Saturday, December 1, 2012


I'm sitting in a small, comfortable wicker chair with a cushion covered in locally-spun fabric, on my cottage's little veranda, which I share with potted flowers and other tropical plants, drinking what's left of the warm masala tea, wishing for another small pot.  I can ask for one, but that would require moving, and I'm so content for the moment to just sit.

It's already been an interesting morning.  I was awakened before dawn by something that sounded like long, low wailing of an instrument, attended by wild horn honking. I will have to ask my host what that might have been. I fell back to sleep, and came to again as the sun rose, never too bright thanks to the haze of fuel pollution and the fog on the mountains, so that it is impossible to tell the time from the sun like I can in Phoenix.

The first thing was to double-check the route to the World Peace Pagoda, and the walk from the Pagoda to the Tibetan refugee camp nearby. Unfortunately, my erstwhile 24/7 internet was out. No worries. I checked the erstwhile 24/7 hot water, and for the first time, it was actually hot at the same time I am in the room. This is a miracle. It has been since Kathmandu that I had a real shower.Meghan Buchanan will laugh to find out that I needed the wet wipes in Pokhara more than they needed them on the mountain road to Everest Base Camp. Thankfully, I am "American clean" now! And by the time I was showered, the internet was back up.

Barefoot and wet-hair'd, I traipsed down to find my host to let him know I am ready for tea and breakfast. Funny, I was kind of worried about whether wet hair is immodest here, but he did not notice at all. What he did notice was my bare feet. That I did not expect, since everyone here takes their shoes off to go into a building. I wonder if going bare feet outside signifies something here, or he was just thinking I might be chilly. No worries. I put on socks back in the room and looked up the Pagoda trails.

On the way back to my room I accidentally entered the door to the other side of my duplex cottage - and caught my neighbor in full undress. She shreaked. I shreaked, apologized and backed out hurriedly. At least she is a she. Later when she left for breakfast, she said, "Hello again" with a smile. I encouraged her to walk in my door unannounced any time, if she felt the need to get back at me. She's with a group of English speakers from somewhere on the European side of the globe, and by their clothes, they look like trekkers. If they are here longer than one night, I may try to get to know them, to see if there is any interest in hiking together a bit...

Now, off to finish my tea, get my trek permit, and get on the road to the World Peace Pagoda.

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