Monday, September 18, 2006

My first dinner party

After living as a student for many years I am finally able to live in a place big enough for parties. And being a sucker for parties I decided to throw one right away.

The first people to invite into my new place was naturally my Nepali family; my colleagues. Since they all live far away it had to be in the daytime, so I invited everybody for Dal Bhat (the national dish here) for 11 a.m. Most of them showed up 2 hours late, but that is Nepali culture!

Having next to nothing in my kitchen I had ordered food from my favourite restaurant and it was great – especially since it was 90 rps. pr. person (a bit more than US$1). There was also plenty of it, so I was looking at living on Dal Bhat the next weeks, but luckily they took all the left-over with them……

This being my first real dinner party for 25 people I must say that is all went very well, but then again my guest where very easy to please. Most of them live in houses constructed of mud and the fact that I had no furniture was no problem to them – the floor was easily accepted. The only thing I did not regard was the fact that when it is as hot as it is here 25 people can consume an enormous amount of water – without the water pump outside my house I would probably have had people fainting all over the house.

The real reason for this little get-together was actually a small meeting – about me. As you know I work in two different organisations and it has been a big problem to figure out when to work where. So this meeting sorted it all out – at least I think so…strange participating in a meeting about me without knowing what is being said – I really need to learn this language.

After this very quick meeting it was time to dance – despite of the heat – and everybody had a great time. Unfortunately, people had to travel a bit to get home, so the party ended early – maybe next time I should arrange a sleep-over....

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Driving in Nepal

Before coming here I had a lot of ideas of what it would be like to be driving in Nepal, but for once I was wrong:

In Nepal you drive in the left-hand side
According to the law that is true, but I found out that in Nepal you drive where there is room! Sometimes that is on the left side of the road other times on the right side. Mostly you simply drive in the middle of the road!

The roads are made for vehicles
No, actually there are very few cars on the road in the Terai. In stead there seems to be everything else; the roads serve as big pedestrian streets where people cheerfully wander around stopping to chat with friends and street vendors. On top of that there are horse carriages, bicycle rickshaws, donkeys, buffalos and cows lying in the middle of the road.

Always use your rear-view mirror
No, there is so much happening on the road in front of you, that there simply is no time to look in the rear-view mirror. The road is often full of potholes and often a goat comes jumping out in front of the car. That is why you have to concentrate 100 % on looking ahead of you.

Only use the horn when absolutely necessary
Wrong again. You use the horn all the time. Since you don’t use the rear-view mirror, you have no chance of knowing whether or not somebody is about to overtake you – unless they use their horn. Besides from that people are very reluctant to move, if they have found a nice spot on the road. The horn can be your only weapon on the road.

Only overtaken when there is room
No, you overtake when the thing in front of you is moving too slow (bus, car, horse carriage, buffalo, etc.) whether or not there is room is not so important. Often you drive off-road when overtaking and should a car come towards you, well then, it just has to slow down or stop even, until you have passed.

My car is my work tool
Yes and no. Of course it is there to make my work easier but also to make life easier for everybody I know and their friends and acquaintances. So far I have managed to have ten passengers with my in the car; front- and backseat. This includes a music group who entertained with Nepali songs during the ride.

Well, you can say a lot about driving in Nepal, but it is never dull. I am in the lucky position that MS has provided me with a nice big Hi-Lux that never fails to bring me home safely. So I can just shake my head of the traffic culture here and take it all as a great experience….