Thursday, 4 July 2013

Welcome to Nepal

[P.S. I'll add photos as soon as I can, I promise! I'm typing this from an internet cafe and as far as I know, they don't have an SD slot.]

There's a certain type of mistiness in the air, the view is surrounded by mountains and there's a constant beeping from the motorbikes and cars. Welcome to Nepal.

I set off on Monday. My flight wasn't until 9.30 pm, so I was determined to see some of my old friends whom I haven't seen for months. We did some catching up over udons and compared how we at such different stages of life. My sisters were surprised to see me com back home later that day ('Why aren't you gone yet?!' 'Geez, thanks!'), which made me miss the days when they refused to let me leave and cuddle me to death. Why do kids think that not caring makes them look cool? My parents, on the other hand, found salvage in praying. Letting their daughter go away for 10 weeks wasn't how they'd expect me to celebrate being away from them for a year.

I've packed like twice already but with hours left before I leave for the airport, it just felt like I still had more to pack. Oh, maybe I should pack that cardigan or take that top. The biggest trouble was that I knew I was teaching at a Tibetan school but I didn't know how strict the dress code was. Did they strict or were they happy for us to teach in strappy tops? If they wanted me to cover up fully, how can I pack for both Malaysia and Nepal in a 35L bag?

The plane ride wasn't... pleasant. I was already bragging that I was taking the World's no.1 airline to and back (it was the cheapest option, somehow). I took plenty of things in my bag to keep my occupied: books, iPod, lesson plans for ideas. My problem was that I just wanted to sleep. I wanted to wake up just in time to land at my destination. I hate waiting. Trying to sleep on a plane is one of the most challenging things yet. I miss the days when I was young and my mom would just let me lie down on her lap and I could stretch my legs. Even last year, I took Air China (do not recommend), I had seats either side of me free, so I could happily lie down as rest as I wanted. No one was going to pass a ride on Qatar and although I was praying under my breath not to have a passenger next to me, it was hopeless. I kept changing positions every 5 minutes, even made up new positions, some involving resting your leg on the front seat pocket. I have enough moves to make a yoga book out of it.

The physical discomfort from the lack of sleep isn't the only worst thing about a plane ride, it's also how slowly time drags on. You know when you doze off and you start to lean to the side or forward until your reflex snaps you back awake , that happened more times than I would like, you might expect for at least 15 minutes to have passed. Nopes! Maybe 2 minutes if I'm lucky. On my second plane ride, it happened so many times before the plane even took off...! One of the most painful rides ever.

At least the food was decent.

The first thing you notice about Nepal's airport is how small and cosy it looks. My transfer was at Doha airport, which I'm pretty sure is bigger than Cambridge town itself. It was full of boutiques, gold shops and a Lamborghini or two. Nepal's airport, similar to Bangladesh's, was a small red brick building. Their visa on arrival was an assembly line that worker quicker than my bag's arrival. There isn't much to say, it's small and dark. Not very impressive but very functional.

I was picked up by the school's headmasters, which was very sweet of them. I got to see a sneak peak of Kathmandu as I travelled to my temporary home. All I can think of is that it looks like a less developed Dhaka, except that gives it some negative connotation. There's more greenery, it feels fresher and the beautiful mountain side view is not disturbed by high rise buildings or concretes. It's better this way.

I'm just going to sign off with a bit about my home. I'll talk about Manasarovar Academy and the amazing children in the next post. I'm living in Boudha, in an apartment with Joanna. I share a room with Victoria and Harriet, who I am working with, and there are two other students living with us. The room looks amazing.  may be saying that because it's much higher than my expectation. We have a view of the mountains and the marketplace at our doorstep. Our housemates are also very nice. One of them use to go to the Academy and he also takes us around Boudha, helping us try new restaurants and settling us in (re: sim card incident). I'm happy/very comfortable where I'm living and where I'm working. I hope things stay that way!

1 comment:

  1. Sorry your journey was so crazy and stressful but glad you've settled in Nepal well. It sounds good so far even with the slightly negative comparisons to Bangladesh. Maybe because I miss BD a bit Nepal sounds more inviting xD