Nepal #13 & #14: Monkey Almost Commits Identity Theft

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We woke up around 7 this morning and decided to just go walking in a direction we had never been in to find a spot for our morning coffee/tea. Quickly concluded that all residential areas of Kathmandu look very much the same. Our walk turned into a very long walk because apparently we had left the café district of the city and the only shops we could find were selling phone plans and goat heads. We found a little place after about an hour and stopped for breakfast, it was cute and air-conditioned but unfortunately no knives so Sam spread her butter with a spoon. On our way back from our walk we ended up taking a route which had us walking right down the highway which our lungs did not love. Had a long conversation about the Kathmandu sewage system. We’ve come up with a 7-step plan to save the country from its own waste so if anyone knows who we can talk to about implementation, let us know. We stopped in a little garden near our house for more tea and to read for a couple of hours before going home for our first dal bhat of the day. 

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 After lunch we did laundry!!! An extremely exciting and long-overdue event which we’ve been putting off for the last couple of days because of the rain. Our homestay sister showed us how to pull water out of the well with the bucket and let us in on all of her washing techniques. We headed over to the monastery with a sense of great accomplishment and the promise of clean t-shirts waiting for us after class. Before class started, we chatted with Chancho for a little while. He was telling us about he doesn’t have a visa for Nepal, and that if you drive over any of the SAARC country borders instead of flying then you basically never need a visa at all. He also told us that he’s BFF’s with the border patrol officer in Bhutan so if we ever want to go visit, he can get us on the guest list. We’re curious if we need to arrive via party bus in order for this to apply?? 

In class today we covered jobs/occupations, and then tried to teach the boys how to play Octopus. Another dramatic failure. The combination of the language barrier and the fact that they are little boys means they’re all much more interested in kicking each other in the head than participating in our structured exercises. We let it slide because its hilarious to watch, and because we wouldn’t be able to stop them even if we tried. 

 Headed home after class, washed our hair and put on our clean clothes. Indulged in today’s second round of dhal bhaat, then bed :)

14/05/19

Today was an off day. We woke up and went straight to our café in the garden to grab some tea and toast and read for a while. Once we got bored of that around 11am we decided to try and find a place to hang out in the sun for a bit and work on our tans. We ended up walking up these stairs and looking at the market, but that got pretty boring because every stand was selling the exact same thing. It makes me wonder how any of them make any money. We got to the top and found a sunny spot to lounge in the sun and sat there for a while chatting until Sarah started yelling my name. I was so confused until I looked down and saw one of those freakish monkeys approaching us. Now, acting fast isn’t my strong suit, and in the face of my enemy I left my bag on the street and abandoned the situation. Of course, the monkey’s first move was to grab my bag, and like some weirdly advanced monkey he begins opening it. To be completely honest with you, at this point I had already decided that it was the monkey’s knapsack, he could have my rain jacket and phone I had accepted that. Sarah began yelling at the monkey but all it took was one hiss and she backed down. Now, my hero enters the story, this random guy jumps in and yells at the monkey and grabs my bag from it. He even got bitten by the monkey while taking my bag back for me (no one has ever gotten bit by a monkey for me before <3). Thank gosh for this man. Him and his friends accepted compensation in the form of asking us to take photos with them. I’m assuming they posted them making fun of the white girl who almost got her bag stolen by the monkey and I’m weirdly okay with it. As we turned to walk back down the hill, I had the terrifying realization that my passport was in my knapsack. If the situation had gone the way I was dealing with it, then the monkey could’ve committed identity theft. The worst part is he easily could have gotten away with it because of my unflattering passport picture.

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After the monkey fiasco we decided to go home for some lunch. This then became a full-mental breakdown over dhal bhat because it was the only food we had consumed for the past three weeks. We realize now we were being dramatic. To top the weird day off, we went to go hang with the baby monks and they were all going crazy. None of them were listening and Sarah and I were on the cusp of breakdown number two for the day. We closed the day off with some freeze tag which turned into tag but with some brawls in the middle. After class we decided to head up to Monkey Temple to watch the sunset and maybe get some drinks. We got up to the rooftop and chatted for a while until ANOTHER monkey showed up… he started playing in a tarp that was strung up over the exit of the rooftop. He kept looking at us through the tarp and essentially trapped us on the rooftop for over thirty minutes. Once he left (thank gosh) we ran off the roof and went back home. As we were walking down the stairs of Monkey Temple, we watched the most beautiful sunset over Kathmandu and the surrounding mountains, and all of the sudden we realized that our ‘bad’ day wasn’t actually bad at all. We’re still in an amazing city and hanging out with some amazing kids. Dhaal bhat is getting a bit old but it’s still better than nothing. We ate our dhal bhat, watched a cheesy girls movie on Netflix, and went to bed. Even the bad days in Nepal are still pretty good.

- Sam

Samantha McLean