These are my two roommates, Jenny and Tienle, outside of our apartment in Lalitpur, Kathmandu. I did not expect my home in Nepal would have potted plants, big wooden doors or a patio. I can't complain. But I do sometimes feel cloistered living here, removed from the "real" Nepal.
If this pictures had sound, you would hear:
- A chorus of dogs barking (including Boo, our landlord’s shiny black dog who was not present for the picture taking)
- Construction sounds - hammer clanks and large pieces of wood hitting the ground (a house is going up across the street).
- An imperfect, off-tempo rendition of “Mary Had a Little Lamb” on the piano. Over and over and over. Last week's song was "Twinkle Twinkle." I don't know the culprit but I have a feeling it's the little girl who lives across the alley.
- Distant car horns.
The main intersection by our house that I pass when I go anywhere. A gathering point for bored taxi drivers and ladies who sell peppers and spices on blankets. To get home from here, I turn right, walk for 15 seconds...
...then turn left down this alleyway. I walk for about a minute (minding the puddles after a rain) then turn right into our driveway. I hear Boo at this point and know I'm home. (His bark is higher pitched than the other neighborhood dogs).
To get to work in the morning, I walk past the intersection pictured above and head down the street pictured below. Motorbikes, chuk-chuks (three-wheeled vans stuffed with people), school buses, and large white UN SUVs usually fill the street, all jostling to make it in time for that 8 o'clock meeting, or the first bell or the next drop-off. I walk defensively.
Once I've reached Red Rose Newari Cafe, I'm getting close. This is my favorite spot for fresh buff momos. I don't have to tell them what I want anymore. (I need to learn how to say "I'll have the usual" in Nepali.)
5-7 minutes after leaving home, I come to the end of the street. I follow the IRC sign to the left...
...and a minute later, follow another sign and turn left into the driveway. I'm now at work. I'll try to post pictures from the office this week.