What an awesome week – a visit from our first out-of-town guest, Krishneil Maharaj. We studied together at UCSD over 15 years ago, had the same group of friends, participated in the same campus activities (Hindu Students Council) and had long philosophical chats on library walk enjoying the sunny So Cal weather. We kept in touch here and there, but hadn’t met in over a decade. As we all know how the saying goes — ” Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, the other is gold…”
Krishneil arrived early enough on Monday to join me for my Nepali language classes! He was a great sport and joined in when the teacher prompted him – so grateful that Nepali is similar to Hindi / Marathi… The kids were SO excited to have a guest at home. After picking them up from school, they felt at ease with him right away. Sumi read his daily book to Krishneil, then we all went down for basketball practice /drills from Coach K – the kids had a ball!
We joined the Tuesday British School riding group for a grueling but very enjoyable 12 mile mountain bike ride! Any walking, hiking or biking in the valley (or in most of Nepal) involves LOTS of hills. We climbed a total of 1425 feet, and clocked the highest speed at 30 mph. Advantage of climbing up the hills is the enjoyable (and fast!) coast coming back down! We both wished we had taken the GoPro camera and connected it to our helmet. Maybe on the next ride, I’ll set it up (Jay, SO sorry for the long delay in this)…
On Wednesday, we joined the Cultural Studies Group Nepal (the same group who hosted the Thanka Art Studio Visit that I wrote about last week), for a hike from Dulikhel to Panauti. We left KTM early to avoid being in the midday sun (it was still SO hot!) and took a 1-hour bus ride to Dulikhel. A guide met our group at the bus stand and we started walking – what an interesting variety of paths! We went through town roads, village alley ways, dirt trails and across several agricultural fields (I’d never seen that many potatoes!). Even though Krishneil and I were huffing and puffing to get up the hillside trails, being in the company of folks well over twice our age was inspirational… Betty, the oldest one on our group hike, is 83 years old and was often at the head of the pack. When someone commented, “we all hope to be like Betty when we are 83.” Krishneil followed up with, “I hope I can be like that at 43!” A picnic lunch on a shady hillside, temple visit at Panauti, and refreshing cokes at the end of the hike rounded out the afternoon.
At this point, we debated going for a swim to make it a complete week-long triathlon (swim, bike, hike / run). But decided against 😉
After dropping the kids to school on Thursday, we went for a yoga class here in Patan. Great to see the same faces – Roger from the Tuesday bike ride and Eliane from the Wednesday hike were also there! KTM is relatively small – very easy to bump into folks you know – I love that about this town… The yoga teacher gave detailed, precise instructions, but class was tough! Pigeon, warrior 2, cow face, high lunge, low lunge, and several more. When she said, “now you can rest in downward dog pose for 5 breaths” I knew I was totally out of my league! I much prefer RESTING in childs pose…
We then hopped on the bikes and cycled over to ICIMOD (Krishneil had a go on the “minivan” of bikes — Caleb Spear’s creation!). Prakash, his colleague – Bhupesh, Krishneil and I all had lunch at the ICIMOD cafeteria. Prakash gave us a quick tour of the office – for a developing country, the office is very impressive. Nothing too fancy, but amazing life-size photographs displaying their vision “men, women, and children of the Hindu Kush Himalayas enjoy improved well-being in a healthy mountain environment” and mission “to enable sustainable and resilient mountain development for improved and equitable livelihoods through knowledge and regional cooperation” cover the walls and corridors of the building.
We got some groceries on the way home then started preparing for our evening! What a coincidence – our brand new neighbors spent several years in Fiji, the same country where Krishneil was born and raised until age 9. Marilyn and Gordon joined us for dinner and they exchanged several island stories. We got to see some beautiful images of the remote island where Marilyn did her PhD research in education, the same island that Krishneil recently visited.
A big cockroach, friendly spider and empty water tanks (ie, bathe with whatever is remaining in the bucket ; can’t wash the dirty dishes ; how many bottles of drinking water are left in the fridge?!?) rounded out the week of adventures! A few of the numerous workers where we stay befriended Krishneil during our afternoon basketball sessions. The sendoff this morning was just like those in India – everyone gathers to say good-bye 🙂