Wednesday, April 13, 2011

April 7 Bangkok to Kathmandu

One night in Bangkok we went to a very busy farang area near Khaosan Road – a guidebook recommendation. Bars, massage parlours, souvenirs, restaurants chock-a-block. We had huge grilled prawns.

As we were walking down the street on our way to find a tuk-tuk to take us home we heard a blues guitar riff. A bar with small tables on the sidewalk, a man on guitar and a woman singing. Janis, Stevie Rae, Honky Tonk Woman, Born Under a Bad Sign and more. Every now and then the woman’s Thai accent came through …”…drinking from Flyday night to Sunday morning”. She wore black jeans, high tops, a big t-shirt, very un-Thai-like.

The man was unidentifiable – he could have been Afro-American, Latino, Samoan or all three or something else entirely. Long, fuzzy, ugly hair, huge head, big nose, scarred face and a smoking fag hanging from his bottom lip, smoke curling into his eyes.

We sipped Jameson’s and loved every note. Then a wild tuk-tuk ride home. The driver was probably on yaa baa (Thai crystal meth). We learned a lot about Thai ‘culture’ from John Burdett!


On Sat a.m. I walked up the road to Aru Bari. Pleasant surprise - the road from Boudha is paved with flagstones - very nice. There's only one samll piece of unpaved road.

I met Sabina and Sujan on the toad (FORGIVE THE ERRORS - MOST OF THE LETTERS HAVE RUBBED OFF THE KEYS) oops! Sujan is 11 yo now, seems tiny to me and is missing some front teeth but he still has a radiant smile that melts my cold cold heart.

Child Haven was almost empty. The didis were off on a one-day visit to a shrine and many of the children have gome to their families - school break.

I saw a few of the children - the 'bad boys' - 15-16 yo's and some of the others Kabita with the dimples. I reminded her of when she palyed 'sanu hati' in the "Just Like I Am' play. Her face lit up! Kalpana, still guarded and fearful. Ramita, Anju, Sunita, Bimala, Ritika.

Benita walked me to Krishna's (it seems everyone has moved to berrer digs). When they opened the door it was as if Lord Krishna himself was appearing to them. A very very warm welcome.
Krishna is a star - first in his class for the last two years and winner of a national poetry competition. I'm relieved to be able to tell Doug that he is 'backing a winner'. I try to focus on Kabita - she's fourth in her class!

Arjun and I met Sajan and his mother to encourage him to' pull up his socks'. He's leaning toward the bad side. I'm in a dilemma about supporting him.

One day walking back to Boudha I saw a dog - one of many. This poor fellow was inching his way across the pavement on his belly (broken back?). His hind legs were dragging straight out behind him. He was well-nourished and didn't seem to be in pain. He was stoic, persevering. My heart was breaking. Of course being where I am (stupas and monks as far as the eye can see) I couldn't help but think of karma. I'll never forget the image of him crawling across the road.

Many of the same beggars are still here - the chubby legless man in the w/c, the contracted wry neck man who moves in a squat, the blind leper wrapped in rags.

Marsang and I went to VFS together. The visa process seems straightforward. The woman at VFS was very helpful and encouraging.

Kathmandu is without electricity about 12-16 hours per day. Imagine Vancouver in the same state. There is always the steady rumble of generators in the background. Energy is energy. Generators take fuel too. I wonder if the minister of energy has a sideline in selling generators! He was attacked the other day with a kukuri (big blade) - injuries to head and hand. No wonder. I'm sure people trying to go about their day-to-day lives would like to be able to rely on electricity. I'm certainly put out - I tried to order an espresso the other day but there was no electricity for the machine!

I've bought a lot of stuff to sell at home. I hope everyone is in a mood to buy!

I'm staying at a Tibetan hotel in a Tibetan neighbourhood. Sitting on the bed with the door open, prayer flags fluttering from every rooftop. All those prayers going to the gods and still too many Nepalis are impoverished and the Tibetans are homeless.

Ian is coming to Nepal tomorrow - the blog will improve with his photos!!

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