Friday, October 7, 2016

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety Jig...

October 6-7, 2016

We are at the airport and will soon be going to our gate.  Friday was as planned, with us lounging around the room, watching TV, eating, writing reports, etc. Swimming was unappealing because it had been raining off and on and it was cloudy. We were picked up at 1:15 PM by the CHOICE driver so that we could meet with them while they fed us lunch.  It was a good deal, and as usual, the ladies fix a very nice slightly Americanized food.  They kept the hot stuff separate in little dishes.  Jim touched one of these bits to his finger and put it on his tongue and thought he would die…

We discussed the fact that CHOICE has 100% success rate (they said) and what their model is for water projects and how they develop a community, and then a project begins from there.  It really is a perfect model.  They make the people pay, the government pay, they monitor for a long time, they make sure lots of people have to sign a check for any monies to be used, etc. 

Afterwards we went back and relaxed some more.  It was so pleasant, although somewhat boring.  I didn’t mind boring as much as Jim did…he thinks we ought to always be doing something, and I do agree, but I also cannot feel sad that we didn’t get to go to Lamjung because of the slide.  We heard that it took many hours to clear the slide, and then it slid again!  We were so glad that we made the right decision—what if we’d made it through, only to be stuck on the other side and not be able to get back!

Friday we checked out of the hotel at noon and Oliphant’s favorite cabby drove us to their apartment.  It really is nice, even though they have to put up with partial electricity and other irritations.  Still, it is a lovely place and even has a yard where they can sit on chairs outside in the breeze.  It is beautiful there. 

The living room at Oliphant’s.  They have 3 bedrooms, one that they use as an office, 3 bathrooms, a walk-in closet and a large kitchen and dining room.  The complex owner also provides a girl that cleans all the apartments—so nice!  Sister Oliphant said that help would have really come in handy when she was raising 9 children.   Outside is a nice lawn.  This is also where the owner worships as he is a devout Hindu (inside the pagoda is a statue).

After we hung out a bit they took us up to the owner’s home that is in the same complex.  Weaver’s also live there.  The owner’s home is incredible, with chandeliers, wood floors, stairways leading up and up, two kitchens, many rooms, with views at every level.  They have spiral staircases with beautiful wood railings, and slate stairs and floors and marble countertops and too many rooms to count on each floor.  Living there is the owner, his wife and 3 children and his mother and their maid/nanny.  Also there was a White women from San Diego who is a partner with this man who helped him build his beautiful home and the apartment complex.  She is an older woman and apparently he lived in San Diego for years and she taught him English.  There is a view in every direction from their home.

Then we had a wonderful homemade spaghetti dinner with Oliphant’s, and Weaver’s also came and brought dessert—great company and great food…can’t beat that.  The only problem is that we left for the airport at 8 PM for our 11 PM flight, and I felt like we’d traveled already and I was tired and wanted to take another shower…

We asked them to play us a duet; he has played the cello for years, but she learned how to play the viola in middle age, just so that she could play with him.  They performed some Christmas songs since they will be playing in the schools soon.  At one school after a performance they asked them all about the beliefs of our church.  You cannot proselytize, but you are allowed to answer if asked. They purchased and had these instruments sent from India.  Because of the difficulty in getting them home, they will probably donate them to a school if they can find one where they will actually be used.  They do not typically use these instruments here in Nepal. 

Well, time to go to the gate.  We just read that Kathmandu has the distinction of being one of the worst 10 airports in the world.  They said it was like a crowded bus station.  Yes it was.  There were at least twice as many people standing as sitting, not because they wanted to get on the flight, but because there are not enough seats.  We also raced to the gate when we were notified that they were pre-boarding.  Well to them, that means going to the gate.  No one was boarding, so we stood there for 15 minutes waiting to actually board the plane.  You just have to know the lingo of the country that you are in… There we flew with one stop again in India, onto Hong Kong for a 5+ hour layover; we leave from Hong Kong at noon, and get home two hours earlier in LA.  Yep, we are on opposite sides of the world and opposite time zones.  It is nearly a perfect, night/day difference between here and home.  And we were just beginning to get over our jetlag…

Hong Kong: As we flew towards the runway we saw another bridge that they are building over the water.  About 75% of the concrete columns were in place, and in some spots they had the road completed in between.  I never can figure how they do things like that.  What amazes me the most is when they put tunnels under the water…I can’t comprehend it, but then I never was really that smart, like how do planes fly, really?  How do huge boats float?  I have no science in my brain…or civil engineering.

Just one of the many beautiful rooms in the owner’s multi-level home.  There are two kitchens, slate and wood floors, views in all directions, spiral staircases with beautiful wood banisters, and chandeliers…

The business class on the Dragon Air flight is really nice—they have gotten smarter about how to lay back a little without going back into someone’s face behind you.  They simply slide forward a bit.  Not all planes are configured that way, but it sure is clever and so very nice.  I fell asleep easily, woke up to eat, and then passed out like a dead woman till they made me wake up when we landed.  And, I was sitting up, with a small recline.  We have a long layover in Hong Kong, so Jim usually takes advantage of the shower here.  There are comfortable couches if you can manage to snag one, so you can also fall asleep again.  And in this lounge they have food to eat, even Haagen-Dazs Ice Cream, my favorite.

I found this Orchid College building rather unique—a stand-out color—a view from the top of this owner’s home.  There is a view in all directions from their uppermost floor.

One long flight to go, this time no upgrade.  Jim got sick a bit on the last day and slept in a bed at the Oliphant’s, but by the time we had gotten to Hong Kong he was already feeling better.  This is good.  All I have to do now is not get it.   It is always good to be home.

When they moved us up to the executive room at the hotel, we thought it hilarious that these rooms had a window in the shower-tub facing the bed--luckily they had a shade you could close…

Love, Jim & Karen, Mom & Dad, E/S Greding

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