September 20, 2008

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nepal in numbers

September 20, 2008
  • 1 elementary school advertising “mind management”
  • 5 whole cloves crunched, raw — an after-meal palate blaster offering from a lovely Nepali woman.
  • 7 hours of siwtchbacks, terraced rice paddies, distant snow-covered peaks, red saris spread out to dry, feeling my spine crunch in the worst seat in the bus…
  • 4 leeches attached themselves while i was wading in the waterfall pool of a secret stream 15 minutes outside of Pokhara, shown to me by a new friend. I was very brave and barely grossed out — Annapurna leech havens, here I come.
  • 70 rupees to the US dollar. My hotel room is 200 rupees, a good espresso 50 Rs, and it’ll be 250 rupees for the local silversmith to spend the day teaching me how to make a ring.
  • 1 olympic gold medalist and i chatted — amidst widespread fawning and admiration — at the Kathmandu Guest House (USA rowing 8s in Beijing).
  • 8 signs along the main drag in Pokhara, where pashmina scarves abound: “Dear Humans, Touch me!”
  • 9 entities share the roads – cars, noisy trucks, roaring motorcycles, pedestrians, cows, rickshaws, carts, adapted farm vehicles, throngs and throngs of bicycles. Somehow, incredibly, accidents are few.
  • 44 letters in the Nepali alphabet. I’ve learned 8, and can remember 4. My record for spoken Nepali doesn’t fare much better — my vocabulary stretches to a dozen phrases on good days, but more often than not my mind draws a blank at opportune moments…

… moving into a period of bewilderment

September 2, 2008

My list of things to do is not quite under control. 

The remaining days are rapidly diminishing but I barely notice their passing until sunset.

Feeling emotional. Unprepared. Vulnerable. Perhaps this is the beginning of forever.