Saturday, June 7, 2008
I'm back from visiting four READ Nepal libraries in Bardabas, Juwuani, and two other places I cannot spell. More on the libraries later but just know that meeting the people in these little villages was a heart-opening experience.
In the past 4 days I have ridden on 8 different buses and endured the everyday Nepali people trying to get around their country. In contrast with the United States, people of all classes ride the bus everywhere. I have: rolled through VW Beetle sized potholes, stopped every 5 miles to drop off/pick up bags of vegetables; passed both Maoist and Army encampments; had an old woman sit in my lap; felt a teenager's head on my shoulder as she fell asleep; been stared at incessantly (the only paleface); plugged my ears against 2o minute long Nepali love songs; listened to a shouting match between the passenger and the doorman; learned the intricate signaling system enacted between doorman and driver (two pounds on the door when it's time to take off and a whistling song when it's safe to pass.), been faced with the "hootchie cootchie' pictures plastered on their visors of the bus drivers, and a few other things I will not mention at this time in honor of the weak of stomach and faint of heart.
I have also ridden on the back of a motorbike with my suitcase when we couldn't get a cab to take us to the next bus stop, and atop an Indian elephant. Yes, the crew did make it to Chitwan National Park where we saw the one-horned rhino and some sort or large deer.
Did I mention that the Kathmandu bus 'station' is but one large mud pit? A few tin shacks serve as the ticket windows. And yes, this is a VERY large Asian city with a mud pit bus station.
Just a note to say I am home safe and sound. Really, the trip was crazy and enlightening. More to come!
Hope everyone is well, I miss you all!