Saturday, October 18, 2014

Traveling to Nepal & Saturday (Sunday) in Nepal

Friday night October 17 in Nepal

I had it all planned—get up really early to shower and wash my hair so I  won’t look so terrible while traveling.  My alarm did not go off as planned but I awoke 30 minutes before heading to the airport.  So, with a dirty hair head start, I looked as if I’d already traveled for two days when we boarded our first plane.

They have been remodeling the LA Airport and we ended up in a new section, and truly, they have finally come up in the world—LAX is beginning to look like the grand airports of Asia.  The section we were in was beautiful.

Figure 1 &2  LAX's remodeling, all shiny and new wing; the airport lounge, top; this time not jammed with people.  

 We took a Cathay Pacific flight from LAX to Hong Kong, which took 14 ½ hours, but in our traveler plus seats in the bulkhead it wasn’t too bad, and since it was our daytime, I felt pretty good, only taking a couple of short naps.  That all changed when we got to Hong Kong and picked up our 6 ½ flight in coach seats when we were so tired.  It had a 1-stop in Dhaka extending the trip.  I slept despite the cramped quarters, but fitfully;  but all’s well that ends well—we arrived safe and sound, thankfully got our luggage, and were picked up by the Radisson Hotel free shuttle.  We knew right away we were in a 3rd world country as soon as we got near our luggage pickup because we could smell the bathroom—I was spoiled in Ghana, believe it or not! 

When we got to our room I had a flush of guilt—why did they book us in such a nice room?  This floor has all the best rooms on it and so even our lobby and hallway are prettier.  The room has a walk-in closet with an ironing board and all the amenities—it is large and beautiful with parquet floors, a large sitting area, etc.  We’ve never been booked in this kind of room here and we’ve been to Nepal twice before.  It is so lovely I think it will make me feel all the more guilty as we drive around the poor areas of this country.  That bubble burst when we climbed into bed about 2AM to discover some lady’s black, straight hair on the sheets (they obviously hadn’t been changed) and that the mattress felt an awfully lot like it was a box spring, missing the actual mattress…
Our room had a short hallway--the walk in closet and bathroom are on the left.

Tomorrow we go to church—on Saturday--in Nepal everyone uses this as their day of rest and they are mostly Hindu here, so this trip we be 7th Day Adventists.  We are happy to have one day to catch up on sleep before we travel the next day.  We went to bed very late and woke up very early.  Hard beds encourage that I think.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

 We were not very smart last night and instead of going to bed at midnight, we fell into that hard mattress just after 2 AM and awoke at 6 AM—could have used a couple more hours of sleep.  We dickered with a couple of taxi drivers to get a better price to get to church.  We found that if we walked just a half block away from the hotel the price went down—our first offer was 800.  Still, we paid 500 (abt. $5) to get to the place to meet Wasuita’s to walk a half block to the church, and about $3.50 to get back to the hotel.  Each of these little taxi’s shake, rattle and roll even on smooth roads.  I think they could all use a bit of Duct tape to hold them together better.  They are all little, 4 door cars that fit into the narrow alley-ways that are common just off of the main road.  The streets are in a constant state of repair (weren’t they working on these same roads when we were last here 1 ½ yrs. ago?)  

As I tried to stay awake today in church, my mind fixed on the interesting quirks that seem to be Nepal:
  • 1.       Time here is 15 minutes off the normal hour: if it is 1:30 somewhere in the world, it would be 10:45 in Nepal, or something like that.  I am sure there is someone who could tell me why ever that is?
  • 2.       At church not everyone can speak or understand English, so we get a mixture of Nepalese and English.  Some people only speak English, others only Nepalese, and others give it to you in both languages so that everyone will be able to understand.  And of course, the oddity of church being on Saturday.
  • 3.       It was agreed that the reason Nepal remains in a poor state is for the same reason other countries do—corrupt governments.  It is a falling-down wreck of a city, which as in most poor countries ruins the beauty of the incredible landscape.  From up above though, the views of the city are quite lovely.
  • 4.       In Kenya sometimes we’d be without power for three days.  Here it is a daily occurrence.  They have ‘power times’ that vary from wherever they live.  Some places use their generators more than others since city power is sketchy.  The change in the couple’s apartments was a good one because their outages aren’t as bad as the old place.  E/S Rempp changed the abode before they left Nepal.  The worst though is when they don’t have water.
  • 5.       I forget which countries drive on the English side of the road until I get back in that country—I had forgotten that they drive here on the left side.

At church we saw a few old friends and met some new ones, such as E/S Valentine.  They always have two couples in Nepal.  We also met a couple of girls from the US who work with the Peace Corp doing some type of food initiatives.  One of the gals has been here for 2 years and just extended for 1 more.  One of them is from Idaho and the other from San Luis Obispo, CA.

For those of you who saw the movie Meet the Mormons, 
you might recognize this guy from that film who works with CHOICE and does humanitarian work in Nepal.  Since we work with this NGO and occasionally meet him at church, I told him I had to take their picture since they are now celebrities.            He laughs it off and is a bit embarrassed about the whole thing.  He doesn’t want it to ‘go to his head’. 

After church we got to see where the couples now live and were fed a divine meal by Sister Wasuita.  Their apartment really is lovely, but they had flooding problems in many parts of the area the past few months and theirs was one of those places that got flooded and they had to move out for a while.  It got pretty smelly I imagine.

Tomorrow we leave about 7:30 AM to go near the Tibet boarder and are not prepared for cold weather.  They said they would bring us some blankets and sweat shirts.  I never think of being cold while traveling to our countries, so this will be a first.  We will stay overnight one night since it is  a long journey.  Elder Wasuita said that we won’t be going on long hikes, just long, bumpy drives.  Elder Wasuita thought that would be a problem for me—really?  I am the queen of bumpy roads.

A view of Wasuita’s apartment complex.  If you look closely you can see a piece of the blue pool water through the fronds.

Nap time, at last!

A view of the city from the 5th floor apartment that Wasuita’s live in.  E/S Valentine live on the 7th floor.  The city always looks lovely from above.  They have an elevator, but because the power is often off, I don’t think I’d be getting into that elevator!

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