I made a swift recovery from that bout of illness, and have steered clear of meat since. The following evening I was sitting and reading downstairs at Tings, and I got chatting to a Canadian called Jessica, who had just picked up the keys for her new flat – this is the one below Kelly’s colleague’s place, which we were briefly offered until it was realised that it had already been promised to someone (Jessica). During the day I had seen a flat which I thought could be the one, I got very excited about it until Kelly suggested I go back and see it again, which I did – I managed to gain access without the agent being there, and on closer inspection found that actually it had lots of issues that I hadn’t storied the first time around. Damn – I really thought the search was over.
All that was on Tuesday, Wednesday I looked at more Alice’s and wandered around a bit, and we ended up managing to find a pub quiz at Pub Maya on Thursday evening, when Louis returned to Kathmandu as well. Jess, Louis and I won convincingly, sharing a mighty bounty of NPR 1000, or a profit of about a quid each.
Louis and I stayed in the pub until about midnight, when they closed – we wandered the streets a little, met a man in a flat cap with a fantastic moustache, and I arrived home at about half 12 to find the gates securely locked. No wanting to make a noise and wake up the people in the rooms by the gate, I somehow scaled the wall, managing to avoid landing in the pile of rubbish on the other side, stealthily making my way to my room, and being met by the bemused guard at the door. I looked sheepish and retired to bed.
Friday was yet more house hunting – I think I have a shortlist of four places which I am going to take Kelly to see on Sunday, upon her arrival from Bangladesh.
By all accounts, by the way, Kelly has had a pretty shit time out there – the first night and day in fancy hotels was followed by a 5 1/2 hour drive, during which the driver’s erratic style caused tears and shouting, ending at the Jamuna “resort”, originally built by bridge workers and now, by all accounts, grim as hell. No security, not particularly clean, the phones in the rooms are inaccessible to outside callers, there is a single internet connected computer and no wi-fi, all for a conference centre claiming to have a capacity of literally hundreds of people. All this coupled with Bangladesh currently experiencing the coldest weather on record, I think this week has been…challenging.
On Friday evening I helped Jessica take some of her stuff to the flat, intending to say hi to her neighbour Jimi, with whom I have exchanged a few emails. As it turns out, he was hosting a pancake party for VSO staff in Kathmandu, and I was very kindly invited to join in. I had two delicious pancakes and met some interesting people, both occurrences being unexpected and welcome. It seems like the foreign community in Kathmandu, from my small sampling, is both close-knit and friendly. I think we will be just fine here.