After a long and interesting day filled with two great meetings, dodging cars/bikes/vendors/generally all of Kathmandu, and some studying and skyping, Katie took a cab back to our part of town. The nights here in Kathmandu end pretty early - based on our standards of hanging out and studying back home - everything is closed by 10pm. Well, most everything. There’s the random bar that has paid a bribe to the police to stay open after the time dictated by the ordinance. We don’t tend to go there - for one I don’t think there’s a place near enough to our houses and second, we get locked out of our homes if we stay out past 10pm. So, we come back earlier. Its good also because things start much earlier here too. While in the first week of my home stay I was woken up by every aap (mango) and vegetable seller, wedding band, trash man, and bird from right outside my window to about 100 miles starting at about 4:45am. Though I’ve convinced myself that now that monsoon has supposedly started (although there’s no rain) everyone starts later - so I only receive this creative wakeup calls starting at 7am. That is a much more reasonable hour, even if its early and I could surely stay sleeping for longer (if the sun wasn’t so bright and the sounds didn’t seem like they were emanating from a place that was RIGHT NEXT TO MY EAR!).
So yesterday we left the café that fit all our requirements - mostly the wifi, the working wifi, then the request for beer, and then the need for cheap (we rarely make it to the cheap need) - and we all hopped in cabs to our separate homestays around the city. I was so tired by this point (7:30pm) that I was practically ready to enter my house and go straight upstairs to my room and sleep until the next morning. I feel very lucky in general with my host-family: they’re very nice, make me feel comfortable (besides the food pushing early in the morning….), and the house is a really home-y place to come back to. On the best days though, their 4-year-old granddaughter is still over.
The last few nights in Kathmandu have seemed more eerie. Its more palpable that something might happen. Although we’re the only ones that are feeling this based on the surge of police and armed police presence during the day but mostly down the completely desolate streets of our neighborhood at night. (We’ve been told that the new Superintendent of Police put more police on the streets to tighten up on crime, but also just in case something is being planned due to the pseudo-resignation of the PM the other day -- which also received much less fanfare than I would have expected, even if he was supposed to have resigned a month ago, and even if he didn’t actually leave the post….) So after making it through said creepy streets with my cell-phone lantern to help me spot the puddles, big rocks, or other people, I made it home - exhausted. But I was home.
Or was I.
I got to the gate. Its locked. UUUUGH! I start calling the house. The phone’s connected to the dial-up. This is the second night in a row that I’ve tried to call the house and can’t because the phone line is connected to the dial-up. I’m VERY glad that Uncle and Auntie are connected to the 21st century (between 7pm and 8am) but I almost want to gift them a second line. (Or maybe finally take down Uncle’s cell number….)
So I start screaming. UNCLE!! Wait a few minutes. UNCLE!! Oh I have keys! I have a set of about five keys. I think they open Buckingham Palace. I’m sure of it. Because my backpack in the middle of Kathmandu far far away from the Palace is a good place to save the extra set of keys…. I mean why else would I have these keys THAT DON’T OPEN A SINGLE DOOR IN OR TO THIS HOUSE?!
I see a light go on in the living room. SUCCESS! UNCLE!! Nope.
Doors to the apartment building next to the path to my house are open. “Why don’t you open the gate?” said one very sweet and helpful girl. “It’s locked. UNCLE!!” Then they start discussing my predicament between the various balconies - to which most of the building is now occupying to watch me scream UNCLE!! One nice man comes out.
He looks at me. Looks at the lock that is so clearly on and shutting me out from my bed and comfort and the possibility of sleep and laying down…. And one look at the part of the gate that opens for a car to pass through.
Then he looks at me.
And opens the car part of the gate.
…….. Maaph garnus neighbors. I’m sure at least that I provided you all with a good story to retell over dinner. I’m sure in that retelling I’ve become any number of ridiculous things. But Sorry/Excuse me anyways….
Yep. Now I also have Uncle’s cell number.
So after that long day which ended with an UUUUUGH it was really nice to come into the house and see that Samiya, the 4-year-old and her parents were over hanging out and watching TV. I was happy to be back at my homestay and happy to be the hoop for Samiya’s basketball and to watch a bit of Indian Idol.