I’ll tell you something about Nepalis – they know how to build a room with a view.
After a really restful first week in Kathmandu, we successfully made the trip up from Kathmandu to our house in Pokhara. We hired a big minibus to take all of us, our bags and a couple of co-travellers on the 8 hour trip through stunning valleys, winding along the path of a river as it wound through huge gorges and forests. Road travel is a somewhat hairy experience here – as far as we can tell the rules of the road boil down to give way to anything that is bigger than you and charge towards anything smaller than you, whilst leaving as narrow a gap as possible. Add in some interesting pot holes and road surfaces (or lack thereof) and a country where the concept of having an MOT to get your vehicle through doesn’t exist, and it all makes for a bit of a hairy ride. But I have to say, the toilets en route are possibly some of the best ‘loos with a view’ anywhere on the planet….
A room with
a view that I didn’t expect to see (or at least quite so soon) was the beautiful views of hills and woods from the Special Ward of the Manipal Teaching Hospital in Pokhara. I’m still not entirely sure whether the term ‘Special’ ward referred to the fact that there were just 2 beds in it (for the patient and a carer), or actually to the dodgy plumbing, even dodgier electrics (the sockets were hanging off…) or the red-splats-of-unknown-origin on the wall…but either way, our 3 year old and I spent a night there on our first Monday night here. After a successful trip on the Saturday, the next day Millie got really sick. After 36 hours of not being able to keep anything down, and despite our best efforts to keep her hydrated, she had to be admitted for IV fluids. It was quite a cultural experience, seeing the differences in health care in the UK and Nepal. Fortunately we were surrounded by a wonderful team here (including the Nepali medical director of an INF hospital here and a Swiss nurse) who took us in, translated, oversaw the paperwork and medical treatment and
arranged for at least one person to stay with
us all the time, so we took it in our stride. Looking back at the paperwork I was impressed to discover that we were considered to be from a high class family – how did they know? All joking apart, the differences between the ‘have’ and ‘havenots’ is huge in this country, and so many would not have been able to access the above medical facilities.
Best room with a view though? Our roof. During our first few days here the weather was fairly hazy, so the only thing we could see from our house was a few hills. 3 or 4 days after we arrived I had to go up to the roof to collect some laundry (roofs are flat here and used to dry laundry and food). I turned round, and truly discovered what it means to have something take your breath away. It was a crystal clear day, and in front of me, only a few miles away, was a whole range of the Himalayas, peak after peak, covered in snow. I can’t imagine that I will ever get used to seeing them there, or will ever stop wanting to simply stare at them. But stop I must, as my language lesson starts in a few minutes, and all that Nepali vocab will unfortunately not simply upload itself into my brain. More on that soon.