No Christmas in Chitwan / Hanging on For Dear Life

Thursday, Dec. 11, 9:58PM
Narayanaghad, Nepal

Song: Do You Close Your Eyes, The Smashing Pumpkins

Lazy pups
Lazy Pups

Today we went to the big city, and reflecting on it and the general atmosphere around here, it’s not December, nor is it Christmas. Most everyone here is Hindu or Buddhist, and in contrast to America, where everyone, regardless of creed, can soft of enjoy Christmas as a holiday, Nobody here does. Not a shred of Christmas to be found. This may sound delightful to some of you! I certainly felt that it might be cool to get away from it. But it’s a bit weird. (Gingerbread, boo hoo.)

In other news, we Somehow skipped out on doing farm labour for the last two days. Yesterday after breakfast and laundry we went to do Internet. As my fourth grade Social Studies teacher Mrs. Lawrence would have said, doing internet from a village of a developing country is like taking the slow boat to China. After three hours of click and wait, peppered by a couple outages, we got back at the farm with enough daylight to plant a couple rows of sunflower seeds in our newly weeded garden. Wwoof! (And boy were we tired, from all that internet tedium! Ironically, we really were.) Today, over breakfast we were making plans for tomorrow’s Elephant-riding Safari and realized we didn’t have the requisite 1500 rupees apiece, so our host Balarm insisted we hop on the next bus to town. An hour later (there’s Much waiting when it involves the gypsy bus) we were atop our trusty steed, zig-zagging the long way on country roads ride-em-cowboy-style, 2 hours at least, through every village between Chitwan and Narayanaghad. Our only business was to use the ATM and pick up some sweets. In under an hour we withdrew many rupees, then we waited an hour, and were on our way home with a big box of sweets from a yummmy looking bakery to share with the family tonight at our much-anticipated screening of The Jungle Book. There had to be 75-80 of us in and Atop the tiny metal shuttle (I named her Tetanus) which would have legally carried only 25 people in the US. Actually, Tetanus wouldn’t be legal in the US any way you slice it. (Cara has the must-share pic!)

[ Cara’s pic: us clinging on top of the rusty barrel-o-monkeys for 2 hours ]

The ride home was freakin’ Craaayzee! It took longer, we were a lot less comfortable, bootys ached, as did our clenched-for-dear-life knuckles. Also it was scary to watch for oncoming branches and low-hanging power lines in the thick foggy darkness. (The signal for ‘look out’ for passengers behind us was “Aggggggggh!”) We got home at 7:30, inhaled our warm delicious dal, rice and Soy meat — Chitwan Ama is a culinary genius — 8 of us piled into our room for the movie, and we all fell asleep. Oh, the worst was that our yummy sweets got left on top of the bus! (Ahem, wasn’t me.) But woe was.

Tomorrow on Safari will make 3 consecutive days of labor-less WWOOFing. (There go the crazy choir of dogs again! They always surprise me with their thunderous preamble.) We all feel really bad that we’re not doing much work here. But I honestly just don’t think there’s much to be done here right now. Today we were going to weed another plot, go to a neighbor’s and pick some coffee beans, and set-them up to become sprouts in the nursery-to-be. Depending on how much weeding, it wasn’t going to be that big a day anyhow. Well there’s always Saturday!

Babe hit it right on the head when he sung La la la, la la la, la la la, la laaaa! Merry Christmas from Nepal! (Imagination required.)

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