Fall, glorious Fall!!!! Well, it's actually more like a second Spring here in Nepal. Blue skies, sunshine, mild temperatures, and no humidity. YAY! Above you see a photo of our daily view of the Annapurnas. These stunning mountain vistas are only on display October through March. All trails are open and mud free. That's why tourist season is Fall through Winter in Nepal.
In other news, the president of India came to visit our little town last Friday! A public holiday was declared and all roads were blocked for security. Pres. Pranab Mukherjee arrived by Buddha Air at 1 PM. He then proceeded through town by motorcade stopping at the 5 star hotel across the road from our house for a snooze. After that he motorcaded on over to address retired Nepali Gurkha soldiers at the Indian Army Pension Camp and observed cultural performances during the specially scheduled programme. Before night fell he returned to Kathmandu via plane again. (The lady in the beautiful saffron colored sari is the Nepali president, Bidhya Devi Bhandari.) I seriously doubt when the president of Nepal visits Delhi a public holiday is declared. Bibi abstained from all the hullabaloo locked within in her compound.
We received a CARE package from relatives in Kashmir. Seeds! I am sooo happy they sent me seeds for Winter veggies. I planted my veggie seeds in September and they rotted. The Monsoon rains usually stop at the end of August but continued through September this year. This has ruined just about everybody's vegetable starts, wheat, and potatoes. They sent seeds for haak (collards), kohlrabi, and radishes that look like turnips. I hope they are turnips and are simply mislabeled. Kashmir has the nicest seeds.
Chestnuts roasting on an open fire.......
Ok, so they're just roasting in a pan on my stove. Our relatives in Kashmir sent a big bag of chestnuts too! I'm having all sorts of fun figuring out how to roast these things properly. Being a California girl I've never roasted chestnuts. I've tasted them as pastry filling and in Nesselrode pie but that's about it. Whew! Chestnuts are a hassle to deal with.
Our neighbors have a mildew and wooly aphid infested tree that has been dropping these tennis ball sized fruits in our yard. They're hard as a rock but my maid insisted that they're edible so we hacked one open with a machete. It's a very bland and gravelly textured guava. Not like any guava I've tasted before. No sweet pulpy flesh just grit like an unripe pear and tiny seeds that are as hard as gravel. A brief foray on the internet and I found that these are a Thai variety of guava. So I asked one of my Thai friends, "How in the world do you use these things?" She said the Thai grate them onto fresh salads. I asked her if the fruits ever softened or sweetened up and she said no. I've noticed a lot of Thai and Chinese fruits have interesting textures but very little flavor. I don't think you'll be seeing these in Western markets any time soon.
And last but not least......the prettiest sight I've seen all week. Our beautiful neighbor girl buying apples. Isn't she gorgeous? All different sorts of apples are coming down from the higher elevations here. Those are from Shimla I believe. Potatoes are coming from way up high at Mustang while asparagus and oranges are just coming to market locally.
That's about it around here this week. India's banned 500 and 1,000 rupee notes which is causing absolute chaos and America's turned into a reality TV show. Unreal, huh?