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

Apr 24, 2017

Summertime, and the livin' is easy...


That's right April through June is Summer in South Asia! There are actually 5 seasons on the Indian Subcontinent: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer and the Monsoon. What is called Spring and Summer here is really alternating bouts of pre-monsoon heat and pre-monsoon rains until the Monsoon starts in late June or early July. It took me like 2 years to figure that out. Above you see our kitties relaxing on the patio table during a bout of pre-monsoon heat last week. It was gleefully DRY after 3 weeks of continuous thunderstorms.


Caterpillars cavorting in the winter vegetables are a sure sign that Summer is here. This was the last of the Kashmiri haak or collards. The entire winter garden is now on the compost heap now. Corn, chilis okra, and tomatoes are the only veg I'm growing this Summer. Corn and okra will survive the Monsoon, the chilis and tomatoes will probably turn to mush about mid August.


The neighbors had a Buddhist house blessing for the new year. They do this every year and it is quite intensive. The lamas bless each room and area of the house. In the above photo they are on the roof finishing the blessing. Each room is purified and blessed with chanting, drums, horns, and incense. Lamas go door to door at the beginning of year signing up patrons for house blessings. They usually have a plastic laminated list of fees, photos, and copious documents verifying their authority from a tulku. The ceremony started at sunrise and continued 'til sunset. They used rose scented incense, I would have preferred nag champa but whatev's.


Our local vacant lot was host to some sort of district wide volleyball tournament. This went on for about a week and required micromanaging by no less than four men with LOUD bullhorns. No women's teams played. What's up with that?


The cha-cha convention started up at the local secondary school bus stop again. Some of the old uncles observed the volleyball tournament and some chose to watch the new momo stand being built behind the bus stop. The cha-chas will not take their coats and scarves off until it is at least 32C/90F. The topis (traditional pastel colored ikat Nepali caps) never come off out of doors.


Love was definitely in the air as this reptilian Romeo wooed a lady lizard on the garden wall. Romeo didn't seem to be having much luck as his potential paramour fell off the wall trying to evade his advances. True romance, eh? HIM the Baacha Khan (our tomcat) caught the unfortunate damsel when she fell.


I immediately rescued Ms Lizard from HIM the Baacha Khan. I am holding her by the tail because she will bite. It can be quite a nasty bite too. One of the neighbor kids developed a golf ball sized abscess full of vicious anaerobes after being bitten by one of these things. They are about a foot long with that whip-like tail. The orangey-red coloring on her head is brightest during mating season. The males sport a similar coloring, are slightly larger, and have a spiny lion-like ruff on their necks. These things are like mini Monitor lizards. Ms Lizard was safely released in the corn field. HIM the Baacha Khan was miffed.


Here's the neighborhood police kiosk with our local boys in blue. Nepal will be having it's first nationwide elections in 20 years next month. There are all sorts of rallies, speeches, and marches going on around town in preparation for the election. Everybody I've talked to seems really excited about implementing the new constitution of this fledgling democracy. Unfortunately some Madhesi groups along the southern border of Nepal are already refusing to participate and making threats. For this reason security is on high alert! Well, at least they're awake. (That isn't always the case.)


In other news, Kashmir is on the boil again. The photo you see above is a young Kashmiri man tied to the front of a military jeep by the Indian army as a "human shield" against protesters throwing stones. It is from a video that was allegedly taken on April 9th, the same day as an election for a Srinagar parliament seat. The vehicle the Kashmiri is tied to supposedly contains poll officials who faced a mob of angry stone-throwers. The army states the man was a protestor, the young man says he was simply returning home after voting. Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, the Indian government's chief legal advisor stated:

"The recent report about a stone pelter tied to an Army vehicle, it helped contain stone pelters and saved the poll officials. Why so much noise? Everyday people are dying. It's a surcharged atmosphere. The Army is dealing with terrorists not with protestors, so they will have to be dealt with...everyone should look at the Army with pride, they are doing a great job."

That about sums up the situation in Kashmir. Both mobile internet and fixed line broadband connectivity have been suspended in Kashmir but authorities refused to confirm the block on record. Am I afraid for my Kashmiri family? Yes.


I love this baby's expression. Baby is like "Yikes!" or "WTH!?! Seems a truly fitting meme for the 21st century. Mom is carrying her baby and hair clip with a shawl tied around her shoulders in typical Nepali fashion while shopping.


Lastly, here's the grand and glorious Mt Machapuchare aglow in the Sunday sunset. The sky was absolutely black and it poured and thunderboomered all day and then !!POOF!! at 5pm sharp the clouds parted. Out peeped the gorgeous Annapurna mountain range for a spectacular grand finale. I took this photo from the northeastern corner of our backyard. You can see our scraggly banana patch in the lower left. Mt Machapuchare is also nicknamed the "Matterhorn of Nepal" based on this view. The mountain's name means fishtail. (Macha means fish and puchare means tail or butt if you were wondering.) As you go around the peak you can see the double summit at the top which does indeed resemble a forked fish's tail. It stands at 6,993 m (22,943 ft) and is about 25 km/16 miles north of our house. The mountain is revered by the local population as sacred to the god Shiva, and hence is off limits to climbing.

So, that's all that's going on around here this Summer, what's going on 'round your neck of the woods?

Are the fish jumpin' and the cotton high?

Is your mama rich and your daddy good lookin'?

Oh hush little baby, don't you cry,

Bibi ;)

Apr 5, 2017

Nepali Style Okra (Bhindi Tareko)

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Tantalize your tastebuds with this simple spicy okra dish from Nepal! Sliced okra is first flash-fried to banish any trace of slime. The pods are rendered crisp, delightfully chewy, and infused with the warmth of cumin, coriander, and chilis. Try this quick and easy vegan recipe to get a healthy serving of vegetables with any meal. 

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Nepalis do a lot of simple stir-frys like this. Be it potatoes, lab lab beans, or even chayote. If you see tareko on the menu at any casual eatery in Nepal you can be sure it will be a lightly spiced, fresh, and tasty vegetable side prepared this way. My maid showed me how to make this bhindi tareko or fried okra recipe that she makes quite often at home. It's the easiest, fastest, and most delicious okra dish that even my mutton-crazed Kashmiri family loves. Since this dish has a crisp and chewy texture it's a great way to use those okra pods that are a little past the petite and tender stage and are a bit large and fibrous. We enjoy this as a side dish with rice or rotis. If you're doing the low-carb thing I could see this as a delicious accompaniment to a garam masala spiced grilled chicken breast.

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To minimize the dreaded slime that can accompany okra dishes it is advised that the pods be completely dry before slicing. I do this by rinsing them vigorously in a colander and then setting them out in full sun in the backyard to dry outside for at least two hours. It seems to help if the okra gets a little wilty before cutting too. Frying the sliced okra in salted and smoking hot oil really gets rid of any residual stickiness. After about ten minutes of frying any and all slime is absolutely gone. Do not cover the okra while cooking as steam seems to perpetuate sliminess also. Using a shallow, wide pan like a skillet so that the okra can be spread in a single layer help to achieve the crispy edges and aid in slime reduction too. Utilizing a pan with a non-stick finish will allow you to use considerably less oil if desired also. That's all the okra cooking tips I've learned over the years so now it's off to the recipe!

Ingredients:
1/2kg/1lb okra, tops and tails removed and sliced into scant half inch rounds
3 TBS cooking oil (or just enough to cover the bottom of your cooking vessel)
2-3 dry red chilis/lal mirch broken in half (omit for less heat)
1 tsp cumin/jeera seeds
2 tsp garlic/lahsun paste
2 tsp ginger/adrakh paste
2 tsp ground cumin/jeera
2 tsp ground coriander/dhania
1/2 tsp turmeric/haldi

Here's what to do-
1) Heat oil in skillet or kadhai with one teaspoon salt for about 5 minutes over medium heat. Add cumin seeds and broken red chilis and fry for half a minute.

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2) Add chopped okra and stir well to coat all pieces with oil. Allow to fry for 5 minutes uncovered.

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3) Add 1 teaspoon salt, garlic paste, ginger paste, ground cumin, ground coriander, and turmeric to frying okra and stir well.

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4) Fry for 5-7 minutes more or until the okra becomes crisp. (Don't worry if the okra seems a bit slimy, after about 10 minutes of frying the slime completely disappears.) Salt to taste and serve as an accompaniment to rice or rotis.
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Helpful Hints:
You might wish to retrieve the dried red chilis from the dish right before serving. This will minimize the risk of anyone biting into a random fiery hot bit of chili while enjoying their okra. Nepalis and Kashmiris would not remove the chili bits before serving but might toss them aside on their plate when served.

Apr 3, 2017

Well, it just goes to show you, it's always something - if it ain't one thing, it's another.

 "I know what you're talkin' about, because, I, Roseanne Roseannadanna, once had the same thing happen to me."
You said it Roseanne Roseannadanna!  Whether there's a toenail in your hamburger, toilet paper clinging to your shoe, a little sweat ball hanging on the end of your nose, no electricity, no internet service, or your computer is displaying the BLUE SCREEN OF DEATH. It's always something. (For those of you unfamiliar with Ms Roseannadanna, she was a rather tactless character played by comedienne Gilda Radner from 1977 to 1980 on an American television show called Saturday Night Live.)


We've been having a lot of weather like this for the past week and a half. It was actually this dark at 3 in the afternoon! It started out a steamy 30C/87F but now we're down to 16C/61F. These pre-monsoon squalls are called Kalbalshakhi or mango showers. Sometimes they are derechos or straight-line wind storms associated with a land-based, fast-moving group of severe thunderstorms. This was definitely a derecho with a fast succession of severe thunderstorms, capricious gale force winds, torrential rains, and walnut-sized hail. This weather pattern is caused when the broiling heat of the Indian plains rises to meet the cold air of the Himalayas. That's a lot of wild weather for this California girl. Anywho, usually during thunderstorms I unplug the computer. The storms were nonstop this week so I went ahead and left the computer on. BOOM! Lightning struck. Everything went dark for 30 minutes. Even the invertor that supplies us with backup electricity was out. When I started the computer up again I got this:


Yup, the BLUE SCREEN OF DEATH. Now the pic above is the PC BSOD, I have an iMac so all I got was a blue screen and an unresponsive cursor. It wasn't even restartable either Drat. The iMac had to be hauled away to the Apple hospital in Kathmandu. This was not the first time something like this had happened. About 2 years ago the same thing happened and my hard drive was destroyed. It took a month to get that hard drive replaced.


So, off went the iMac via courier to Kathmandu. Hopefully. These Himalayan storms can quickly turn to flash floods as you see in the above photo. What was a tiny trickle of a creek a few hours ago might become a raging river in minutes out here. I actually called the Apple repair shop to make sure my iMac got there safe and dry.


I tried blogging on my smartphone. Forget it. Too hard. I played with the photo apps instead. "Bibi Goes Warhol" is what I've titled the above masterpiece.


We went shopping downtown and saw a $100USD frozen turkey from Utah. That's a 12lb/5.4kg bird which works out to a little over $8 a pound. How it got from Utah to Nepal just boggles my mind.


Here's a photo of the snapdragons along the driveway BEFORE the storms blew them to bits. They were absolutely stunning at almost a meter tall. That was actually the second set of blooms after I rigorously deadheaded their initial spires. Now they are in shreds from the high winds and hail. Those magenta petunias are goners too, all the petunias are khattam as they say here in Nepal. Wah.


As I sit here on Sunday evening typing this post the next storm in the derecho is beginning to hit with walnut-sized hail again. Above is a weather map of the heatwave in India that has been fueling this storm system since early March. For Americans 40C is 104F and 44C is 111F, it is HOT. if the Accuweather extended forecast for our area is to be believed we are going to be hit with temps in the 90F's/32C's by next Sunday. Mercy.

NEVER MIND!
Yesterday morning my iMac came home from the hospital all fine and dandy. Apparently it suffered a trivial bit of amnesia from the ECT induced by the lightning. A rep from the internet service came by and rebooted my WiFi 'device.' We've had electricity for 8 hours straight. YIPPEE! I'm ready to start blogging again. Sheesh, it's been like 2 weeks since I've put up a recipe. Come hell or high water I'm getting a recipe up this week! Oh wait, we've already had high water and a hellish heatwave is on it's way. Anywho, whether it's banning muslin, endangered feces, presidential erections, conserving natural racehorses, or making Puerto Rico a steak, as Ms Emily Litella would say, "Never mind."
I miss Gilda Radner. 
Which of her characters was your favorite?
Any wacky weather out your way?

Mar 20, 2017

Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet, nor hail....

"Rage" - Banksy
Nor nationwide strikes, nor intermittent internet service lapses, and nor electricity outages shall stay Bibi from blogging! Well, maybe power outages and no internet connection might but I'm still trying! At least once a week anyway. Yup, we had a huge storm the week of March 5th, then a nationwide strike for two days, and then two days of Holi holidays. The storm brought high winds, heavy rains, lightning, and a cold snap which left over a meter of snow at higher elevations. All that wild weather caused power outages for three days. Then our internet tower went kaput so no internet connection for over a week. No one could go up and fix the tower due to the nationwide strike or banda being enforced by one of the myriad political parties here in Nepal. Of course the strike was called off for the Holi holiday which lasted another two days. Even now we're having intermittent power shortages and gaps in the internet connection so bear with me! 


Curious as to what a nationwide strike is like here in Nepal? Well, a strike is called a banda and they occur quite frequently. Culturally, a banda is the preferred form of protest by Nepal's myriad political parties. A banda can be determinate, indeterminate, partial, regional, or all sorts of things. Usually all shops are closed, schools are shut, and vehicle traffic is prohibited. The banda is enforced by whichever political party declared it. Those who defy the strike are threatened with arson, vandalism (usually smashed windows or windshields), or other harm. Goons are sent door-to-door to threaten shops to close so that the banda can be declared both successful and peaceful. Party enforcers roam the streets with clubs or lathis looking for any motorcyclists or vehicles that dare not to conform to the strikes. Everyone keeps updated on the banda by watching local television stations or checking the banda page on Facebook.


"Torching" is a common enforcement tactic utilized by political parties in Nepal too. Vehicles, shops, or police officers defying the strike are set afire by tossing a bottle of flammable liquid and a lit match upon them. The above photo is of one of three trucks that were torched by cadres of the United Democratic Madhesi Front for defying a banda in September 2015. When asked why the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) resorts to torching the official spokesperson of the party exclaimed-

"The media never gives attention to us when we carry out peaceful protests. We held a motorcycle rally in Kathmandu yesterday, the media did not cover it. But when our cadre torched a taxi today morning, it was reported by every single media outlet."
-Santosh Budha, spokesperson for CPN (M)

Why this sort of strike enforcement isn't called terrorism is beyond me. If any Muslim or Islamist group did this it would be broadcast worldwide as acts of terror.


After two days of the entire country coming to a complete standstill only a tiny column was written about it on the second page of the national newspaper. Two days of empty roads, closed shops, shut schools, and reports of vehicles being torched and properties vandalized condensed into 3 brief paragraphs. That's how habituated and normalized strikes are here in Nepal. Can you imagine if this happened in a Western country? 


What triggered this banda? There was an altercation over the building of a culvert in the remote western border district of Kanchanpur on March 9th. The Nepalese side was building the culvert in an area that is claimed by the Indian side. About a dozen Nepali citizens and two Nepali police personnel were fired upon by officers of the Indian border security forces (Seema Sashastra Bal or SSB). Three shooting victims succumbed immediately to their injuries and two died later in hospital. Just how many bullets were fired in total and exactly by whom still seems to be a bit of a mystery. After reports of SSB firing on March 9th the Embassy of India refuted the claims, saying “there was no incident of firing by SSB in Kanchanpur.” A day later, the Nepali goverment delivered a diplomatic note to India condemning the killings, demanding investigation, and urging the Indian side to refrain from “such inimical activities." New Delhi replied stating the SSB had started an enquiry on the matter and sought reports to facilitate the process. This usually means we'll never truly know what actually happened. 

Prince Harry gets Holi-ed at the local airport, March, 2016
And then came Holi! The problem with a banda is that after a few days the law of diminishing returns takes precedence. Frustration, necessity, and boredom build to a point where it begins to overcome the fear factor and people start venturing out regardless of threats. Or a popular festival occurs. Nepalis aren't about to miss a festival! Especially one as fun as the Hindu festival of Holi. Whether demands have been met or not the banda organizers usually end up finding some creatively face-saving way to call the banda off. And so it was! The free-for-all festival of Spring then commenced with revelers being smeared and drenched with water and many-colored powders. In the above photo you can see Prince Harry getting politely Holi-ed at our local airport on his visit to Nepal last year.


Our Ms Dawg unwisely ventured from the compound gates on Holi morning. Yes, dogs get Holi-ed too! Foreigners and animals are not spared the festivities. A few years back I was smeared with some red powder on Holi that triggered an allergic reaction on my skin that lasted a month. That's why I don't go out on Holi anymore. And so after the dismal silence of the banda the air was filled with loud music, boisterous squeals, and the happy cheers of the Holi-gans. At any rate, Bibi's internet connection wasn't going to be fixed anytime soon. 


Spring weather in the Himalayas is certainly capricious. That storm last week brought a cold snap as well as copious precipitation. Gone was our balmy, tropical weather and in blew grumpy gray skies and icy blasts from the mountains. Elevations above 3,000m/9,000ft got over a meter of snow. Tourists and middle class Nepalis had fun riding buses up to play in the newly fallen snow. All the wind, snow, lightning, and rain knocked out our electricity, internet, and satellite television signals for three days.


At least my garden fared well over our recent debacles. Fortunately we haven't had the hailstorms that usually shred my flowers. Above is a double petunia. Rather than the typical trumpet shape of regular petunias it is a pom pom of frills and flounces. At first glance it looks almost like a wadded up and soiled facial tissue to me. The flowers are a bit prone to rot as water tends to puddle in it's many crevices. It also reminds me of those spectacular parrot tulips with their fimbriated petals and ombre coloring. Not sure if I'd plant it again though. I'll bring you up to date on the other flowers in all their Spring glory in my next Life & Love post.

That's all the news that's fit to spit around here. So far. 
I better not speak too soon, eh?
I've heard y'all have had some wild weather in the US and Europe too?
I'm still having internet issues over here so my posts might be sporadic until we get these tech problems figured out. 

Feb 22, 2017

Come, Gentle Spring! Ethereal Mildness! Come.

Yes, indeed Spring has sprung in in our little Himalayan valley. 
We had our 2 nights of light frost in January and then BOOM! It's been 75F/24C everyday since. Here's some pics of ethereal mildness for those of you suffering wintry doldrums in colder climes.


Wook at the witty bitty babies! Awwww! Flown freshly in from Singapore these youngsters are for sale at our local feed and seed shop. No fancy breeds here just whatever mixed lot Singapore sends in the box. In eight months you can have a chicken dinner or an omelet!


These old-fashioned petunias were the first to start blooming in my garden. I bought these as seedlings at our local nursery. The expensive seeds I planted last September rotted in the prolonged Monsoon rains. I'm not sure what color you'd call this nor what variety they are. Most of the flower seeds I see for sale here in Nepal are from China or Thailand and not very good quality.


Spikes of snapdragons in shades of sulfur yellow, snowy white, and hot pink are blooming along the driveway. Snapdragons have always been a favorite flower of mine. The Nepalis say they look like tigers not dragons. In India I've heard them called snake flowers and dog flowers too.


These are a dwarf variety of snapdragon. If you prefer your snapdragons in the form of an eight inch high indeterminate bush rather than elegant spires here it is! In the early 90's in western countries a trend for miniature flowering annuals began. I suppose it was part of the downsizing trend after the mega-sized 80's? Personally I don't think the dwarfed bush varieties show off the snaps well.  But if you do decide to plant these dwarfs be assured you'll have them forever as they freely reseed. Rigorously deadhead these dwarf snaps and they'll keep re-blooming for about 3 months too.


As the weather warms tropical nasties like this leech abound also. Be sure to check your shoes for these freeloaders after gardening. If walking through a forested area these things will also drop from trees on you too. Don't let this leech's miniscule size fool you. This one inch leech can stretch to about 3 inches long and about the girth of your thumb when sated. Luckily it doesn't hurt when these bloodsuckers attach. It is gross though.


These are a famed local variety of beans from our region called Simi. They are a winter crop in our region's temperate valleys and a summer crop in higher altitude areas.


When fresh like this Simi beans cook tender in minutes. The green pods are eaten in a stir-fry dish too. When dried they turn a lightly freckled rose color and require presoaking and about 20 minutes of pressure cooking to achieve tenderness. They taste a lot like pinto beans when cooked and are a favorite local protein staple. 



Just to show you what the different seasons are like the above photo is our road during Monsoon in August and the photo below was taken yesterday (late February). As you can see in the above photo the Monsoon season is lush, green, and muddy. Really, really muddy. Have a look at the blue roof in the upper center of the Monsoon photo and compare it with the dusty Winter version below.


Yep, it's dusty, dry, and parched here in the Winter. That fine silty dust covers just about everything on the Subcontinent from the Himalayas to the Indian ocean. Greenery for animal fodder gets scarce this time of year too. There is snow up in the mountains though that will be melting soon. Hail and thunderstorms will start in March and continue through April possibly destroying the garden. 

I heard it's flooding and the snowpack is 175% in my native California, wowee! Californians better start building an ark.
How's it going in your neck of the woods?

Feb 12, 2017

OOO Baby, Baby, It's a Wild World...

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?

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