Day 22: Construction Work
Trip Start May 20, 2008
77Trip End Aug 19, 2008
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The rest of the day, until about fourish, was divided between construction work and orphanage time. Construction involved more of the same wall paintingness, plus some Nepali workers watching and snickering at us pampered Americans getting our hands dirty. Emily was annoyed by their presence, but I didn't really mind all that much. There is one classroom left to paint, after which it'll be time to bust out my little blueprint for the bamboo lunch shelter and get to work building that. My design will have the strength of a thousand Egyptian pyramids and for surely won't collapse five seconds after it's erected. At the orphanage, we taught some of the kids to play freeze tag, resulting in much fun and giggles. I'm thinking capture-the-flag for next week's big game. They're also getting a locally manufactured playground soon which Emily & I will be dispatched to assemble.
Once evening struck, it was time to show Emily & Lindsey the disorienting route into Thamel for a mass volunteer hangout in this one coffee shop we all usually go to. Lindsey definitely ain't enjoying the inner city; I'd turn my head to make sure she was still following us and see this wide eyed dumbfounded "what am I doing here..." look on her face. I can't say I disagree; the city is getting more aggravating for me with every trip I take into it. The nonstop honking, smog, tiger balm hawkers, near death experiences with maniacal scooter drivers, it's all just a bit too much. I was a bit disappointed when I first arrived to hear that central Kathmandu was a full hour away by bus, but after comparing its insanity to the quiet, addictive charm of Pepsikola-town, I'm grateful as can be. We arrived at Java Café on time for a rendezvous with the Brits, Melissa, and Christina, all of whom + Emily & Lindsey needing to organize their Chitwan safari. I'm opting out due to its cost and desire to work a bit more at the orphanage.
Having now done three of the little overnighters in Thamel, I'd grown bored of the Del Sol Bar hangouts and talked the Brits into doing a wee pub crawl. Our first of two stops was "The Rum & Doodle," an apparently world famous joint that gives lifetime free meals and drinks to anyone who successfully climbs Mt Everest. There was a whole shielded signature board on the wall labeled "Everest Summiteers Club", filled with the autographs of famous mountaineers who'd made it to the top. While the two ladies chatted with each other in incomprehensible Scottish pidgin, Andy & I talked half-joking politics and other random stuff over a pair of vodka martinis. Mine was shaken, not stirred. I think his was stirred. How dare he. It took maybe an hour for us to grow bored of this slightly disappointing and empty bar, prompting a migration to some reggae place whose name I forgot. It was probably something generic like "The Reggae Bar." Per it's title, there was a live house band present performing excellent reggae covers of many an excellent songs. Also present was a goofy English balloon-man who gave us all little balloons bent into this or that shape. He spends his time in Kathmandu darting from one orphanage or school to the next, amusing the kids with his balloon skills. We got his contact info and enlisted his services for OCRC.
By 12:30, it was time to return to the Hotel Potala. Thamel in the middle of the night is shady (devoid of people, poorly lit, etc), I was glad to be in a decently sized group of friends. As empty as the streets were, the annoying bicycle rickshaws refused to sleep. "Need lift?" "No." "You need lift, what hotel you stay at?" "We don't need lift." "Yes I think you do." "No." "Please, I give good price." "NO!" "How much you pay?" "NO!" Till this moment, I did not think it was possible for Andy to make an expression other than pure joy, smiles, or laughter. This peddler guy was really getting on his nerves. Andy's devious inner wolf summoned, he beckoned me over behind the rickshaw while the two girls diverted his attention. We pressed our hands up against the rickshaw seat, began jogging, and with a good burst of force sent the cursed thing rolling down the sloped-enough street and away from us. Works every time, according to Andy. We were not pestered again. So ended what was probably the most fun night out in town yet.
PS: Forgot to add, in Thamel we visited a grocery store that had the most beautiful shelf of products I have ever seen. An endless row of PEANUT BUTTER. At last, there is a God. I stockpiled a fourth of their actually not that big but beautiful nonetheless supply.
Hand Sanitizer Depleted = 70%
Time Elapsed Since Last Opp To Shower = 0 days :)
% of Wallet Depleted = Still don't wanna think about it
Mosquito Bites = 37
Calamine Lotion Depleted = 70%
Yetis Scalped = 5
Food Poisonings = Still 0
Digestive System = Buckling