We were in Kathmandu for five months last year, so Katie and I are fortunate to be in the same apartment building for five weeks this year. We know where the markets are and where we like to eat. Not only that, but we know the staff, and enjoy conversations in scraps of English and Nepali. Undoubtedly, this is much easier than starting from scratch.
We are just one block from Durbar Marg, the King’s Road. Typically, we start the day walking around the Narayanhiti Palace grounds. The Royal family was massacred there in 2001, and the monarch ended shortly afterward. We toured the museum on an earlier visit, but practically every day we walk around the grounds, essentially a large city block. It’s a little over 7000 steps, just over two miles by the time we get back to our building.
Along the way, where we might get coffee (me) or hot honey lemon tea (Katie). We try to get out early, before the traffic gets bad and the shops open, but we may walk later because of an online meeting (It’s early evening in the USA). We take side trips into Thamel, the tourist district with more food options, or Naxel, a vegetable market with an organic vendor. And a bakery. See roti, a pastry made of rice flour, is hard to resist.
We both write or study in the morning, and nap in the afternoon (jet lag is a thing). I also read four English newspapers, each of them only 8 or 10 pages, The big story is recent local elections, connected in some way to the next national legislature. It appears the current ruling coalition and prime minister will continue in power, a fragile democracy choosing stability over drama. But there are outliers, like the unaffiliated rapper who will apparently be Kathmandu’s new mayor. Work is off to a slow start, and I appreciate our hosts wanting to let us rest from the 20-something-hour trip. However, I’m anxious to get started, acutely aware of how time is flying by. Four weeks is not very long.
We have lunch in the apartment and may go out for dinner in the evening. Or we may do it the other way around. Food is relatively inexpensive, and we can both eat for about seven US dollars. But we have to keep an eye on the weather. The pre-monsoons rains have come which means rain most evenings. Occasionally, it comes early or late, depending on your perspective, and rains out our morning walk.
The days are cooler when it rains in the morning, but generally the temperatures are in the upper 80s and humid. Unlike Katie, I don’t have to worry about how it affects my hair, since I don’t have much. We sit on the balcony when it is not too hot, and we watched a thunderstorm one evening.
On weekends, we attend a church in nearby Bhakatpur, about 30 minutes by taxi. We use Pathau, an Uber-like service, to arrange our ride. I say weekends like we have had more than one—but it’s a routine we carried over from our longer visit last year.
In fact, our whole routine is carried over, almost as though we had not left. Almost as though we were home. That’s what I said to Katie when we arrived last week: “we’re home.” Home is not, in my view, the place you live or the place you were born. Home is the place where you are surrounded by things and people you love. Home is a place with comfortable routines. We are fortunate to have several places like that, all of them mere shadows of a truer Home.
Our days are filled with comfortable routines and cross-cultural challenges. I do remember more Nepali than I thought I would. And I love being here as much as I knew I would.
Because any place can be home.
2 thoughts on “a day in the life”
technically monsoon is not here in Nepal, it will start from June, but these irregular rainfall in the afternoon and thunderstorm in the night is becoming interesting weather condition in Kathmandu. Thankfully, the sky is clear in the morning and view looks good.
Thanks, Aalu. I’m still learning and appreciate the help