Manju, the Firebreather

Carrie, Manju and Kim in traditional Tamang dress

This past weekend we went to Manegaun. It was amazing to get out of the city and the smog and be in a place much stiller, harder, and vibrant than my normal routine. The lushness of the landscape, the way trees have the ability to grow on a seemingly vertical slope, the rushing rivers and the unmanicured farms, all of these things make me feel part of an ecosystem, rather than part of a rat race. The only other places in the world where I have felt something similar are Guatemala and Ireland. Continue reading

Change it up!

I have been in Kathmandu for over a week now. I’ve started walking around, and so far I have been able to get myself where I need to go with very little confusion about where to go. I am now living with my homestay. We are figuring each other out and how we live together, but it is good so far! I predict that my biggest, practical issue over the next few weeks is going to be dealing with money. It won’t be an issue of having enough money. It won’t be an issue of knowing what bills I have in my wallet. These things are easy, and the latter issue is just a matter of paying attention. This issue I am going to have is change. Continue reading

Beijing – Day Two

Yesterday was a lot of walking. After discovering that breakfast was available in our hostel (yay, quick coffee), we headed out to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. Beijing is very wide, in terms of streets and sidewalks. There is very little shade, at least where we were (and yes, I got a sunburn, a small one).

There were so many people at both of those locations. MK kept commenting on the number of East Asian tourists and how that made her feel good about being a tourist. Everything is big. The buildings, the streets, the open spaces.

Once we were ready for lunch, I figured out that there was vegetarian restaurant relatively close by (walking distance). However, we probably should have called, because it definitely was not there. We walked back to this touristy area (there is a Starbucks touristy; Tip: Starbucks = Western style bathrooms). As we are starting to get a little grumpy from the plummeting blood sugar levels, we walk one block west into an entire different world. This is what I expected Beijing to be like. Smaller streets, lots of vendors, noise, color, and smells, mostly yummy food ones.

We jumped into the first restaurant on the corner. They had an English-ish menu. We ordered Mapo Tofu and Noodles with Soy Sauce. FYI – Mapo Tofu is not vegetarian, but the Noodles are. After eating we headed down the street, where AW got a Communist Obama tshirt, MK took a picture of an “I ❤ BJ” shirt (Editor: I am pretty sure that BJ was meant to mean Beijing), and we saw a restaurant that offers Noodles with Sog Sauce. We of course have now dubbed ourselves as Team Sog Sauce, and Commie ‘Bamie is our mascot.

Once we got back to the hostel (which involved a miscommunication about what the goal of our walk was that had us walk nearly all the way around the Forbidden City – oops), we all just sort of crashed. I decided to take a nap. This nap lasted for 12 hours! I’d wake up everyone once in awhile and just think “nope” and go back to sleep. Sunburns are exhausting.