September 25, 2012


Roughly two weeks into a trip of any kind in one given place tends to mean you start noticing the less obvious, and begin taking note of the more intricate. Finer details become more apparent as one's initial travel trepidation becomes less so. I have just a few things that I can recall and relay onto you now. Here goes:

One of my favourite "details" is so simple and ridiculously irrelevant that I must just share it. This wave of nonchalant curiosity that rises up when investigating the way the oil and cream separate in a butter chicken masala curry; making the oil slicks look like islands in a red sea is fascinating. I think it has hallucinogenic qualities (but maybe that's just the deliciousness of the meal itself).

The confusing, and equally as endearing, way the teacher simultaneously nods AND shakes her head in response to any question uttered in English. You have to be brave to ask things in this country - it can get to become a very mystifying experience. Perhaps humbling. 

The thin film of dust that collects on top of Western food products' packaging. Maybe they just haven't discovered the genius that is Nutella or the sense of satisfaction that French cream cheese provides. When I was thirteen I ate too much two-minute noodles. Sometimes - and I'm ashamed to say it - I ate them raw, straight out of the packet. This is a "delicacy" here. When I was offered a handful in class the other day I couldn't help but feel nostalgic. 

The frustrating and eery way in which a black dog followed me around for two days straight. I even, at one point, thought perhaps I should stop wearing perfume, thinking that possibly this was the cause for my new, unwanted admirer. Then I remembered I'm Miss. Jones. The perfume stays. 

The adorable way in which all 's' sounds are magically transformed to a more cushy and soft 'sh'. Hearing a chorus of "Mish Jesh! Mish Jesh!" is edible. I smile every time.

I made a little short film to sum up the past two weeks. Hope you enjoy it:


September 20, 2012


There is a poem somewhere by some one (as most poems usually are) that talks about how you tell more to strangers sometimes then your own friends. Human nature. And - above all - true.

I met Izzy (another Australia friend - one to add to my growing collection), and spent exactly one week together with her. It's crazy to think that in seven days you can form a friendship but perhaps I underestimate my ability to make friends (I'm shy so I often do this).

This poem - origins still unable to recall - also states something about how in a chaotic and sometimes darn right miserable world it's simple things that make the whole ordeal worthwhile. Sharing a hotel room in a foreign city with a virtual stranger, laughing and sharing anecdotes and stories, is one such example. One her last day in Nepal, Izzy got the word 'peace' tattooed on her hip in Nepalese. What a great way to remember someone by. 

Also; Izzy had a Polaroid camera - how could I not like her?!

September 14, 2012


Look what I got! Tie-dye, playas! Haven't worn this shit in twelve years!

September 12, 2012



These kids are nothing short of edible. Caramel skinned faces paired up with cheeky grins is a sure way to make me melt. The supervising teacher - classic Nepalese - packs a smile on her that is all kinds infectious. I'm nervous - what do I say to these kids? What do I do? I have no previous experience and I think my palms might be sweating. Once I enter the dimly lit day-care room and the arrival "namastes" are set aside, my fears, (along with my shoes) disappear.

The teacher puts a DVD on; a short film clip appears, displaying the importance of brushing one's teeth. I remember how ridiculous it is being a kid.

 Easily my favourite part of the day is nap-time. That docile calm after the storm that is lunchtime is a moment to treasure. These kids are little Asian monsters; putting EVERYTHING in their mouths, spitting and biting each other like it's no-one's business and reducing themselves to a pile of tears on the floor just for a little attention and a hug - but when it comes time to rest, all is forgiven, the simplicity of silence and sleep.

Tuesday, 11th September 
We take a "casual" walk up the mountain to a monastery, perched majestically upon a mound easily visible from the view from our house. Half way up - huffing and puffing uncontrollably - I realised even I had severely underestimated how unfit I really was. I didn't think it possible. But boy am I glad I stuck to it.

Six months ago the one and only reason I decided Nepal would be my next destination.

Nepal is every colour of the spectrum. Alive and vibrant. Ornate and opulent. A real treat for the senses. I try to remember the 'full monty', the involvement of all the five senses, but it's impossible. First hand experience is the only medium that won't lie. It's really something I have never experienced quite so pronounced before. 

September 9, 2012


I arrive in the busy, noisy and bustling mess of a city that is Kathmandu late on a Friday afternoon. I have never experienced a drive like the one from the airport to my central Kathmandu hotel. Motorbikes flick-flacking between beautifully dressed women and impatient taxi drivers. Now, three days in, I still am not sure which side of the road Nepali people drive on. You need a certificate to drive on these roads…or a death wish.
Toss out the Lonely Planets and dispose of the Rough Guides, you’re on your own here. 

After embarrassing bursts of excitement over seeing tubs and tubs of Nutella in a local supermarket, I become familiar with the ever popular trekking scene of Nepal as I meet my first pseudo-hippie/mountaineer loner friend; Chris from Canada. A tall and gawky guy, Chris shows me around the manic streets of Kathmandu’s tourist Mecca, Thamel. A few close encounters with nearly being mown down by motorcycles, we part ways at my hotel, sure to never see each other again. But this is not how Thamel works. A few hours pass and my volunteering counterparts and I are done with dinner and are now exploring Kathmandu at night. I catch sight of Chris in the streets and hail him over. Next thing, the four of us are hiking up a flight of stairs to the renowned English style pub/bar, Tom and Jerry’s.
Our hotel, being just one building away from another seedy drinking hangout, Buddha bar, means that I nod in and out of a sweat induced slumber to the sounds of Rihanna and other Western music offenders.

  Fast forward to this morning. My Norwegian volunteer friend, Ole, and I embark on a cramped hour long journey to our host family and placements. They laugh at my big, polka dot bag (that shares the same weight as a heffalump) and I cheekily reply: “well, I AM a lady am I not?”. That shuts them up.
It’s quieter here. More Nepalese in a way. Ole and I share the same opinions on how we thought Nepal would be. This is more like it. Greener, more peaceful, less dusty, slower and calmer.