These past few weeks in Kathmandu have been so busy! And I have loved it. I have been learning SO much every day here.
For example, I have had this internal battle between taking taxis or the local bus. For the first 2 months here, I have been taking taxis. They get you to your destination quickly (that is so completely in comparison to the rest of transportation in NEPAL), you are not squished (unless you are fitting your whole extended family in the backseat), and you have a 60% chance of having a safe driver.
BUT…they cost about 150-350NRS to wherever you are going. And that is after I have had them remove the White Girl Tax. Yes, that is a real thing. They don’t call is “white girl tax” but the government allows taxi drivers to jack up their meter for tourists. Laaaame.
Buses. Please close your eyes and imagine something with me. You have to go to the grocery store. You grab your bag and head out to catch a local bus(Microbus=size of 12 seater van). Finally you flag one down that is going where you need to go. You tell them “Mai la Sukedhara Chowk (or wherever) ma roke dinus.” Then you attempt to fit. With 20+ people fitting in a 12 seater, this can be quite a feat—for anyone. Now, imagine me: The 5’10” white girl. Who, thanks to rice, has recently gained some good poundage, climbing into this van. Don’t forget that this is a pretty rare occurrence, which insures that everyone on the bus will be eyeing you down, wondering how the heck you got lost and ended up on this bus. Oh, and the whole time you a praying for your life. I am SO curious what you have to do here to get a license. Cause it really can’t be that hard.
BUT…a bus ride costs about 10-15 NRS.
Let me do some math for you here. Actually, let my iPod touch do some math for you.
150-350nrs = $1.95-$4.50
10-15nrs = 13 cents-19 cents.
I might be the most frugal person in the world, but I don’t care. I am SO taking the bus. And I am so loving it! When else do you get to be squished up against some random Nepali person and totally confuse the heck out of them? I have decided that I am honored to have this opportunity. Yes, honored. GAH I love good deals.
On another note, I have a karate/kungfu/judjistsooo(?) master as my housemate. His name is Sudip. I believe his debut on this blog was a few weeks ago. I am lucky to have him living here. Wanna know why? Get ready for the BEST fight match story in the universe (no, I did not fight him. Although with my newly acquired sumo body, I would not shun from the fight).
The story starts on a delightful Wednesday morning when my father flew into KTM and graciously brought me a nice, unhealthy pack of topramen from home. Don’t judge—we both know you love that stuff too. I put it on my nice little food shelf in my kitchen to save for a special date with myself. The next morning, I find my topramen pack ripped open and eaten (I may or may not have gotten emotional). I know Sudip likes to eat but I had a hunch that it may have been a critter. Turns out I was right.
Fast forward a couple weeks. It’s 6:30am. Sudip knocks on my bedroom door.
“Keti bainey Keti bainey!! Look, look!”
Half-asleep, I walked out of my bedroom to find a huge RAT on the ground outside the kitchen.
This is how our conversation then proceeded to go:
“SUDIP! I don’t want to see a rat!! GAHHH! Suuuuudip!!!”
“Keti bainey, I killed it! It was eating your noodles!”
“I know it ate my noodles! I hate that rat! HOW THE HECK DID YOU KILL IT?”
“I punched it!”
Sudip then proceeds to show me how he heard the rat, crept up on it, and socked it in the head, killing it.
I laughed for a straight 10 minutes. My roommate is a boss.
My precious noodles have been saved by my karate/kungfu/judjitsooooooooo boyfraaaan.
(ps, the rat looks small, but believe me when I say it was a monster. EW.)
Oh, and we had an earthquake here. CRAZY. I was at the Esplin’s house (an LDSC couple working here) planning our branch’s youth conference. We were sitting at the computer typing up the plan, when all the sudden everything started to shake. And I mean shake. We all just sat there for a minute, in complete shock, before someone finally said “This is an earthquake!”
We then proceeded to hear a knock on the door and gate. The girl that lives in the little house next to them was home alone and had run over. And all the surrounding neighbors were trying to get inside the Esplin’s yard because it had the most open space. As we were walking outside to open the gate (yes, the earth was still shaking. Probably not the best idea…) my naïve little self said “wow this is cool!” to which someone replied “no this is not cool!”. Haha. I’m such a stupid girl.
Finally it stopped and all was still. The power was out, people were screaming and crying, but the earth was finally still. And then it hit me how utterly TRAGIC a really, really bad earthquake would be in Kathmandu. There are SO many poorly built infrastructures and most people have no idea what to do in an earthquake. We were lucky that it wasn’t worse. I am praying for Sikkim, India. The epicenter was there and I believe 39 people died. The total death number in all the areas where the earthquake hit combined is 66. So sad.
Well, I am off to go to the tailors. I am so excited. What an awesome system. You buy whatever fabric you want, take it to the tailor, they measure your body, and make whatever clothes you want. And they are custom fit to you! Plus it’s only like 250nrs($3.30). Scoooore.
Hope your days are filled with laughter and learning! Next time you find a rat in your house(which I hope is never),try Sudip’s method of extermination. I’m sure it works like a charm.
Love you all,
Ps, I miss hot showers, Thrifty’s ice cream, and Target.
-Boys from Primary. Who wouldn't love these boys?!-