Thursday, March 28, 2013

Hot lemon and honey

It's a common drink to see on the menu here; great for cold weather, upset tummy or sore throat.  I prefer to get the honey on the side so it's not overdone.  Soon though, I'm also going to start asking for it in a mug.  Why is a hot drink served in the same style glass as the other popular lemon drink, fresh lemon soda, a cold drink?  If anyone figures it out, shoot me a line!
Hot lemon and honey at Cafe Soma

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


I left my house this morning in a stark white t-shirt and came back drenched and covered in caked on red pigment.  Holi, a Nepali national holiday, is to celebrate spring and represents a story of Hindu religion.  As we experienced it today, folks, mostly kids, throw water bombs (plastic bags filled with water, sometimes colored water), shoot water guns, pour buckets of water, and smear color dyes on your face.  Some of this is done nicely with a "Happy Hol!", some quite competitively and some not so nice (especially we've heard depending on the area you are in).  Often the water comes from windows or roof tops stories up and when you least expect it.  And no doubt about it, when those plastic bags of water hit you square in the back they smart.  It was a lot of fun, high energy, and after a few hours a cab ride home sounded fabulous - and though the man that picked us up was a bit concerned about how wet and colorful we were we did our best to keep his cab as clean as it was when we got in.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sunday roadblock

This morning there were activities at school we were going to attend and Jeremiah went ahead while I got ready.  He sent me a text not long after saying "bring a bunch of 5 rupee notes to pay the road stop string kids".  Some friends warned us that soon this would happen.  I found all the 5 notes we had, shoved them in my pocket and off I went thinking I'd only have to pay a few kids off.  I turned up our shortcut to school and found 10 kids with 4 sets of ropes in succession with big smiles on their faces.  I handed out money and they let me pass.  A little further up on the road there was another rope, and again I paid them.  The last block I had to talk my way out of since I'd run out of small bills.

I googled why they do this and found today is Shivaratri, a Hindu festival of the god Shiva - there is a good description of the festival over at The Longest Way Home.  I read here that:
“It used to be very cold during Shivaratri before and people, who fasted and awoke all night worshipping Shiva, blocked roads asking for firewood to keep themselves warm through the night with bonfire (samidha). With time, kids started blocking roads asking for money,” shared Madan Kumar Rijal, Associate Professor of Culture at Tribhuvan University.

I've only got a few small bills left and have to go back to school later, I'm hoping the kids will have gotten tired of standing outside and given up for the day!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Bandh day

Today, Wednesday, we -
went for a walk...

played some basketball...

had a snack...

...because school was called off for a "bandh" day.  I think it's our 3rd bandh day since we've been here (there have been more bandhs but they have not been big enough to call off school).  Bandhs are days when strikes are called and much of the city is shut down.  Protests happen around the city, but as you can see from our pictures we have not really been affected other than we can't go far because taxis aren't running.  In fact, no transportation was going today aside from the odd tourist shuttle and army trucks (and some on foot like the guy below).

We enjoyed our surprise time off today and may have another day off tomorrow as well, though it's always a toss up whether the rumors and talk of bandhs will come to fruition.  

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Florida shipment

We've learned one of the comforts of living away from home is to get stuff from home.  Especially now when many of the things we are used to being available aren't, we rely on shipments from home to get necessities as well as the fun stuff.  Our school coordinates a shipment each month from a shipping address in Florida.  We buy things from the states, have them shipped to Florida, then once a month everyone's orders get bundled and DHLed to Nepal.  It's much safer and more reliable than shipping directly here, though of course you must be careful of how much weight you get shipped as it adds up quickly and things must be timed well since it's only once a month.  Rather than stocking up frantically while at home for Christmas and summer, and coming home with suitcases full, we've decided this is the better option for us.  This month's shipment had quite a few things for us, ranging from clothes for me and Jeremiah, shoes and books for Tegan, coffee and tea.  Tegan's favorite was the packaging:

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Warmer weather

It's looking like spring around here - this week we took the extra comforter off the bed, stopped putting Tegan in fleece footy pajamas and wore sweaters instead of jackets to school.  I'm ready for sunny warm days and evenings that I don't I have to bundle up for!

Saturday, March 2, 2013


Tegan and I came across this in the middle of the street today.  These one-use bowls (made out of leaves?) are common for street food but here contains money, fabric, flowers and food.