Thursday, October 23, 2014
On the Road Again or Day of the Dog
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
During the month of October the Hindus are celebrating. Each day they celebrate one of their ‘Gods’. Today just happens to be the day of the dog and as GC (nickname because his name is too long and hard to pronounce, who is a site monitor for Rakesh’s projects) said, “Today they put leis around their dogs’ necks and tomorrow they kick them”…it was pretty funny, but truly I haven’t any poor treatment of dogs here—no one dares run over them and they seem to know that because they nap in the middle of the road and are hard-pressed to move when people honk to get them to move. Tomorrow they honor some other animal—I think he said crows were honored yesterday, and then there will be cows, etc. They also decorate with colorful lights in every color of the rainbow, dripping from their houses and businesses in 10-foot-long strings.
We got up at 5:30 AM after, finally, a good night’s rest, to meet our driver out front at 7AM. Last night while shopping for jackets (with incredibly low prices—knock offs or blems?) we noticed that it was even more crowded than in the past. Wasuita’s said that October and November are trekking months and a lot of people come here. The other day up on one of the mountains we noticed a group of Europeans, lots of them, and couldn’t figure out what they were doing there in that place as we looked at one of our water projects. They said that they were on a ‘walking tour’ and had taken a bus up there. There are site seeing tours and trekkers and kayakers and all types of groups in our hotel and everywhere we look.
We are going on another long drive of about 6 hours out of town to yet another area. We have traveled this way on our two other trips. We will be staying for 2 nights in 2 different hotels before returning to the city and back ‘home.’ We strangely feel like it is home whenever we get back to our base. I should mention that we asked help with our bed and noticed the next day that they had put a fluffy something under the sheets, softening the blow. Also, our shower is quite incredible—it has so much water pressure and that is quite divine after a long day—I think it is better than the one we have at home.
Wednesday night: It has been another very long day, getting home after dark. Jim and I thought it was going to be cool again but here it is hot. We didn’t dress right so we will be uncomfortable a little bit. I decided that even though the road down the mountain pass is not as scary as some of the places we drive, what does make it dicey is the way that people drive. They pass on curves and drive too fast, making it a dangerous road. At the top of the hill just as we were about to make our descent, there was a traffic jam. A small truck stalled at the top of the hill on the other side of the road, which caused a massive jam below him, so in order to get by him, we all had to take turns getting around him, those coming up and those coming down like we were. Since this guy had a small truck with a load, and did not have a large lorry or wasn’t a big bus, it was odd that no one thought to help him push his truck off to the side to get rid of the jam—instead he just sat there and we all had to drive around him. As we left we realized we were in front of the line except for one very large truck in front of us. He was so wide that he could barely pass anyone in the opposite lane. As he began his descent his back wheels left the road and if he had had to stop he would have slipped over the edge and from that spot it was a very long way down. He made it—we did not want to see anyone go over the edge!
This guy’s rig was so wide he had a hard time getting by traffic on the other side of the road. He nearly went over the edge when his back tires left the road. At home we’d see someone driving behind him with a sign: “Wide Load”. It took a long time to pass him, after which the traffic got better. On the other side of the road the jam continued down the mountain a long, long way.
We eventually turned off of the main road following another large river (or the same one) and headed towards a hotel we were to stay in for the night. It is quite nice and looks pretty new. As we walked to our room we saw this beautiful swimming pool and realized we didn’t have our suits with us…oh, right, I forgot, we won’t have time to use it anyway unless we wanted to swim at midnight—what were we thinking? The shower in the bathroom is just on the side of the bathroom with no barrier so the floor got all wet and after using my towel to dry off, I had to use it as a rug to sop up the overspray. We only had enough time to unpack a little bit and then return to the car to go and look at two proposed projects Rakesh had in mind and one in progress that Rakesh was doing. Even though we had some rough and sometimes muddy roads, nothing was the least bit scary. But by the time we got back we had been in the car for 12 hours. Once again, we appreciated the shower more than ever. Two more grueling days to go before we get back to Kathmandu. I need a bit more rest…
We received our appropriate greetings, got our tikka blessing (red stuff on forehead) and our flowers and led into the school library for our meeting. We had to sit on the floor on a soft mat while visiting with this group of men about a proposed water project in their village (and without our shoes). At one point Jim asked them where all the women were (there were only two in the room sitting behind us). They said that they were fixing dinner, etc. Jim asked them what they were doing sitting around the town and why weren’t they working in the fields. Then he grinned, and the men laughed, feeling appropriately guilty.
This little boy was terrified of us, but he finally let me take a picture of him and then I showed it to him. He was really afraid of the strange men.
Another day, another dollar…
Love, Mom & Dad, Jim & Karen, Elder & Sister Greding