Oye, you over there, snap that wire!

Sometimes (read: always) the sequence of events in Nepal is downright bizarre. There is this festival in Patan (a part of Kathmandu) called Rato Machhendranath Rath Jatra. It’s a mouthful, I know. During this festival an enormous (like 20 meter tall – not long – tall) chariot is built from wood and a bunch of other materials I couldn’t recognize from a distance, set on wheels and then wheeled through the narrow streets of Patan. Pulled by people, of course. It’s terrifying. I mean, this thing is 20 meters tall, it’s swaying left and right, and the whole set up doesn’t really seem safe. Not to mention, there are people hanging off from the top of it. Usually, it doesn’t cause much havoc out on the main roads, other than attracting attention from passers-by. However, and it turns out this year is the lucky year, every 12 years this bad boy is wheeled by a longer route for several days. The longer route includes main, more traffic-prone roads. And as the luck would have it, those are the roads I travel each day.

So there you have it. Doesn't look safe, now does it?

So there you have it. Doesn’t look safe, now does it?

Day 1: a warning comes through saying that the chariot will pass that way and the roads will be blocked for the rest of the day. I rush out to get out of the way and beat the traffic home only to be surprised by the sight of men on ladders all along the street. They were taking down electricity wires. It makes sense: a 20m monstrosity is about to be wheeled through. If you’ve ever seen photos of Nepal, you know that there is definitely no lack of wires in the streets, so this was a huge task. So much so, that they didn’t even get to a lot of the wires in time so when the chariot came through, people walking ahead of it would simply snap the wires in half, or the chariot would run through and take the wires down. Traffic was already heavy, but I made it out on time. Later, from the comforts of home, I admired the photos of the chariot posted on Facebook by my friends who live in that area. I felt a tiny bit bummed out I missed it. Quickly forgot about it though, and slept like a baby.

Day 2: got in the car and made my way to the aforementioned chariot-affected area. Never even though that the chariot would make my commute a very very long one. As I got closer to my destination, the traffic got heavier. I silently wondered why: has there been an accident? My question was answered pretty soon: a gigantic chariot was right in front of me, and there I was, in my car inching past it shocked that they even allow traffic to go by this leaning tower. Happy that it didn’t topple over right as I was by it, I continued driving. I have to admit though – it’s pretty fascinating and quite amazing, this chariot. Anyhow, even after passing the chariot, the traffic continued to be heavy. As I was sitting in a jam, annoyed by the guy behind me honking non-stop (what’s your point, buddy? no one’s going anywhere), I realize the reason for backed-up traffic were again the guys on ladders, now hooking the wires back together. And then, suddenly, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing! Wait, is that…what…that cannot be… oh my god, it’s an elephant! In the midst of the heaviest traffic I have ever seen in Kathmandu, there was a Zoo elephant on it’s morning walk just strolling down the road, chewing on leaves hanging from it’s back, not caring about a single thing, especially not about the honking motorcade behind it.

If that’s not bizarre, I don’t know what is.

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I am back! (didn’t even realize I was gone)

Whoa… wait… four months? I’ve been MIA from my blog for four months? That’s crazy, and seems completely impossible. Time flew by. Life has definitely changed after the earthquake, and days have somehow been going by faster, for whatever odd reason.

Mr. B and I are still around, still doing our thing. Kathmandu is still our home. A bit more scary one than before, but still a home nonetheless. Slowly, slowly, bit by bit, life went back to normal for us over the past few months. We again found our way back to our favorite hangout spots. We again started going shopping, resumed cooking, and living on the top floor of the house. Sleeping up there was a bit scary the first few nights, but it seems like that was a thousand years ago, and these days we sleep like babies (when neighbors are not singing, or when dogs are not barking, or when random guys are not revving their bike engines in the middle of the night…).

So what is Nepal like right now? Lots of places, mostly outside Kathmandu, are still in a very difficult situation, with people living in tents through a very heavy monsoon. Relief efforts are still undergoing, despite the lack of news about it in the media. Life has not been easy for earthquake-destroyed villages in Nepal. If you still haven’t done so, consider donating to relief efforts in Nepal. It will be much appreciated.

The focus of everyone in Nepal has now shifted to the most historic event in Nepal recently – a constitution promulgation. Nepal has been trying to come up with a constitution since the end of the civil war back in 2006, and after lots of back and forth, hundreds of days of strikes and protests, finally the happy day has come. I am watching the signing of the constitution on TV as I type this. It’s pretty fancy. With lots of colorful balloons, flags and horses. This is a really big deal – congratulations Nepal! Oh when I only think back to recent months of fist fights and flying chairs in the parliament – it seems now all of it was worth it. Not to say, it offered for some great entertainment to common folk. Hopefully things only get better for Nepal from now onwards. Apparently, now Nepal will be “an independent, indivisible, sovereign, secular, inclusive democratic, socialism-oriented federal democratic republican state.” A little bit for everyone right there.

For us, Mr.B and I, things won’t change much. All that changes for us are the seasons. We go from all night-long fan, to closed windows and thick comforter. Right now the weather is still hot during the day, but the winter is slowly creeping in. I can feel it in the crisp air in the evenings. Kind of nice, if you ask me. Pretty soon I’ll be sleeping in my socks again. I got low blood pressure; don’t ask.

Recently I had my own personal historic event in Nepal. I got food poisoning. It took me more than two years to experience one, so I suppose I can be proud of that. But this food poisoning thing, let me tell you, doesn’t play fair. It hits below the waist (no pun intended). I got it after eating one of my favorite things in Nepal – momos. Oh the irony! Hopefully, I’ll be able to forgive momos one day for letting me down, and we can be back to being best friends. However, I am pretty confident that’s not happening any time soon. Now, samosas move to number 1 spot on my Nepali snack list. Let’s see how long they stick around.