Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year

and good riddance to 2010 - way too many good friends and relatives left us this year.
Meanwhile, Xmas was a success - the turkeys were very delicious and everyone behaved nicely, except for after lunch when I missed out on a spot to sleep... oh well.
Australia did very poorly in the cricket, which was a shame as I was looking forward to blobbing out on the sofa and watching it all. Especially as we went to the Boxing day sales and bought an enormous LG HD, 3D internet etc everything TV and a Blu-ray PVR thing. I only wanted a new set top box! Now I have more gadgets than Joe The Gadget Man (I bet nobody remembers him), including a whizz bang remote control that can do everything except mow the lawn.
Good thing we don't live in Kathmandu with a TV like that as they now have 11 hours a day of power cut - what a total crock - and it is anticipated to climb to 20 hours a day in the next few months. Yuck.
I started back at work this week and we all survived OK. It will be good to get some $$$ rolling in again instead of it flooding out all the time.
Mum was moved to a rehab place this morning (without the hospital notifying us) so all the progress she made with her little brain has gone out the window as she is completely bamboozled about where she is and why she is there. The hospital were meant to call my sister so that one of us could go there with her. Consequently, my darling sister is at the hospital as I type, telling them exactly what she thinks of them. Happy New Year.
Sydney town is HOT and I am so glad I wasn't one of those poor silly sods heading to the waterfront with an esky of lukewarm Fanta at about 8 this morning, just to get a 'good spot' for the fireworks.
We are heading across the road for a barbie this evening and a few sparklers from the Indian party warehouse. Let's hope the sparklers are better than the Indian space rockets that keep blowing up.
And so without further ado, it's Happy New Year from us. Hope to see you in 2011 when there is much more excitement and logistic stuff happening. Have a great NYE and please stagger safely back home!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Pre Christmas mayhem

And my 100th post! Time for a drink...
Well my goodness we have been flat out. After the PP got admitted to hospital last Friday we have been trying to sort out options for the future, meeting with her doctor and trying to deal with everything that has been thrown up in our faces. It's almost as though she has given up now and it is a very sad thing to watch. I hope it never happens to me. Or anyone else I know. Add to that her severe osteoporosis (which results in her fracturing bones with a sneezing fit - news to us as well) and you can see it may not be a fun-filled Christmas in the Boustead-Smythe residence this year. Oh well, we must try our best. And keep eating dairy. More cheese please. But I did manage, after going to about twenty shops, to find Christmas crackers (or bonbons if you are that way inclined) which almost sent me bloody crackers!
On a more jolly note, I visited the old workplace the other day and have been invited back for some time, starting next week! Excellent, and the bank manager WILL be pleased! It was great to catch up with everyone there too. And Peter, enjoy the trip to Bagdogra!
Today we're off for lunch with Geoff of the Jungle in town. Sydney is manic right now and I shall try to avoid the shops. Tomorrow I have to take PP to a plastic surgeon in Westfield Parramatta (ghastly thing to do on xmas eve) after which I will definitely require rum. In large quantities. Meanwhile Brave Sir Robin will be going to the butchers and the bakers to collect the last of the Christmas fare for me to cook.
Looking forward to the Boxing Day cricket from Melbourne, and of course the sales - time for new undies. Speaking of which, I took all the PP's dirty clothes out of the basket at her place yesterday and brought them home to wash. While I was out disposing of her old recliner at the Salvo's Robin kindly pegged out mum's clothes - 11 pairs of Cottontails (if you don't know what they are google it) and 5 bone coloured shirts. He has made me promise that if I ever consider underwear like that I must shoot myself, and if he isn't at home I can just leave a note saying "tempted by Cottontails. Time to end it." Not a problem. Oh no, my toothbrush just fell into the kitty litter which I had moved while I was mopping the floor. DISASTER!
So I leave you now to hang out laundry and get ready for lunch. And sterilise my toothbrush...
Here is a video of one of my favourite intersections in Kathmandu - Tri Devi Marg and Kantipath, right outside the former Royal Palace which you can see in the top right corner (now the infamous urine filled Ministry of Foreign Affairs). I do hope you enjoy it.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Home again, home again, jiggedy jig

And what a FUN few days it has been - not. First of all the hoo-haa at the stupid airport in Katty where there were about 5 international flights leaving at the same time, so the teensy weensy departures 'cell' was crammed - it wasn't even standing room only. Total mayhem but we finally got onto the full flight with a large bunch of Buddhist pilgrims. The flight crew announced that because they had 131 special meals to serve, the meal service may take longer than usual. And it did.
We were late getting to Bangers but no problem as we had plenty of time to catch our midnight connection - which was also chockers.  Thank goodness for sleeping tablets or we would have spent a miserable night sitting up. Shame Robin managed to leave his neck cushion on the previous flight.
We got home in pretty good time and after a quick shower and cuppa we were at Gus the butchers collecting some long awaited chicken bacon and shallot sausages and other meaty items. A few groceries, some wine and fruit and veg and we were set to go home and veg out on the lounge. And play with Lakshmi the wondercat who was exceptionally pleased to see us.
A quick phone call confirmed that the perturbed parent is still confused about many things. Poor darling. We visited her on Friday and ended up taking her into hospital for unexplained back pain which seems to have been the result of an old fracture that none of us knew about. But her mind is now doing some very odd things so we are just waiting to see where we go from here. She does have a very nice geriatrician, Dr Nagaratnam, who we had a chat with this morning.
Sterling Club Santa
Most people we know are in full swing for Xmas but we are still kinda making it up as we go along. The turkeys are ordered, my sister made the cake and I have a pudding and some mince pies to collect. So it's just a matter of veges, brandy butter and alcohol I guess.
Now that the cricket has finished I have no excuse for sitting in front of the TV, so I will just have to find other things to do. I'm off to the former workplace on Tuesday to seal the deal for more work next year, and I also have to take PP to a surgeon on Xmas Eve (wonderful) to get a skin cancer thing cut out. Ouch.
Enjoy the week before Xmas and don't drink and drive!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

I just saw Santa!

That's right - here in the Hindu land of Nepal we have Santa too. The Sterling Club at the British Embassy had their Xmas lunch buffet party today so off we went with our mixed bunch of friends for turkey buffet, strawberries, bread and butter pudding and mince pies. YUM. And here is Santa in his lovely tinsel bedecked rickshaw being driven by what I think is a gingerbread man - Robin reckons it's a reindeer but I can't see any antlers. Anyway, all us 'grownups' were chasing the rickshaw yelling out hi to Santa. Because we are all dags.

And here are a couple of kiddies in Santa's Grotto getting a present from the big fella. Boy it was crowded in there! I suppose you're wondering what else we are up to. Well, most of our friends have either left town or are on their way out in the next few days. The weather is getting much colder now and everyone can feel it's time to go. Unless of course you are going to Europe where it is a whole lot colder - but at least they have gas, electricity and hot water!
Flying back home on Tuesday so you may not hear from me till we make it back to Sydney - when I hope to be able to upload some video clips on a more reliable internet connection.
See ya later!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Krazy krazy krazy

This was in this morning's op-ed section of the Rising Nepal (Rinsing Nepal, Rising Nipple and many less flattering names). If I live to be 100 (unlikely) I will not work out what this person is talking about. I've read it 3 times. So surely you can manage just one. It isn't very long...
Well I have been busy the last few days down at Tilganga eye hospital having the Grand Tour and interviewing doctors, nurses, patients and administrators getting the lowdown on the place. And what an interesting story it is. They train doctors and nurses from all over the world, and they have even sent training teams to North Korea. I had the pleasure of meeting two eyecare specialists from Bangladesh yesterday and what delightful men they were. More Tilganga stuff later.

This is just WRONG. But kinda funny. In a sick way. These folks don't know any different.  We've had more protests in town from the infamous students because the price of petrol products was increased by Rs 3 per litre yesterday. So I guess we'll have some more strikes soon. Robin's giant map is almost finished printing and so we hope to have one in our hands in the next few hours. He is busy checking the topo trekking maps and I am trying to get some articles written about the hospital but my brain has frozen.
This is Dinesh, from Tilganga reception, and Datong Tulku, a Rinpoche from Bhutan who is visiting with the Bhutanese Queen Mother. He was getting his eyesight checked as well. Rinpoche is 55 and had laser surgery to correct his eyesight and has been getting treated for swelling in his eyes. A delightful man who lives in a monastery about an hour's drive from Punakha and is busy restoring the 300 year old building with 47 assistants. He clearly doesn't feel the cold like the rest of us mere mortals.
Right then time for tea and biscuits.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Permanently Polartec'd

Seems every day is just a bit colder than the one before. I am now permanently in fleece except if I can sit in the sun all day - which I usually can't. This is the fire at Sams which keeps us warm on the terrace if it is too crowded or smoky inside by the kerosene heater. The best fire though is at Mandap Indian across the road - and the tandoori is pretty good too.
As you can see, flying has many hazards over here - some before you have even left the ground! I suppose it makes a change from pilots having to sacrifice goats in front of planes because the maintenance crew can't find out why the plane doesn't work properly. I SO wouldn't be getting on that flight.

I made Robin take this photo at a butcher we walked past yesterday in Asan. Can't work out why there weren't any flies on it though. I'll post the picture of the rest of it another day.
And I think I told you about the lack of over we have here - well the street jewellery vendors are now approaching people in pitch black dark asking them to 'look this jewellery - very nice madam'. Frankly my dear I wouldn't know!
We had a friend from Bardia come up yesterday on the night bus - our jungle guide Sitaram who came up so we could buy him a camera. a lovely 13 hour bus trip (so not Greyhound!) followed by a walk though the crazy streets to New Road to the camera emporia. We found a great little Canon Powershot with 14x zoom which will be ideal for wildlife photos. Poor Sitaram nearly got run over many times just wandering around the Big Smoke and by 2pm (he arrived at 7am) he was ready to get back on the next bus home. Katty can be a very intimidating place.
Robin has already done an interview this morning for a newspaper here, and we are relaxing in front of the cricket on telly before heading off for lunch with a friend, followed by dinner with another. I need to lie down!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Greetings from frosty Kathmandu

Gee I hardly know which services to avail myself of.. Needless to say this ISN'T Miss Juni's hair do emporium where I go for my lovely coiffure!
Well winter has certainly hit with a vengeance here in Kathmandu (as well as most of Europe) though we don't have snow. We had a fireside breakfast this morning and I am now in Polartec all day. If you sit in the sun it is very pleasant, but all buildings are very cold and of course the lack of heating and power doesn't help.

Fortunately I'm not going here for lunch any time soon. Robin and I have had a few great meals lately - at the Sterling Club (British embassy) we had great chicken and avocado and last night we went to a French place run by a real French person who has heaters and classy food (classy prices too!) but it was so delicious who cares. And I now have our tickets for the Sterling club Xmas party lunch (with Santa) just a few days before we leave. Taking some friends along to that so it should be fun.

This is a lime green hotel. It has matching green curtains. And dark blue and yellow ceilings. It's horrible. But easy to use as a landmark. Don't know how much rooms are - sorry.
Robin is as usual out at the maphouse finalising his marvellous map collection, to be released soon. Do stay tuned.