Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Life in Kathmandu

This is the first time I am having to sleep up on the top floor . My normal room next to Uma's is now the bridal suite.  It will be out of bound from now on.The top floor room is originally an open area, but half the space has been converted  into a room by putting a sheet of cardboard across it. Uma has kindly put up a walled  fan because she knows how desperate I need it in order to sleep well. It's the  one and only luxury I have here.😊

The top  floor opens into the roof terrace. It is where the washing is hanged to dry. Nobody comes out here except for hanging the washing. I used it each morning to do my qigong, something I have started to learn before coming here. It helps  to give some structure  to my day , and it is a form of exercise  which have been sadly lacking since my arrival almost 10 days  ago. The houses here are built hickledy pickledy , with no planning permission  , or so it seems to me. This results in houses being built right against the next house with very little space between them. The ethos is to maximising the floor space for living areas

Each day when Uma's neighbour wakes @ 5 am for their daily prayers, it usually wakes me up. I  then promply fall asleep again after they have finished. I thiink they are Buddhists. This is no difference to Malaysia where the Imam  from the local mosque broadcast his morning prayer across the land, calling his loyal flock to observe Allah's teaching each day

Some times Uma would joke and join in her neighbour's coversation,  mouthing to me  her make believe  responses. We have a good laugh. Uma speaks normally, but her neighbour speaks very loudly. It is quite normal for a conversation to sound like  a row between two people to uninitiated ears but it is not.

So each day when I am doing my qigong exercise on the roof terrace, I have little faces (2 young children live there) literally staring at me with  curiosity from a metre away. They will be tiptoeing from  their roof terrace, with their mother going up and  down the stairs which are built outside of the house. It is  a very weird  looking  family home.

On the odd occasion  when they have late nights, I will have late nights as well. That make life interesting. I have often felt I was amongst them in the middle of the party.

Surprisingly, there are abundant  wild life here, A large snowy barn owl flew across the terrace only yesterday while I was hanging out my washing.It was a most beautiful bird , white with golden wings. Surprisingly, there are birds of prey hovering around looking for  dinner. Then we have the monkeys who come down from the temples looking for food. I think they are the probable reasons for washings to be disturbed sometimes. Then there are the rats which our children love to chase and kill if they come across them. I still maintain that the stray dogs  are vegetarians. People cannot afford to keep dogs as  pets.Therefore whatever scraps they manage to scavenge, it will be meagre and infrequent.That  probably explain why they are found sleeping in the drain, middle of the road, anywhere and everywhere throughout the day.  They are docile and non aggressive which is not my experience of stray dogs in Malaysia and elsewhere in the world

One of the hardest thing on this trip is climbing the very  steep stairs to my room. It is especially so when I have to get up in the middle of the night. I have to be  wide awake to grip the iron railings as I go down the narrow slat  sized stairs gingerly. So it is a major operation each day. I will ensure I pack all my essentials - my note book, tablet, phone, chargers etc into my shoulder bag before I go down for breakfast to avoid unnessary stair climbing. I have to say it does not always work...especially in my senior moments .

Last but not least, the washing of clothes.I do find drawing water from the well is increasingly becoming a huge challenge. Children will help if they are around. Then to climb 2 flights of stairs to hang them... maybe I am getting too old for this ? I suppose 7 years is a fair period  for one to notice one's changing level of flexibility and strength.......I must admit this is the only time of the year when  I do feel my age! -having to squat while doing hand washing with water drawn from the well! It's like doing cross training without the benefits ! πŸ˜•πŸ˜•

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