*Day 46: Quest of the Goat Meat

Trip Start May 20, 2008
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Trip End Aug 19, 2008


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Flag of Nepal  ,
Sunday, July 6, 2008

Sunday began as one of the trip's most hectic days. Though I filed the Interpol report on Thursday, I was told to come back at 11am Sunday to pick my copy of it up. My head was throbbing a bit from some sinus irritation (which has since morphed into a bout of the common cold), making the quest a bit miserable. After arriving at Interpol, I was told told to come back in 10min. Okeeday. I grabbed one of those divine Nepali Slices, chilled for a bit, then returned to the office. The worker beckoned me to sit and wait, and so I did. And did. And did some more. After 15 maybe 20 minutes, the lady turned to me and said "Yes, we cannot do anything, you must go to the tourist police. (30min walk way)" Resisting a "Thanks for the advance notice, d'oh" snap, I politely pleaded that all I needed was the damned sheet of paper saying I reported the incident to a police authority. Y'know, like the sheet I personally filled out just the other day was that I see sitting there on you're desk!? Argh. She just repeated her previous instruction.

I begrudgingly left and set off for the tourism bureau building where the tourist police HQ were located. During this walk, I made an Instant Best Friend (tm) who against my will proceeded to rant and rant about the plight of the Tibetan people, probably wanting a donation of some sort. I was snappy with him and I think hurt his feelings, but I wasn't in the mood for such antics. One of the things I've learned here is that there is no such thing as a magically friendly local looking for innocent cultural exchange, at least not in any of the tourist landmarks. Now Pepsikola, that's a different story, but not in Durbar Square.

I made it to the tourist police HQ eventually, were I in short order got exactly what I needed. My own stamped by the inspector copy of the police report. The inspector was a genuinely friendly guy after a gruff "I mean business" first impression. Also present was an Australian radio host who like me lost her camera to one of those pesky minibus pickpockets. We all chit and chatted for a bit, and then it was time for me to go. I hopped on a bus to Baneshwor, transferred to a Pepsikola bus and rode for about five minutes before traffic HALTED (and something nasty happened to a bus a few cars down.) It was bandha-oclock. Did I mention I was pressed for time? I was pressed for time. I was supposed to pick up 4kg of goat meat for the orphans (courtesy of HT) and deliver the meat by 3pm for a monthly meat eating party. It was now 2:45, and with the buses shut down I was still an hour's walk from Pepsikola, let alone Duakot and OCRC. Duakot is the name of OCRC's village, fyi. The intense car fumes along the main road weren't helping either, oncoming cold considered.

Miserable, sweaty and exhausted, I stumbled into Pepsikola ready for bed, not an even longer trek to the orphanage. Part of me figured they were probably cooking rice anyway, and it wouldn't matter if they had their meat party today or the next day. The other part though feared they hadn't prepared rice (which takes a while to make with their methods and quantities) and the kids were relying on the meat for dinner. I figured if I could get their phone number and call, I could get the party postponed. No one around knew the number, if they even had one. I sucked it up, got the meat (local butcher shop btw = I'm officially vegetarian until I leave Nepal), and hired a taxi. The taxi got halfway there before being stopped by road construction. The only direct road between Pepsikola and Duakot was totally closed for a long needed paving. Perfect timing. I asked the driver if he knew another way around and into rice patty dirt trails we drove, in a car most definitely not built for off-roading. We reached a fork in said mud path and the driver stopped, saying he could go no further without risking getting stuck. But not to worry, Duakot was just a 15-20min walk around that hill... or so he said. I figured I'd come this far and couldn't let the meat go to waste, might as well press on. I handed the driver his fare and began the trek.

After fifteen minutes of walking, I asked a local how far and in what direction was Duakot, "10min, straight" was the reply. I continued on through some truly out-there boon-dock farmland that had probably not seen a white man in years. After ten minutes, I stopped another local, asking again for directions. "10min, that way." I walked another ten minutes, again with the same result. The sun was started to set, flies starting to take an interest in the unsealed raw meat I was carrying in a simple plastic grocery bag, and my adrenaline was starting to kick in. By now it was clear that the taxi guy didn't quite know where he was going and likely just dropped me off in some random part of the countryside, frak knows where, and probably lied about the true distance to be sure I paid my fare. There was a good chance that for the first time, I was completely, dangerously lost. I was far from any help and unlike in the city, there was no regular stream of taxis to hail and help me find my way (read: drive me there.) I had to reach the orphanage by nightfall, because walking alone after dark anywhere in the valley is a life threatening idea. Not because of criminals, mind you, but rather a much nuttier enemy: DOGS.

Sunset was well under way. I stopped every local at 5min intervals, double checking my directions, and 10-15min was always the answer. Little did I know how directions worked in these parts... You see, what you have to do is add up everyone's incorrect answers, and you'll come up with the correct one. After a whopping 1.5h mostly straight hike, I finally reached the orphanage. My troubles were worthwhile. Sure enough, the kids' dinner had been delayed because they were awaiting the meat shipment. HT, who was already there and knew of the bandha, warned the Didi "ya know, Charlie might not be able to make it..." to which she apparently responded "No. He will come." whilst smirking. It was a fulfilling moment. Since it was already dark and the road through Thimi was closed, HT and I spent the night.
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