It's hard to get by just upon a smile....
So we went to Kathmandu on an inventory run again. Domestic delivery services aren't very reliable here in Nepal so we have to pick up our orders from our artisans ourself. Nepal is still a cash based economy so there's that to consider also. I keep a pre-packed suitcase in the hall for just such blitzkrieg excursions.
This time of year there is a lot of dust. We've only had one day of light sprinkles since September. If you've ever wondered why everyone's eyes are bloodshot in Nepal this is it! Just to add to the eye and upper respiratory misery agricultural burning will start soon.
The usual and customary landslide narrowed the road to one lane for about a mile.
The usual and customary vehicular accident blocked the road for two hours. Somehow that large truck sideswiped that little silver microbus. The large truck had barely a scratch but the microbus was about a foot narrower in the back. Three passengers suffered minor head lacerations. We saw two other accidents that day. One was a truck vs motorcycle and the other was a three car pile up. Unfortunately the motorcyclist and his passenger where killed upon impact. The three car pile up resulted in two fatalities when passengers were flung from the vehicles. This highway has the reputation of being one of the most dangerous in the world with good cause.
We stopped for lunch at a village called Mugling that is famous for it's oranges. They are the ugliest pockmarked and wrinkly oranges you've ever seen but their perfectly tart-sweet flavor is divine! We then stopped for lunch at our favorite casual roadside eatery.
We were seated and greeted by our favorite maître d'hôtel, Mr Ali. Mr Ali is such a snazzy dresser.
You just know your meal is going to be fresh when the main course comes strolling through the dining room. I'm really glad Mr Ali keeps that mop at the ready too.
Despite the rustic ambiance this is always the best meal on our trip! This is a typical Nepali meal of dal-bhat-tarkaari (lentils-rice-vegetables). Even the rice is grown locally in the village! The dal is the bowl full of yellow lentils flavored with ghee, cumin seeds, and red chilis. The tarkaari or vegetable sides are all spicy hot. My favorite is the simple mustard greens stir-fry which is a Winter specialty. The chicken is served in that little bowl at the top left separately. Meat is always a special treat and cut into small pieces in Nepal. The curried chicken was delicious served in a caramelized onion, ginger, and garlic sauce rife with green chilies. The thalis at these little informal restaurants are prix fixe and "all you can eat." The waiter comes round and tops up any item you'd like more of.
The waitstaff was quite attentive also.
The waitstaff was quite sad to see us go. And was quite impressed with the games on my phone. It took two Tootsie Pops and five mini Mars bars to get my phone back. (Oranges were not valid currency at this establishment.)
This tulip magnolia or Magnolia liliiflora was the prettiest thing I saw in Kathmandu. Gorgeously fragrant too! Kathmandu was in tatters as road repairs were hurriedly taking place before the Monsoon rains begin. The Chinese have volunteered to update and expand the main thoroughfares of Kathmandu. Apparently a lot of the drainage and water systems under the roads were damaged in the 2015 earthquakes and needed replacing. So there was dust, mud, holes, trenches, and mayhem everywhere. It actually looked worse than after the 2015 earthquakes! I allowed the Sheikh (aka Dear Husband) to brave the mess whilst I lounged in luxury at the hotel. Had a good laugh at Zoolander 2 and Rock the Kasbah on HBO while sipping virgin mojitos. I know, I know, I need to show y'all Kathmandu! But it really was looking SO BAD this time and seriously hard to get around. Wait till the Monsoon rains come and wash everything clean. Then I'll take pics of Durbar Square, Boudinath Stupa, and Bhaktapur for you!
Ooo, baby, baby, it's a wild world
And I'll always remember you like a child...
I wonder how Yusuf Islam (the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens) is doing nowadays?
What's your favorite Cat Stevens song?