Of course much has happened since our sacrificial Saturday over a week ago, and of course we meant to post earlier, but of course we've been busy. Of course!
This actually was started, as is obvious, yesterday, but a monsoonal power outage postponed things by a day...
Anyways, its a rainy Saturday, so our plans of seeing Prashant, the Nepali-heritage winner of Indian Idol in concert this afternoon have effectively been washed away, although our budgetary restrictions until we can turn a job offer into an actual job factored in more than just the inclimate weather. We are back on our own again, Reannon has departed our company to return to the jungle of Bardia and teach English at BBAS Memorial School for around a month. We're really excited for her, not just for continuing the Muth teaching legacy in rural Nepal, but also because it is a great ESL teaching opportunity in an amazing traditional community that is very welcoming and kind, and the students will genuinely appreciate her efforts.
The last week had a clear highlight: a two-day rafting trip on the Trisuli River. For $23/person/day - more than we probably could have paid, but best price we found - we joined up with a bunch of Chinese tourists to head down a Class 2/3 semi-raging river. No one in our raft spoke English, besides the guide of course, so we were issued commands in Chinese ("sensin" for forward), although to be honest the middle-aged Mandarin-speakers, dedicated to shouting in rhythm, were none too devoted to the actual paddling. We were very glad the river wasn't too intense, since the three of us and the guide were all of the arm-power and raft-direction, but the ride was still very fun, we have been definite fools not to go rafting at all while in the States!
Thoroughly, happily, soaked, the three or so hours of rafting was soon up, and while enjoying an unexpected non-daal bhaat lunch (coleslaw, tuna salad, bread - oddly American), we learned that everyone else was heading to Chitwan, so the next day's rafting would just be us!
The rest of the day was spent relaxing, due to sore extremities, plus more eating, playing with goats, and walking over a large suspension bridge connecting the two sides of the river. Our provided tents were reasonable, though not as comfortable as our air mattress back home :-), and the three of us stayed up light, next to a fire, chatting. Then the scorpion(s) appeared, first Liz got stung on her leg, and then Reannon found one crawling in her tent... nothing too terrible resulted, but sleep was decreased at least partially by well-founded paranoia.
The next day was pretty much rapid-less, best part was a clothes-on shower in a clean freshwater waterfall a little ways off from the river. Turned out we'd had the same guide in Rishikesh, rather unbelievable, really! Still a fun trip, more floating than paddling, so in some ways we should've stuck with the standard one-day trip, but all's well that end's well, preferably with an enjoyable journey along the way. We then parted ways with Reannon, her bus wouldn't leave for Bardia for a few hours, but we caught one for Kathmandu pretty much right away, although soon enough we ran into an enormous traffic jam. Apparently the Maoists had set up a road block, so for about 3 hours, conveniently during the heat of the day, we inched along within a giant backlog of buses and trucks. So our hopes of arriving before dark turned into hopes before 10pm, which we did manage, though not by much.
We were delighted to find a few legitimate job offers waiting in our Inbox, so this next week should hopefully move us closer to our return to the land of employment, although we're going to refrain from any premature excitement until things have advanced past the current stage. Confidence is high, but we are going to be patient and pick the best job that we can, ideally in Pusan, South Korea. Unfortunately, with September now over, our chances of joining Iain & Claire on their Oct. 6 Tibet Tour have disappeared, but we're also not sure if we'll be able to go ourselves later, or if flying direct to Korea will be in our best interests, both economic and otherwise. We shall see, but the job is the big priority for now.
Speaking of Iain & Claire, they've now arrived in Kathmandu, so we had a nice night together last night, and will be hanging out much of this week until they depart to the Tibetan plateau. On Friday we went and extended our Nepali visas, other than the $30 charge/person it was entirely painless, taking only 45 minutes, which the interim time being spent at the nearby Ethnographic Museum, which is very nice, modern, and informative. Also, at 25 Rs, it's quite cheap. Dioramas are set up about all the native people of Nepal, with traditional scenes recreated, plus an entire of room of jewelry, clothing, and artifacts. Much better than the Pokhara incarnation of the same museum, thankfully. So we've got new visas, lasting until the end of October, and while we can renew them again if necessary, we are really hoping to be in South Korea by then!
Today we're just laying low, we are trying to keep our costs low and save money until we have sorted out our job situation, since we have several different potential start dates and rather limited funds. Good thing we like reading...
That's that from the Kath.,