notes to self

a sabbatical rest, day 45

A bird mystery solved

I’ve finally figured out the difference between a dove and a pigeon. There is none. We have lots of birds around us here on the sixth floor—parrots, crows, cardinals, sparrows, and pigeons that sound like doves. It turns out they are doves. There is no essential difference; we tend to call them one or the other, based on context or preference. But it’s the same bird, although there are 300 varieties. So those were pigeons you released at your wedding.

Traffic problems overstated

Which one is fake?

An earlier post about traffic here in Kathmandu is mostly true, using the language of fact-checkers, but we’ve found more traffic lights and even crosswalks than I had indicated. Still, cars and scooters basically ignore them unless there is a traffic cop. There are even pedestrian bridges at very busy intersections if you want to walk far enough to find one. Also police mannequins at some intersections. Nobody is fooled.

On the other hand, Katie and I are getting better at crossing busy roads. We just wait for a Nepali and tag along.

Baring my sole

What’s wrong with this picture?

The building manager came to our apartment to check on a plumbing issue and took off his shoes at the door, which is common in homes and temples. But then he bent down and turned over one of my shoes, which was upside-down by the door. As in much of the East, the bottom of your shoe or foot is offensive, a problem for me since I often sit with my legs crossed. Have to watch that.

Conversion is complicated

Not the religious kind. That’s simple but rare. I’m talking about kilograms, kilometers, and other metric measures, including the temperature, in Celsius. It’s hard to tell someone how cold it is back home unless I look it up on my phone. It’s 23 degrees here right now, but much warmer than that sounds. In Michigan today it feels like 23, but here it feels like 74 Fahrenheit.

And an earlier post about how far it was to the market or grocery store was off quite a bit because I tried to do the conversion in my head. For the record, the tourist-friendly Thamel is not a mile and a half away. It’s less than a mile.

Currency is a little easier, since the bills are different sizes and colors. The number of the bill is in both Nepali and Roman script, but the 500 rupee note ($4.33 USD) and the 100 rupee note ($.86 USD)are similar enough (to me, not to a Nepali) I’m always checking to make sure I’m using the right one. This is a 1: १. This is a 5: ५. They look different, yes. But only if you look.

Road rally rage

Traffic is shut down frequently here, since political rallies and demonstrations are common. Also, motorcades, for both of which police and army are sometimes deployed. People are often annoyed but consigned to the traffic delays. So, our ride to Bhaktapur Saturday was an hour late. As one of my colleagues often says, “this is the situation in Nepal.”

printer paper puzzle

Another difference is the paper size. They use A-4, which is 8.3 × 11.7 inches, as opposed to the 8.5 × 11 inches we commonly use in North America. I doubt if it matters much in practice, except my new printer wouldn’t print on some stationery I brought until I adjusted the tray size. It feels weird, almost like I/m printing on legal size paper, although it is only .2 inch longer.

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