Showing posts with label Nepal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nepal. Show all posts

Mar 26, 2018

Taking the High Road...Literally


Paving our little dirt road has truly begun here in Nepal. Trucks filled with building supplies have been arriving daily and a crew has been working dawn to dusk. Construction is going surprisingly quick even though most everything has to be done manually. Above you see a truck full of river rock being unloaded by the basketful.


These cone-shaped baskets are how most large loads are carried here in Nepal. You will often see porters going up and down the mountains carrying all sorts of things in these baskets like produce for markets, bricks, firewood, and even trekking gear for tourists. It's a very simple but brilliant design that leaves the arms free and alleviates pressure on the shoulders. Large and bulky items can easily be transported on the steep and narrow trails that crisscross the Himalayas connecting towns and villages using these conical baskets. The young woman in the above picture is using a shawl looped around the basket and across her forehead to carry it.


When it comes to hard, physical labor men and women work side by side in Nepal. These two ladies are digging a trench with pick and shovel for the drain on the new road. The woman on the left is about 3 months pregnant. She will work up until she gives birth and then only take one day off. The maintenance and clearing of trails in the mountains are considered women's work also.


Here they're placing a layer of river rock along the bottom of the drainage trench dug by the women. If you think that drainage trench looks a bit shallow you'll see how they've chosen to deal with that in the next few photos.


A layer of concrete is placed over the river rock in the drainage trench.  Once again the concrete is both mixed and transported by hand. No fancy concrete mixer. A simple slurry is mixed on the ground with shovels and carried by the bucketful to be smoothed over the river rock.


On top of the layer of concrete over the river rocks, two low parallel walls were built. These are to be the walls of a tiny canal that will drain the road. It is my understanding that the road will be built flush to the height of these walls. If you look to the left of the photo you can see how high the top of the drainage canal is compared to the land and houses bordering the road. It is a lot higher!


In fact, this is what it looks like through our front gate! The road is going to be a full 23 inches higher than the land our house and yard are on.


His Imperial Majesty the Baacha Khan demonstrates the alarming height of the future road. As you can see this means using our driveway will be impossible without some major modifications. I really hope this drain works to keep water away from our house during the Monsoon and that our yard doesn't become a drainage pond!


And then some folks were just delighted with the new drain! Little Mr. Raju jumped right in while his sisters looked on in amusement. Or disgust?


After two weeks of road building, the crew decided to have a celebration of sorts. Anytime you see an animal tethered by its front foreleg in a field it's fairly certain there's going to be some butchering. The man holding the ax will hit the water buffalo on the head with the back of it which will stun it. Then he will either deliver the final blow by severing the spinal cord with a chop to the back of the neck or by repeatedly striking it on the head until it falls to the ground. Then the animal's throat will be slit. Sometimes the initial bonk to the head does not entirely stun the animal as desired. I have seen times when an errant blow glances off of a buffalo's head which only enraged the animal. You do not want a horned beast that weighs a metric ton mad at you. Tying the animals front leg to a post will cause it to fall down if it tries to charge you or run away.  Hopefully.  About a year ago I heard horrific screams midday coming from this very field. I looked out the window to see a water buffalo with an ax hanging from his forehead making the most horrific sound I had ever heard. Water buffaloes make grunts and groans like Chewbacca when they call to each other, when distressed they make a screech that is bloodcurdling!


The buffalo was soon skinned and dismembered on a plastic tarp. Every part of the animal will be eaten or sold to the tanners. Water buffalo meat tastes like lean, good quality beef. It is not as fatty as beef nor does it have any of the gamey taste of goat (mutton), lamb, or venison. It can be a bit tough and requires marination making it great for kebabs. We rarely eat it because Kashmiris feel it is inferior to lamb. Although Kashmiris think goat (mutton) is inferior to sheep (lamb) also.


Butchering a large animal like this is usually only a once or twice a year event for most people in Nepal. Any meat that is not eaten in a few days will be salted, seasoned with timur (Szechuan peppercorns), and dried to make a sort of jerky.


And lastly, our beloved cat Tikka passed away. Tikka was Ms. Chinger's first daughter and they were very close. When Chinger died last October Tikka became very sad. Tikka was very shy and did not like to be touched by people but lavished her affections on her brother, Baacha Khan and her mom Chinger.


Poor Tikka had suffered many a mysterious feline virus these last few years but I think Chinger's death really affected her for the worse. I was not Tikka's favorite person as I was the one administering her medications. But when she wanted anything she had no hesitation to voice her requests to me. Tikka always wanted to be a mom and would even steal kittens from other mama cats and bring them home. We will miss you Tikka.

Any major construction going on your way? 
Have any of y'all in northern climes thawed out yet?

Ciao for now,
Bibi


Mar 5, 2018

March, the Month of Wind, Taxes and Flowers!


Yes, it's the blustery, balmy, and boisterous month of March here on this planet we call home! We started off with the festival of Holi last Friday. Yours truly did not participate in the festivities but as you can see in the above photo plenty of other firangis (foreigners) did! Holi is a movable feast that somehow always manages to usher in Spring!


Speaking of Spring and colors here are some gorgeously scarlet petunias just beginning to bloom in my garden. They're one of those new-fangled breeds that hold their trumpets upright and do not trail like old-fashioned petunias do. Not sure if that's truly an improvement

Speaking of things red and floral the Sheikh brought me 21 red roses for Valentine's day! I had completely forgotten it was Valentine's day! Flowers typically come prearranged like this in India and Nepal. Rarely do you see bouquets in cellophane sleeves like you do in western countries. It's kind of neat because you don't need a vase. Just place the foam brick of the arrangement in a bowl or dish of water.


Speaking of roses I didn't know that David Austin had a rose named after Kate Middleton! Apparently, the world-renowned rose grower from the Midlands brought out two new roses for the royal couple in 2011 also.  Where have I been? According to the David Austin website:

"Kate is beautiful at all stages as the long elegant buds with attractive, silvery magenta pink outer petals gradually open to wide blooms of up to four inches across. The David Austin Wedding Rose Kate has many magenta pink petals which give the overall impression of rich raspberry pink. As the roses age, the petals deepen in color, taking on hints of purple. The flowers are fully double with exquisitely waved outer petals. Over time golden yellow stamens are eventually revealed. The mature flowers are in the style of 18th and 19th century Gallicas, with some of the characters of both Charles de Mills and Tuscany Superb, which are generally considered amongst the most beautiful of all roses. The fragrance is a beautifully balanced, pure rose fragrance with what our fragrance expert, Robert Calkin, describes as having a “touch of after-rain freshness”. There are also subtle hints of raspberry, redcurrant, geranium, and bergamot. The fragrance varies in intensity as the flower ages." 

I wants me the preshusssss!


Speaking of things rosy and raspberry, I found this at our local departmental store. Yes, it is a can of air freshener named "Aromas of Kashmir." Air Wick is a British owned American brand trying to establish itself in India. This looks to be an attempt to appeal to Indian tastes with a line of home fragrance called "Scents of India." A paragraph on the back of the can promises "a unique and tender mix of roses and saffron fills your home with sweet and romantic moments." That sounded interesting enough for me to hand my $3 over for it! Upon spraying it I was a bit disappointed. The scent is vaguely recognizable as rose. There is something faintly warm and woodsy lingering in the fragrance that might be saffron I suppose. Mostly it's about fake raspberry with a lot of white musk. Actually, all the floral Air Wick scents had this flat raspberry note. C'mon Air Wick! This is India! We don't do twee raspberry here! We know what rich and sunny saffron should smell like and we love a velvety Taif or Damask rose!


Speaking of smelly things does anyone recall this fragrance from the swingin' seventies? Yes, it's Paco Rabanne pour Homme! This was an "old man" scent when I was a teen in the 80's. The sort of thing balding middle-aged men sporting top-stitched polyester leisure suits, white patent Gucci loafers, gold chains, and gradient aviator sunglasses would wear. A client gifted my husband a bottle of this at Christmas time. What an absolute classic! It has changed over the years. The oakmoss has been dialed down and the honey note seems to have all but disappeared. Laurel and sage still provide herbal greenness but a rather loud 70's style animalic musk still is the star of the show. It's a bit like a posh version of that other 70's hit Irish Spring deodorant soap. Fabulous performance with great longevity and tasteful sillage when applied with restraint. I love it!


More smelly things! This is Jeanne Arthes' Extreme Limite Energy which I found at our local departmental store for about $7USD. It's a passable dupe for the very $$$s Chanel Allure Homme Sport. Same citrus and ozone blast at the opening fading to vetiver with a base of white musk, slightly sweet amber, and tonka. It is missing the Chanel's black pepper note. Other than that adequate longevity and sillage for 6-8 hours even in South Asian Monsoon humidity and heat. A lovely light and brisk freshie for the men in your family when the summer heat kicks in. The bottle is positively hideous though.


Speaking of heat here's the ongoing battle in our neighborhood. This Mexican standoff of sorts is our very own HIM the Baacha Khan vs his arch nemesis the Djinn Cat. The initial contest involves long hours of sitting atop walls facing each other while growling and yowling. The wall should preferably be as close to a neighbor's window in order to be as thoroughly annoying as possible. Djinn Cat is an intact feral tomcat, HIM the Baacha Khan is decidedly not. This never ends well. So before things get too vicious and the neighbors get too miffed I usually squirt them with the hose forcing an immediate cease and desist on both sides. The bottom photo is HIM the Baacha Khan sulking away after Bibi put a watery kibosh on his caterwauling.


Sometimes these territorial kitty wars do escalate to fisticuffs and such was the case later that same day. The next day after the fight HIM the Baacha Khan developed a walnut-sized abscess over his left eye. I spent 20 minutes draining and debriding that mess on one very unhappy cat. This was followed by a 5-day course of antibiotics and our patient is now fit enough to fight again. You can see the scar in the photo over his left eye. Some possibly useful information: The Indian pressure cooker makes a great jugadi autoclave and dental floss makes for adequate kitty proof sutures.


Our newest member of the family is doing well too. Naughty Spotty has revealed himself to be quite the character! When the Sheikh (my husband) picked him out I thought he'd be quite shy. Spotty was hiding under a table at the adoption center when we first saw him and when we picked him up. I figured he'd be one of those sorts of cats that would hide under the sofa for a month or two before reluctantly engaging with his new owners. WAS I WRONG! Spotty has been all over this house like gangbusters. He loves people and greets everyone with sandpaper kisses and purrs. Unfortunately his new Aunty Tikka and Uncle Baacha Khan aren't thrilled with him. The hostilities have subsided from hisses and growls to complete indifference. This has not deterred Spotty from trying to engage his older housemates with adoring headbutts, tail pulling, and even flying leaps off of the bookcases on top of them. HIM the Baacha Khan refuses to eat in Spotty's presence, HARUMPH!


Our road is being paved. Civilization is coming to our door. Or at least a backhoe loader came and dug a four-foot trench along each side of our road. There's the neighborhood homeowners committee looking on gleefully at the arrival of the tractor. As you can see by the blue-roofed bus stop our road sits about 12-15 feet below the main road. On the left side of the road, there is a 150-bed clinic and hospital. There is a steep little frontage road that connects our road to that main road above by the bus stop. Unfortunately, drainage has been a problem in the past with water flooding down that steep frontage road directly into the hospital compound. That retaining wall and frontage road have been rebuilt three times in order to mend flood damage. I hope they take these drainage issues into consideration building the new road.


And here's the aforementioned backhoe loader just inches from our front gate. Now we have a four foot wide and two foot deep trench to jump across right out side our gate. No further work has been done since this tractor tore up the road last week. We're just renting so we have no say in the matter. Sigh.


I'll leave you with this photo of the notorious B.K. doing his best hoodlum pose. I hope he doesn't go the way of Tupac.

Not much else going on around here, anything happening your way?
Has Spring sprung where you're at or is it still miserably wintry?

Toodle pip!
Bibi


Feb 5, 2018

Kathmandu: Asan Tol

asan, ason, Kathmandu, Nepal, tol, tole,

This week I'm going to take you on a visit to the most famous bazaar of old Kathmandu: Asan Tol. Six streets converge on this ancient square resulting in perpetual bustle from dusk till dawn. Vendors sell exotic wares while artisans toil in hidden workshops alongside sacred temples. Cat Stevens allegedly wrote his hippie-era song Kathmandu in one of the many teahouses of this historical district. Asan Tol straddles one of the two legendary India-Tibet trade routes that pass diagonally through Kathmandu. Because of this history, Asan has been one of the city's main marketplaces since ancient times.

asan, ason, Kathmandu, Nepal, tol, tole,

Apart from being a busy marketplace, there are many temples and shrines located in Asan Tol's many squares and courtyards. Above is pictured the temple of Asan Tol's patron deity, Annapurna Ajima. She is the goddess of abundant grain. If the sun is right, the temple can appear to be made from solid gold. The three pagoda roofs and finial gilded. A richly fashioned doorway beckons while decorative birds, metal frills, and divine faces adorn the ribbed roofs. Instead of an idol in the goddess' image, inside there is a silver purnakalash filled with grain and entwined by a silver serpent. Temple records from 1839AD and show that the building required renovation by the end of the nineteenth century. In the black and white photo at the top of this post, you'll see the Annapurna temple covered in a net of puffed rice for the Taya Ma festival which takes place once every 60 years. You’ll often see devotees of the goddess seeking divine favor by walking around the shrine, touching a coin to their heads, throwing it into the temple and then ringing the bell above them.

asan, ason, Kathmandu, Nepal, tol, tole,

Asan Tol is still the place where folks from all over the Kathmandu valley and beyond will come to buy or sell their crops and wares. Above you see bags of green jimbu, brown timur, and chunks of pink and purple Himalayan salt for sale. You'll also see many varieties of locally grown fresh fruit and vegetables here.

asan, ason, Kathmandu, Nepal, tol, tole,

Unique and handcrafted kitchenware is one of my favorite things to shop for in Asan. This handmade pot is specially made to fry the ring-shaped Nepali sweet bread called sel roti. You can often find second-hand pots and utensils with gorgeous timeworn patinas very cheaply here also.

asan, ason, Kathmandu, Nepal, tol, tole,

This vendor is selling things you would need for a puja or prayer ceremony. Peacock feather fans, incense, yak tail fly swishers, candles, nuts, and sweetmeats. Those yak tails look so soft and fluffy, don't they? Don't be fooled! Yak hair is like metal wires. I tried to knit with yak yarn once and it was like knitting steel wool- actually left me with bleeding fingers!

asan, ason, Kathmandu, Nepal, tol, tole,

As you walk the lanes around Asan Tol you will see tiny, narrow passageways branching off like this. Let's see where this one goes. Don't be shy! They're used to tourists wandering about and gawking in Nepal. I've never had anyone ask me to leave or be offended by my meanderings in Nepal.

asan, ason, Kathmandu, Nepal, tol, tole,

Et Voila! This is one of the seven Buddhist courtyards of Asan Tol. This particular one is called Haku Baha or Harshabaha. A baha is a is a type of courtyard found amongst Newar communities in Nepal. A baha is generally constructed by a family and their descendants reside in it for generations. Hence, it is not just a unit of residence but also a unit of kinship. As you enter the baha you see a bronze stupa with a different portrayal of Buddha facing four directions. Look at that amazing hand-carved window above! As you can tell by all the motorcycles parked in this beautiful ancient courtyard people really do live here. You didn't used to see so many motorcycles in Nepal until 5-7 years ago. Indian motorcycle manufacturers began offering easy, low interest financing to Nepali buyers about 7 years ago so now the roads are clogged with the darned things.

asan, ason, Kathmandu, Nepal, tol, tole,

Looking in back of the bronze stupa we see this rather unusual white stupa. I've never seen much written about it but it has always intrigued me as it looks to be carved out of a solid piece of white stone. The stone has a glow to it like marble but isn't streaked like marble. These are the only two religious structiures in this little courtyard. Haka means twice or double in Nepali but I'm not sure if that's what this courtyard's name means.

asan, ason, Kathmandu, Nepal, tol, tole,

Continuing back down the main lane you can peer into the ancient workshops of all sorts of artisans. On each street or tole, specific crafts and business are carried out. These gentlemen are goldsmiths of the Shakya clan which claim direct descent from Buddha himself. Let's go see what other hidden courtyards we can find, eh?


Oh my! Venturing down another narrow pathway we come to the Kathesimbu Stupa. This is one of the most popular Tibetan pilgrimage sites in the old tow. Bult in around 1650AD this a miniature copy of the much larger Swayambhunath complex. With all the sand and construction workers about it looks as if there is some earthquake repair work going on.

asan, ason, Kathmandu, Nepal, tol, tole,  
Taa Daa! Isn't this amazing? You don't have to pay to see this ancient square, you aren't bothered by touts, this is just someone's neighborhood. All sorts of smaller temples are around the courtyard also. Just as at the Swayambhunath complex, there is a two-story pagoda devoted to Hariti, the goddess of smallpox, in the northwestern corner of the square.

A close up of the prayer wheels that go around the stupa. The prayer wheels are brass cylinders inscribed with or containing written prayers. A revolution of a prayer wheel symbolizes the repetition of a prayer. According to the lineage texts on prayer wheels, each turn of a prayer wheel accumulates wisdom and merit (good karma) and purifies negativities (bad karma). Always use your right hand only to spin the prayer wheels and only turn in a clockwise direction.

asan, ason, Kathmandu, Nepal, tol, tole,

Some school children playing badminton alongside the Kathesimbu Stupa. That red brick building at the back of this photo is the elementary school at which they are pupils. Wish we had a stupa like that in our neighborhood.

asan, ason, Kathmandu, Nepal, tol, tole,

In the northeast corner of the courtyard is the Drubgon Jangchup Choeling Monastery. Tours of this Tibetan Buddhist monastery are available for a fee. All this is just a couple of minutes’ walk south of Thamel and Durbar square. 

asan, ason, Kathmandu, Nepal, tol, tole,

A close up of one of the brass lions guarding a temple in the courtyard. Such incredibly detailed metalwork is typical of Newari craftsmen. You don't see as many brass and bronze lions guarding shrines and temples anymore- hope those aren't being stolen also.  

asan, ason, Kathmandu, Nepal, tol, tole,

These are all private homes along the courtyard perimeter. It appears they suffered some earthquake damage and are being buttressed by strategically placed poles. If you look closely at the white building near the top you can see a huge German shepherd dog perilously leaning out the window. He was barking furiously at the pigeons in the square.  Glad that's not my neighbor.

asan, ason, Kathmandu, Nepal, tol, tole,

This building on the square looks to have been so severely damaged by the earthquake it had to be demolished completely and rebuilt. The Nepali government has been trying to encourage residents to choose construction that at least appears to be traditionally Newari in style. Various stipends and grants are available to those whose plans feature the exposed red brick and hand carved wooden ornamentation of old. Behind the traditional facade the buildings can be completely modern with proper earthquake resistant structure. Above you see the detailed brick work and carved window sills being applied to one such modern reconstruction. I think it looks great! I just hope the bricks don't pop off the facade in the next (inevitable) earthquake like I've seen in California.

asan, ason, Kathmandu, Nepal, tol, tole,

A mushroom-seller that followed me around for about twenty minutes around the bazaar. I'm not sure what his fascination with me was. I certainly didn't have much use for mushrooms while staying in a hotel room in Kathmandu. Note the planks butressing the ancient building behind him. Yet more earthquake damage awaiting repairs. What a wild conglomeration of goods for sale too- everything from coathangers to coconuts! Anyway, this was just a sample of what you can see and buy in Asan Tol. For those in search of authentic Nepali spices, fruit, vegetables, dry goods, metalware, fabrics, teas, or household goods, there is no better place to visit. Ancient shrines and temples are just part of the neighborhood in this typically Newari neighborhood. Hope you enjoyed my little tour of old Kathmandu!

That's it for this week! I know I promised a recipe but we've got houseguests which doesn't leave much time for food photography. (Sorry!) next week I'm planning a post for Chinese New year!
Calmly currying on, 
Bibi


Jan 29, 2018

Our rendezvous in Kathmandu!


Yes, we are baack!!!! And we have a new baby! Allow me to introduce you to Spotty. The Cat Hotel where HIM the Baacha Khan stayed during our trip to Kathmandu is also associated with Catmandu Lovers. Catmandu Lovers is a private feline rescue organization that focuses on rehoming orphaned, injured, and abandoned cats. They also provide spay and neuter services along with pet care education. The Sheikh saw Spotty at the hotel and insisted we adopt him.


I'm not so sure about Spotty's name though. When I first saw him I immediately thought of Alfalfa from the Our Gang and Little Rascals series. For now he's still Spotty, or Spotticus Maximus as I call him. His Imperial Majesty the Baacha Khan's reactions to our new family member have ranged from decidedly chilly to completely indifferent. Harumph.


Here's a parting photo of Spotty and his fellow adoptees-to-be housed at the Cat Hotel. Look at all that adorableness waiting to be loved! Spotty was part of an abandoned litter brought to Catmandu Lovers, unfortunately his two siblings did not survive.


The Hotel Shanker where we always stay in Kathmandu is now fully restored to it's former glory! Originally built as a palace for Gen. Jit Shumsher Rana (brother of HH Sri Tin Maharaja Bhir Shumsher Jung Bahadur Rana) in 1894 it was converted to a hotel in 1964. Unfortunately in the 2015 earthquakes the hotel was badly damaged. The pillared porticos and neoclassical decor of it's grand facade completely crumbled and had to be completely rebuilt. They did a beautiful job restoring it didn't they?


The entire foyer of the Hotel Shanker has been restored to it's nineteenth century grandeur too. Before the earthquakes the lobby suffered a tacky dropped ceiling, 70's burgundy shag carpeting, and walls lined with dark brown woodcarvings giving it a rather cave-like and dank feel. Someone wisely got rid of that dropped ceiling and dismal carpeting. Now the foyer (or lobby) is a 20 foot high light-filled hall of mirrors with gorgeous inlaid marble floors. That beautiful seven foot high antique mirror you see in the above photo was formerly hidden at the back of a dimly lit stairwell. Now it sits proudly adjacent to the front door! Fabulous crystal and blown glass chandeliers and sconces also adorn the newly restored entrance. (Photographing chandeliers accurately is near impossible.) The antique woodcarvings have been refinished, framed, and featured on the walls and archways. All that turn of the century opulence made me want to sing songs from "Hello Dolly" the entire time I was there- "Look at the old girl now fellas!!! Dolly don't ever go away again!!!"

 

This is what we came to Kathmandu for: a brand new ambulance for our district! Friday was India's Republic Day. We attended the festivities at the Indian embassy honoring the date on which the Constitution of India came into effect on the 26th of January in 1950. (Unfortunately my phone's camera was once again on the blink so I didn't get any photos.) Part of the celebration was the generous donation by the Indian government of a Tata Sumo 4WD ambulance to our district! We haven't ever had a proper ambulance solely for our side of town. Thank you to the people and government of India for your kind and thoughtful gift!


And then I spent a lazy day at the salon getting my biannual haircut, a manicure, and a pedicure. The hairdresser had this groovy tattoo. He must truly love hairdressing because I got a good haircut! 


As I was leaving the salon I noticed this new store nearby. With K-pop tunes blasting and Hangul writing on the store's sign - it must surely be South Korean?!? WRONG. The signage does look a bit like the Japanese fast fashion brands Uniqlo and Miniso. Apparently the Chinese do not take copyright nor trademark laws too seriously as evidenced by the diagram below:


As confusing as it sounds the new brand Ximivogue describes itself as "a Korea-based designer brand that is a fast fashion department franchised store, locates at Guangzhou International Finance Center." I'd surmise it's a Korean-inspired Chinese brand. The clientele seemed to be mostly local teenagers foraging amongst the budget-friendly offerings of trendy makeup, perfume, stuffed animals, costume jewelry, socks, coffee cups, t-shirts, key fobs, hair ornaments, and what-have-you. I think the closest thing we have in the US to this sort of "fast fashion" shop would be Claire's. The makeup looked a bit dodgy and the fragrances were the usual bland, powdery, light florals we Westerners usually associate with toilet paper and air fresheners.


Then I found the bath, body, and skincare aisle! Woohoo! I absolutely LOVE Japanese and South Korean skincare products. They're usually quite well designed, inexpensive, and chock full of good ingredients. I found an entire row of skincare masks including this one with hyaluronic acid. Note the curious labeling with English, Chinese, and Korean wording. Ingredients were only written in Chinese and the masks are made in China. All masks were sold in packs of three for a little under $4USD. I ended up buying this as well as a set of honey and aloe vera based masks. I passed on the masks containing snail snot and mysterious "fibrin tenderising" ingredients. Who wants their face "tenderised" and why? I tried one of these hyaluronic acid masks this morning and it was really nice- quite moisturizing, fit my face, did not sting nor cause any untoward reactions. Seriously, I've tried $10USD that were way worse than this. I was impressed! (Yes, those are Bibi's freshly pedicured feet in the background.)


After that I perused the shoe department and found these nifty gray garden clogs for $4USD. The ratty ED Hardy tattooed sneakers on the left are what I've been wearing in the garden here for the past 10 years. Quite an upgrade, eh? It ain't easy finding garden clogs in Nepal! These clogs have a proper removable insole too. I bought a pair of Crocs in India last year that fell apart in two weeks so I hope these fare better. Leeches might squiggle through those holes on the top of the clogs during the Monsoon though. Blecch.

That's it for this week! I've had several inquiries as to why I haven't posted any recipes lately. Truthfully, I've been a bit lazy and somewhat irritated by my camera developing numerous software glitches. Fixing the glitches requires shutting the camera down, emptying the caches, and restarting the phone. Tedious and sometimes you lose a few photos. I have my eye on the Iphone X though. I shall resume posting at least two recipes a month henceforth ;)

Bella Ciao!
Bibi

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