Thursday, December 29, 2011

Orange Sacs?

Yesterday at the market I was browsing the fruit juices, and another foreigner walked up and grabbed this orange drink and said "this is the best one" so I thought ok, I'll give it a try. Then I looked at the label and saw "WITH ORANGE SACS" ???

This morning I popped it open, still curious as to what orange sacs really are, and took a sip. Ah ha! It's like drinking a can of diced up tangerines, so delish.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Nepal, a few photos

I have been in Kathmandu, Nepal for 2 days now and have ventured out walking around the city quite a bit, but keep forgetting to take pictures. I guess it's not so much forgetting to take the photos as much as it is trying to pay attention while walking in traffic (very few sidewalks exist), dodging zigzaggy cars and motorcycles, and trying to get un-lost in the spaghetti maze of un-mapped streets.

I am really enjoying it here so far. I am in the main part of Kathmandu called Thamel and it's always very alive and buzzing and moving. And honking.

There's lots of spitting in public, and I learned yesterday that apparently there is a law stating that you can't spit in public. But it seems most people aren't too concerned with that law. Men, women and children constantly spitting. Losing valuable fluids! So not only am I concentrating on dodging the motorcycles, the spit as well. Makes for an interesting and very alert walk.

So, Monday I saw a monkey on a rooftop, Tuesday I saw a cow in the intersection, and today I saw an ant on a windowsill and a pigeon on a ledge...decidedly less exciting animal life in the city by the day. But I hear there's an elephant nearby.

The food here is so delicious and I'm excited to try some of the restaurants locals have been suggesting. I am enrolled in a TEFL course, a 4-week intensive course learning how to teach English as a foreign language, and it begins Monday. So I have the next few days to keep venturing out to see, hear, feel, smell and taste the city. Will be posting more photos soon.

Namaste  (I love how most people say this upon greeting and parting. The vibe here is pretty darn cool.)

We Nepalis

I walked past a book store today and decided to turn around and go back to check it out. I asked if they had any poetry books and the man didn't speak English but he had a sidekick who spoke pretty good English, so he helped me. He took me to the bookstore next door, explaining that they probably had a better selection. So the man behind the counter tosses a book out onto the counter saying I should buy it. It's called The Lunatic and Other Poems, by Laxmi Prasad Devkota. The man helping me explained that it is a very good book by a very important man in Nepal's history who helped found the university in Kathmandu and helped keep the Nepali written language alive in schools. The book itself has each poem in Nepali on one page and the English translation on the next. And it is translated by the author, which is a huge bonus. The man helping me flipped open the book to his favorite poem and explained why he loves it. I am only two days into Nepal and am really enjoying the people here. I also want to learn a bit of the language, both conversation and written, and downloaded a Nepali/English dictionary and phrase book before I arrived. So this book is perfect because it has both, and I can look between the two languages and try to figure it out with the resources I have. I paid my 150 rupees ($1.75) and went on my way. I stopped at a cafe for lunch and started to read the poetry while having some darn good coffee. Here is the first poem of the book, and so lovely...

We Nepalis

We are the children of Aurora,
Offspring of Asia's reawakened age,
Sons of the Himalayas, we crave
To climb the peaks wreathed with the golden rays.

We are the products of the Buddha's soil,
The honey-sweet playmates of Janaki,
                              the flower of our earth.
We are the refulgence of the fingers of Araniko,
And the ripe harvest of Prithvinarayana.

We are the golden dreams of Tribhuvana,
We are Mahendra's garden rich in flowering shrubs,
We are the rivals of the tiger,
And the sentinels of democracy.

We are the still, small voice of humanity's dove
With the Danphe's prismatic plumes of fancy,
We are the scented breath of the Himalayan flowers that grow
Out of the dust of the sages that lie in their long silence.

We are the songsters of the luxuriant wilds
That trill and warble love upon the leafy boughs of the world,
We are the mountain temples of humanity,
We are the pilots of perpetual peace.

We are the liberal liquefaction of the Himalayas,
Snow-breasts that nourish the life of India in a network of
                         serpentine rills.
We are the prophetic angels of the east
That dwell in the dominion of the first sun-beam.

We are the partners of this round home, this terrestrial sphere,
Partaking of a single plate.
We are the worshippers of self-sacrifice,
We are the citizens of the world.

-- Laxmi Prasad Devkota

Over the course of the day I read more of his poems and read about his life in more detail online, and I can't wait to find more of his writings. Such a beautiful, passionate writer.


A few miscellaneous Spain photos from the week of December 19-25th, 2011

Malaga, Spain

December 23, 2011

Cordoba, Spain

December 21-23, 2011

Barcelona, Spain

December 19, 2011