High up on a hill in Kirtipur lies a large Buddhist Monastery featuring stout, modern Tibetan architecture.
In the heart of the town of Patan lies a beautiful square with many old temples.
In Manegau, a Tamang village about 2000' above sea level near the Trisuli river and not far from Tibet, Pomello fruits have been falling off trees around here.
Out of Kathmandu for a night. Three hour taxi ride down from the KTM valley towards India. Windy road, many trucks billowing out the black clouds of the subcontinent's commerce. Reach the Trisuli river and refreshing clear water rushes across the nearby Tibetan border.
After landing on Dec 21, Chris Josh and I got to work looking around the Kathmandu valley for locations to take our students in the first few days of course. We were fortunate to meet Kiran Nepali with the musical group Kutumba.
It was a sleepless night. I was checking my phone constantly to see what the time was. I was awake a 525, time to get up. Although I had fell into a deep sleep the cell phone blared the alarm. Packed my things quickly and went down to the lobby of the Nasa Vegas hotel where I had spent the night and waited to get my deposit back. In the room there were many things that looked "free" although I figured they were not free...toothbrush, peanuts, scented soap bars, etc. I assume the wait for my deposit was to see if A) I had broken anything and/or B) If I had really eaten the entire stack of mints. While waiting in the lobby a few overweight, bald and gray haired foreigner men dwarfed mini ladies clad with short skirts, high heals and makeup so thick I could hardly see the white of their eyes. At 530 in the morning, as the couples stumbled into the hotel lobby, appearing very drunk, I assume it must have been a long night...
I sent out a email to some Outward Bound friends of mine showing them my website. Since the domain name was inspired by OB, I bet they would be stoked to see it coming alive. A friend of mine who works at Cal Poly wrote back with some coding help.
There are many specialty food items in the Philippines. Some are heavily influenced by the west: foot long hot dogs, hamburgers, etc. Other delicacies are wildly exotic like "Balut" which is chicken egg embryos eaten raw; tropical fruits such as "Chicko" and even roasted dog meat. Looking for a new experience, but not feeling the draw to wacky animal products, I went to search for the infamous "Buko Pie." Described by my local friends as a delicious coconut cream pie, I headed north by bus about two hours to a town called Candon where the Buko Pie is a local specialty. Along the journey north, out the window to the east, evening light illuminated the high mountains of the Cordillera Central and the rice fields below.
An amazing true story about a woman named a nomad-turned fashion model and UN ambassador Waris Dirie. As her family travels around Somalia in search for water for their herd of animals, Waris gives a clear and descriptive view into her life. Unimaginable things happen to her, but I'll leave that for you to read.
State-wide brownout here in La Union, Philippines left me the opportunity and motivation to finish Waris's book. I couldn't put the book down and I finished it in about a day of solid reading and sweating (no electric fan without power). Unfortunately that also meant no purified water, as the water shops use electricity for reverse-osmosis treatment. Ice also takes electricity to create, so boiled water it was...a bit warm. However, complaining to myself that I had no fan and no cold water, seemed trivial in comparison to what I was reading about Waris's life in Somalia.
Many overseas Chinese in the Philippines are owners of businesses. In La Union province, out of the ten or so hardware stores I've visited, all of them are owned by Chinese. As with many overseas populations, the culture and tradition comes overseas along with the people. In the coastal capital of San Fernando a large Chinese Buddhist temple overlooks the bay.