Three days in the Shanker

In between making observations about policemen and tricycles, on Thursday I managed to see no less than 13 apartments. I was shown an odd mix by various people, including:

  • A 4th floor riverside apartment which would have been perfect were it not for the fact that the river is essentially a sewer, and Nepal is pretty earthquake prone.
  • An enormous house which was way above budget, tatty and had servants’ quarters and a volleyball court.
  • A place for about £100 a month which had no hot water, no electricity backup and seemingly no natural light.

…and 10 others. Two of these we could not gain access to, and I am returning this afternoon to look again. Nothing is quite right yet, and I essentially have a week (until Kelly returns from Bangladesh on the 13th) to find the right place for the right money. I think, considering that I have now got rid of the two guys who were just showing me random stuff, that this should be doable. If not, there were a couple of basic but decent places at the low end of the budget which we could go for if necessary.

Since posting the picture of the tiny biscuit I have not really left the hotel grounds, apart from on two occasions, both of which occurred on Friday and involved Louis. He is a chap I met in Sydney and bumped into at Glastonbury, who is now teaching at a school to the south of Kathmandu and was in town for a couple of days. We met for lunch, and rashly picked a place to eat based on the fact that it was nearby when we were hungry. Up some grimy stairs, at the top of a building overlooking a main road we found the Mustang somethingorother Restaurant, where I was served a lemon soda with black bits in, and some warm noodles in broth (allegedly Tibetan Thukpa, possibly just instant ramen).

Louis is out here for an adventure, he just picked a random place and headed out, and is volunteering in a school while he tries to find NGO experience. It was good to catch up, and later in the day he joined us (I managed to get Kelly to leave the hotel, just) for dinner at OR2K in Thamel, followed by a trip to House of Music, where he, Kelly and I concocted our own NGO idea, based on a midnight brainstorm about cleaning up the Bagmati river. I am not sure what will come of this, but minutes were taken so it seemed serious.

Since then, however, I have not left the hotel. Yesterday I spent a soul-sucking day formatting what turned out to be more than 300 pages of Kelly’s thesis, messing about with heading styles, captions, figures and tables, which took up all of my waking hours. It wasn’t all bad though, as I got to do this by the pool – there was some sort of pre-wedding celebration occurring on the lawn, with 70 or so Nepalis in all their finery, celebrating to a soundtrack of such classics as a panpipe cover of My Heart Will Go On. Contrast this with a dozen or so shirtless foreigners basking in the sun mere metres away. An odd contrast – many of the Nepalis were wearing scarves and coats. I think I may have spotted some gloves.

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