My bed, shaded from the morning sun by a gorgeous fiery-red curtain.

Nepal Day 1

There’s thunder booming in the Lalitpur District of Nepal, where the Tewa Center, my home base for the time being, is located. Tewa translates to “support” in Nepali, a fitting name for an organization that provides so much to the local community. Funded by individual donations, the Tewa foundation focuses on supporting women by fund-raising and providing small grants. It was founded in 1996 by Rita Thapa, who has been an active advocate of women’s rights for many years. The center itself is located on a terrace overlooking a vast expanse of rice fields, and looming in the distance you can see the silhouettes of a few hills, currently illuminated by shocks of lightning. The weather is hot but not unbearable, and a slight breeze makes it the perfect temperature.

I awoke this morning to the sound of pigeons cooing outside my window. The sun was bright and people were already up and about, shouting things to each other below. The sun rises and sets early here, which means the people do the same. Breakfast consisted of bananas, papaya juice, porridge, boiled eggs, toast and, of course, tea. Somehow there’s always tea. (Not that I’m complaining!). After breakfast we hopped on a private bus for a short trip to a more down-town area. Nepal has a 6-day work week, Sunday through Monday, although it makes up for that with over 33 public holidays. Right now it is celebrating Gai Jatra, the Hindu festival of cows.

On our drive to the shops we passed by a petrol/gas station, the line for which spanned the length of several city blocks. Nepal is currently in the midst of a severe gas shortage due to a blockade from India, which supplies all of Nepal's gas. This can be especially frustrating for the many motorcyclists, and the trekkers who need to take airplane or helicopter flights to the mountains.

For lunch we visited a restaurant called Thasang Thakali Kitchen, which served dal-bhat-tarkari (just dal-bhat for short), the national dish of Nepal. Dal is a lentil soup, and bhat is rice, which, combined with a variety of other veggies, make for a hearty meal. I tried my hand (hehe) at eating without utensils, and for the most part, succeeded. The server came by several times to offer more of everything, which was both overwhelming and greatly appreciated.

Dinner was Nepali salad and momo’s, essentially spiced up dumplings filled with either a chicken or vegetable filling. As with everything else, the food was delicious and I’m seriously starting to wonder whether it’s possible to get tired of any of it (not likely).

Tomorrow we’ll be visiting Swayambhunath, also known as the Monkey Temple. One of the oldest religious sites in Nepal, Swayambhunath is famous for the holy monkeys that roam free across the grounds. Hopefully they don’t snatch my food…

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