Sunday, 12 February 2012

Giant worms in Nepal (Feb 4-12, 2012)

So, the title may be a little misleading, but for awhile there I was pretty sure I had a giant worm growing inside of me. After further inspection though, I think it was just some mouldy bananas that I ate (three days in a row). You'd think as a microbiologist I would know that when you can see the hyphae, the fungus is already all throughout the fruit. Lesson learned.

We got new volunteers on Feb 4th; two of them bailed after the first day because they "weren't feeling well," but I guess they were well enough to go biking around Lakeside ;) We never saw them again. If you see them in Australia, shame them! lol. The other three volunteers are Olivia, Dave and Sam. Olivia is lice picker extraordinaire (yes, she has independently confirmed that most of the kids have lice. I have managed to avoid it; what would I even do if I got it? Shave all my hair off? Who would pick out all my knits?!). Olivia is from Australia, as is Sam, who did an arts degree and is pretty much the kids' favourite person. He bought a bunch of drums and has been teaching them different rhythms, which they obviously love! We've even had a few drum circles with the staff, I have to concentrate really hard on keeping my beat. I read an article once about someone who got anthrax from a drum they bought in Africa (if the animal has anthrax and their skin is used to make a drum, you can infect yourself. Not to fear, I'm on the lookout for black buboes growing out of my skin). Anyway, Sam is a real sweetie and I'll be sad when he leaves in the next few days! Dave is from Montreal, he's been teaching the kids French phrases... they can now speak more French than I can (but can they say "I like chocolate cake with ice cream"? No, and that's the most important phrase to know!). Dave was telling us last night about his trip a few years ago to Southeast Asia and how he and his buddies bought scooters and drove from Ho Chi Minh to Hanoi. I love meeting people with such cool stories! I think after I'm done in Pokhara I will be heading to the orphanage in Bhaktapur that Dave came from. Speaking of which, I officially finish here on the 24th, so I'll be here in time for their Tibetan New Year (Losar) which starts on the 22nd. I'm trying not to think about the fact that I'll have to leave, I'm going to miss Pokhara and everything about Himalayan Children's Care Home (HCCH). I will miss Tashi singing in the shower in the morning, and how him and Chhewang have skipping competitions (even though they are both grown men). I'll miss Jyoti and Lama, who own HCCH, and their 14 month-old son Tenzin, who I am planning on stealing away to Canada. I want a baby Tenzin. Lama was a monk until he was 32 and then he married Jyoti and they started HCCH. Then there's Uncle, who has the best smile and who walks the kids to school and makes sure they keep in line during the day. He also likes to ring the gong really loudly when you're near and scare the pants off you. We have a new cook, and there are a lot of Aunties who mill about, and I'll miss helping them out with chores and sneaking across the floors they just mopped. But, I don't have to leave just yet!

Life has been lots of fun with Kay around, we both go to sleep early, we do the daily newspaper crosswords/sudokus together (except today's, because we accidentally made Losar chains out of today's paper) and we go to SunWelcome everyday for tea. Yesterday at SunWelcome we met a man from England who has been traveling around and living in his truck since June 2009! He's on to China and up through Pakistan next. It makes me feel like I have so much to accomplish, lol. Kay's introduced me to her favourite chocolate bar called "Twirl," which seems like something noteworthy that I must tell you.

I have booked the rest of my flights also! On April 24th I will be leaving Kathmandu for Amman (Jordan). I have two weeks in Jordan (will I just sit and stare at Petra the whole time?) and then I fly to London (England) on May 10th. I was going to head down to Spain and fly out of Barcelona, but I found another cheap flight to Toronto from London, so now I'm going to spend my last 11 days in England with Kay! She's going to take me to the pub she works at, Stonehenge, Bath and Oxford. This is arguably the best part about meeting so many great people, you have the best tour guides when you go traveling again :) Over the past few days I saw my first wedding procession in Nepal, and my first whole day of rain in Pokhara! It's funny that everything gets canceled when it rains (I doubt they can do that during the monsoon season though?). I also booked a 10 day meditation retreat in mid-March. I had read about it in the Lonely Planet guide, and another volunteer did it, so I decided to give it a go. You meditate for about 8 hours each day, there is no talking and you can't communicate with any of the other participants (not even eye contact). There's no yoga, reading, journaling, anything really. I have already been told by many people that know me that I don't become silence, and I think they are right. I think my biggest challenge will be not losing my sanity. I mean, 10 days in silence with nothing but your own thoughts is bound to make even the best of us mad, am I right?

Anyways, I think that's all to update you with for now! My fruit salad at SunWelcome has started coming with honey, cinnamon and ice cream on top... and this is why it is my favourite restaurant. I am now master of Sudoku puzzles (I still suck at crosswords) and I have read a few more books since I last talked to you: The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat (Oliver Sacks), The Psalm Killer (Chris Petit), 1984 (George Orwell), Pride and Prejudice/Emma (Jane Austen). I couldn't believe I had never read 1984 before, it was fantastic. Jane Austen was pretty good, though I still prefer Stephen King if we're being honest with each other. Also, has anyone else read Emma? What a self-centered brat. I think Mr. Knightley could have done better, I'm just saying.

Oh, and I just heard that Whitney Houston died, as did Christopher Hitchens. When I went on to BBC today there was a top story about 5 killer whales suing Sea World (via PETA), so I'm taking it I didn't miss much in the news?

Tata from Pokhara!

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