I've gotten really good at taxis. After learning my way around and prices to get there, it's incredible how much foreigners are totally ripped off when they first arrive. Everything is at least double and in some cases triple. I try to walk whenever possible, as awful and dangerous as it can sometimes be. You would not believe what it's like to cross the street. I usually stand behind a Nepalese person and do exactly what they do, and hope they are good at it. It's kind of like following ski tracks... I guess I could end up somewhere I don't want to be (like the middle of the road with speeding insane traffic on both sides of me) but right now it's my best option.
There are rackets going on left and right to get your money. From the guy in the street with leprosy, to the one with no legs who hobbles on his hands and stubs, from street children to mothers waving bottles and asking for milk. They are all part of elaborate schemes much like pimps, with the money earned being turned over to some 'boss' who then in turns gives them food and 'safe' place to sleep. The street kids have places to stay but choose to sniff glue and live in puppy piles on the streets. Everything is desperately sad, and at the same time, that is life in Nepal. I've learned I just have to say no. There are better ways to help.
I started a routine a few days ago... that includes yoga every morning. Wow, does that feel good. We also have a playgroup on Tuesday at the British Embassy, and a "Parents In Nepal Dinner" every Friday. In between we meet or go alone to places that offer some sense of peace, like 'Garden of Dreams' (the only park in all of Kathmandu as far as I know) or a 5 Star Hotel, like Crowne Plaza, where expansive grounds offer a buffer between you and the rest of Kathmandu. We do what it takes to make it work. Some days I don't leave my house... with blinds drawn I can almost forget where I am. It sounds relaxing, but believe me it's not. There is always the underlying stress of not knowing when we can go home, and the massive amount of pollution that is ever pervasive. These are just the ways that I try to give myself and my kid someplace to go, and something to do, that isn't amidst utter and total chaos. And I never wake up feeling great. It's got to be the pollution.
Of course since I have found someone to help with my investigation, that pressure is off for the moment. Now I'm just waiting. I won't be posting about that. It's very private and sensitive information. I will share when I feel it's safe.
The kids are playing together right now in the apartment. Really cute. The electricity is off now, but our apartment complex has a large generator so we are lucky that we never go long without some power. We also rarely don't have hot water, which is truly amazing in Nepal. I have been told there are outages in the winter up to 18 hours. Imagine. Daily. Winter. Right now our power is out about 2-3 hours a day. Lately it has been twice a day. Gas shortages happen here as well, which causes drivers to spend the night in line at the gas station and of course taxi prices to rise. Water is always a concern. The sun goes down now about 5:30 so we are in the same boat as all of you in States with a lack of daylight. But the kids are so cute. Oh, did I already say that?
And it's sad to look in the mirror and notice that my yoga pants are baggy. Sigh. Food here sucks and or makes me sick.
That's it for a day in Kathmandu. Now for some sweet moments. . .