Sunday, April 3, 2011

I Hate to Play Favorites, But...

As part of my job I get 6-7 newspapers a day. My favorite paper is The Himalayan Times. Until now, the only reason for this was because it publishes Calvin & Hobbes on Sundays.

Incidentally, another paper has recently starting publishing Calvin & Hobbes. Coincidence? Or is my influence in the Nepali press taking hold?

Anyway, I now have two more reasons to love THT. On April 1 it published a front page story about William & Kate choosing to spend their honeymoon in Nepal. It wasn't until the conclusion on page 3 that they announced it was an April Fools joke.

The second reason - yesterday they used the phrase "hoo ha" in their lead headline.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Gooooood morning, Kathmandu!

This morning I was awoken by a bullfight. No kidding. Two bulls fighting outside my house.

Let me set this up for you. Get comfortable, this could take a while.

First I need to explain that my house is not soundproof. I hear everything. My next door neighbors, every tweet and caw from any bird within half a mile, and, of course, the honking. My house is on the corner of 2 small streets. In the States, when a vehicle approaches a T intersection, it stops, checks to make sure there are no cars coming, then it turns. Not in Kathmandu. Vehicles don’t stop or even slow down when they make a turn. They just honk their horn to warn any oncoming cars to get out of the way. My point is that every car that passes my house honks its horn.

I’m a very light sleeper. Not a good thing in Kathmandu. So I use the embassy-provided air filter as a white noise maker to block out the city noise. I wouldn’t be able to fall asleep or stay asleep without it. The clean air it produces is an added benefit (especially these days when being outside for any length of time burns my eyes).

Kathmandu has an energy problem, meaning there is no electricity for much of the day. The embassy provides generators, but encourages us to use the timers so that the generators won’t kick in unless it’s when we need it to. My generator’s timer is set so that if the city power goes out from 11:00pm to 6:00am, the generator will not turn on. The power usually shuts off sometime during the night. Which means my white noise maker / air filter shuts off, leaving me susceptible to noises.

Cows and bulls roam the streets of Kathmandu freely. They’re supposed to be sacred, but I don’t understand what is so sacred about farm animals picking through piles of garbage on the street for food.

Are you still with me?

So at 5:00 this morning the power was out and my generator was off, so there was no white noise to block the hideous sound that woke me up. Wondering what on God's green earth could possibly make that sound, I peeked out my window just in time to see a huge bull finish his “business.” Just then a second bull appeared and I knew this would not end well. Sure enough, they went at it. Horns locked, the second bull slammed the first bull into my gate. After a little more rough-housing, and a lot more mooing, the bulls took their scuffle down the road.

Later that morning as I headed to work, I saw a big, poopy butt-print on the outside of my gate. It’s a glamorous life I lead.