Showing posts with label 2018. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2018. Show all posts

Jan 1, 2018

We mean it maaan...

Happy New Year! 
So long 2017!
I doubt 2018 will be much better but ONWARD!

What did I do this week? Well, I spent an afternoon learning to put graphics on my blog! I found a free site called PicFont that allows you to resize, crop, and or add graphics to any online photo. (Above is one of Bibi's dazzling creations along with the imitation album cover at the top of the page.) You can also design memes or ads for social media platforms on the site too! I found it quite easy to use. (I do have a little graphic design experience as I design our business cards every year.)

We had a few festive visitors! Above is one of our neighbors little Ms Parvati all decked out in her finest. Ms Parvati wins Bibi's award for best Winter holiday glam outfit! I wish I'd gotten a better photo so you could see her little boots better- they have caterpillar faces with yellow antennae sticking up on the toes! Anyhow, Ms Parvati was off with her mom to fetch her sis from the bus stop. I sent a bag of baked treats with mom so the young ladies could enjoy them later. If you look closely at the field in the photo you can see the drama unfolding that I'll be describing in the next paragraph.

Ongoing drama in the vacant lot: Uh oh! It's the police! I'm not sure what's going on here but it all started with two guys sitting out in the vacant lot on plastic lawn chairs drinking chai about two weeks ago. Then it was 4 guys playing carom and drinking chai until the wee hours of the night. Eventually it grew to six guys drinking who knows what, sitting on benches, playing cards, talking loudly, urinating, and setting rubbish-fueled bonfires 24 hours a day. I'm not sure who called the cops on them. I think it was the mean lady neighbor that hates me. The new Chinese uniforms the police are sporting are quite dashing, aren't they? The uniforms look to be very practical with all those pockets too. As you can see the police radioed for the "Control Room Vehicle" (a pickup truck with more policemen and a fabric camper shell) and the boys were hauled away. I'm not sure what they were charged with but I've not seen them again. My only concern was that they might start a grassfire with a carelessly thrown cigarette or an errant spark from a bonfire (grassfires are a huge fear if you're from California.)

And of course we had to take advantage of the Christmas sales! Christmas is a legal holiday in Nepalthough few celebrate it. Nepalis are just as fascinated with Christmas-related decor and western-style consumerism as the rest of he world. This tree was in the parking lot of one of the stores we visited. Considering most Nepalis have only seen pictures of Christmas trees I think they did a good job. The store also had 10% discount on everything! Therefore I bought double the amounts of cleaning supplies and non-perishables I usually do. The Sheikh was his usual toddler-like, "Mr Fussypants" shopping self and complained I was buying too much, he was hungry, and he wanted to go home. "But everything's discounted so we're saving money and a trip downtown," said I. The Sheikh simply rolled his eyes and grumpily stomped away.

I bought a curious product called "Delicious Fat Spread" from India whilst shopping. It came in a 500g brick in the refrigerated food section and I thought perhaps it was some sort of what we call margarine. Margarines and vegetable shortening have not become popular in South Asia (not sure if they ever will with poor quality products like this). Certainly no one in any western country would buy anything called "Fat Spread." Well, it tasted like candle wax mixed with vaseline and chalk. I was hoping to make vegan cookies with it for some vegan friends but upon closer inspection at home I found it contained milk solids. I made some gingerbread with it anyway hoping the spices would hide the petroleum flavor- that worked! It bakes beautifully but the texture is so waxy I'd hardly call this a spread of any kind. A butter replacement it ain't! In short, it was not delicious, not fat, and not spreadable. I sure hope we get past this farce of cholesterol being evil that the United States has falsely indoctrinated the world with. 

I did find some real cheese though! I had heard there were two Frenchmen in Nepal trying to organize a cheesemaking factory "et voila" indeed there is! It's called the Himalayan French Cheese Pvt Ltd and according to their website:

 "The company has aged and matured along with my cheese, and now, from those humble beginnings, 8 years later, 10 Nepalis, 2 expert French cheese makers and a family of dogs all work enthusiastically together towards runnier, smellier cheese."

Hooray for runny, smelly cheese! European-style stinky cheese is the one food I miss terribly from the West. So I bought the premium yak cheese (I bet it tastes like Gruyere), Belkot (deemed a blend of Cheddar and Chantal), and Alpha (a creamy, mild, semi-soft French cheese made from pasteurized cow’s milk). All I need now is a baguette and some fruit and I shall be set for my "cheese fix." (I'll probably have to settle for saltines rather than a baguette- oh well.) Several other cheese varieties are listed on their website that sound yummy too like Raclette and a yak milk blue cheese!

There was a scam in our town resulting in several residents being swindled out of about $100,000USD. Apparently four Indian nationals from Tamil Nadu started a business called "Oxygen Traders" featuring electronics, furniture, and home appliances at amazingly low, low prices. After they'd completely sold out of goods the Indian nationals began taking money for preorders. The case came to the police’s attention when the customers contacted police after they found the shop shuttered one morning. According to the Kathmandu Post:

“They sold some goods for a while to create a market buzz and earn people’s trust. But their motive was to ensnare as many people  they could, take their money and run,”  said Deputy Superintendent of Police Khadga Bahadur Khatri.

Police suspect that the four men will most likely try to leave the country to avoid capture so photos of the perpetrators have been circulated at all Nepal-India border points. This sort of scam happens a lot in Nepal. Not only with merchandise that's promised but never delivered but bank employees disappear with huge sums, doctors disappear without performing prepaid operations, etc.

I spotted the municipal pothole patrol in our neighborhood for the first time. A four man team rolled up in that spankin' new British designed JCB Mini Tandem Roller (Model no VMT 330) hauled up to the Himalayas from Delhi. One man jumped out with a shovel and filled the pothole with dirt while another man supervised and two men drove the thing. Whatever it takes! I want a JCB Mini Tandem Roller (Model no VMT 330) simply because it looks like Fred Flintstone's car. 

Innocent, innocent, only when they are sleeping. HIM the Baacha Khan and his sister Tikka have been busy napping in the afternoon sunshine. As soon as dusk comes they bring us tidings of comfort and joy in the form of dead rodents and reptiles. Baby mice and lizards are the mainstay but the highlights have been a two foot long rat snake and an enormous rat-like thing with a scaly tail. You have to admit- they're the cutest pest control system ever!

To all of my friends, family, and faithful readers, may you have a healthy, happy, prosperous and spectacular New Year!

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