. We all came away stuffed.

We went there by a local cab . In order to save money, we managed to squeeze 3 adults (2 big ones ) and 6 kids (aged 4 to 10 ) into what I would call a smallish car by UK standard but big by Nepali standard. The suspension of the poor car must have taken a hammering last night. Not an easy way to make a living. It was a round trip where he waited for us to finish our meals before bringing us home during the rush hour . And I think it was all for no more than a fiver.

It is the first time that the children went out socially as a group. Some of the younger ones were fascinated by brightly lit bakery and cafes during the journey. Their needs are simple . Their lives are as well .They follow a routine whereby they go to school in the morning, and get fetched back home at around 3pm.They then have ' Tiffin'. This, I believe is a relic of the old british colonialsm, meaning tea time.

Each child has a tiffin carrier (tupperware box to be precise ) where they keep their snacks for during their school breaks. I took a variety of coconut sweets and cookies (from Malaysia) as well as chocolate gold coins from M&S for them . When they were given to eat them one evening , all 6 of them unanimously voted to keep them for next day's school tiffin . It was so touching to see them jumping up and down, really excited that they are taking the goodies to show off to their friends the next day. I gulped down my emotions...

The traffic in kathmandu is somewhat like those in Vietnam. No one respects or probably not understanding the significance of pedestrian crossings . I have to cross the road everyday, because Teku hospital is on the other side of town .It is about a mile and a half away from where I am staying.

After trial and error, I have worked out the safest (if there is such a thing ) way of crossing the road. Whenever there is oncoming traffic, I will make sure that there are other people (preferably 3 or 4 thick ) in front of me as we cross.The reason being if we all get hit by the cars, the initial impact will be on those in front on me.The likelihood of me being seriously injured is thus reduced. Smart eh ?

The other thing that I do, like everyone else (not that I have noticed that many ) is to cross the road in steps. That means I 'll find a gap in the traffic, stand very very still (making my intentions very clear -I am here and I am not moving ), allow the cars to come at me and weave around me until a gap is available again for me to take the next step. Sometimes I am able to cross the road in 2 steps, another time 4 steps. I tend to get quite jittery if I am still in the middle of the road after the third step. But the cars and motor cyclists will just come at you relentlessly no matter what. This is one aspect of Nepal that I shall not miss when I leave here

I have come to the conclusion that Nepal is the only country in the world whereby the ATM (hole in the wall in UK ) is housed in a seperate cubicle with a guard posted outside. The first time I saw it in Thamel (tourist part of town ), I was gobsmacked! Imagine, a guard with a gun (of course, its not a gurkhas soldier) standing outside the spacious cubicle while you take your time to draw out your cash, counted them and put them away safely before you emerged from it. I have to say I like that very much.I shall miss it when I leave

One of the things I have missed is to have a chair, a proper chair to sit in.I tended to sit on my ankles now with knees bent. While it is quite comfortable, I get pins and needles in my calves after 30 minutes or so. Thats the only time I think I really feel my age -21 and rising !

Another interesting observation I have made is that my bedroom is now a really cosy place to be .Nothing has changed in terms of decor or anything . I think it is to do with my internal state. Having gone through the horrendous trekking experience, everything else does look more rosier now . I reflected on the 2 days' mental and physical challenge when I thought 'this is it ', then to be able to come back to civilisation in one piece, wow!

I think I have done enough rambling for an afternoon. I have found it quite therapeutic to be able to share my time here through the generosity of all of you. In fact, its been a privilege.

I hope to purchase some basic resuscitation equipment in the next day or so for the Teku hospital.They have an Emergency department, but no basic resuscitation equipment. One of the doctors is taking me in an ambulance (don't panic, its for transporting purposes only) on monday to purchase what our money can buy= approx 500 pounds worth (no pound sign on this pc, american ,ah! ) I will certainly keep you posted

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